The Word ‘Mala’ Means ‘Garland’ in Indian Sanskrit.
Mala beads were traditionally used for Buddhist prayer recitals and consist of 108 individually knotted beads. Mathematicians during the Vedic understood the number 108 to hold cosmological significance. Religious mystics believed it to represent spiritual completion and was, therefore, a sacred number.
Garlands strung with 108 beads were used as a counting tool when repeating mantra during meditation, and many traditional prayer necklaces feature larger beads at significant marker points, to indicate a halfway.
In recent times, the mala has been adopted by health and wellbeing communities, yogis and fashionistas. Although the spiritual significance of this ancient design might have got lost along the way, that doesn’t mean its aesthetic beauty is any less celebrated.
Mala style necklaces work with an endless combination of materials, shapes, colours and sizes. The knotting technique applied before each additional bead is also a valuable skill for any budding jewellery designer to master. It adds stability and fluidity that is seldom found with wire strung necklaces. Using threads such as Superlon Cord, Griffin Silk or Chinese knotting cord gives jewellery a further tactile and playful quality. We have found that stringing your necklace with the traditional number of beads, makes it the perfect size for a wraparound bracelet, giving the wearer optional uses depending on their mood.
To showcase the versatility of this necklace style, we have combined 6mm wooden beads with a beautiful green turquoise semi-precious stone. As feature beads, we have combined handmade Tibetan style brass and vibrant red cinnabar with gold plated findings and a large tassel focal point.
To make your own, we recommend using BeadSmith fine point bent tweezers and Griffin silk cord
Semi-Precious Lava Stones
We also combined 8mm lava beads with bright red Superlon Cord to create a striking another mala style necklace. Red Cinnabar and black agate Dzi beads are scattered along the cord to create this dramatic statement jewellery design
Lava Stone is the semi-precious rock formed from cooled volcanic lava. It is believed to be a grounding stone with calming qualities, making it a popular choice for anyone working through emotional difficulties.
Lava rock is porous, meaning it can easily absorb and retain moisture. Essential oils can be applied to the stone to add fragrance and customise the stone to its wearer. As the oil dries, the fragrance is released gradually. Why not try adding lavender for relaxation or sweet orange for motivation.
This natural stone is surprisingly lightweight, pairs well with most colours making it a versatile and popular choice for both men and women. We have experimented with bright red Tex210 Superlon bead cord to create a striking contrast against the black. Our feature beads are agate patterned Dzi Beads in black & white and our focal point is a vermillion red cinnabar style bead with silver nylon tassel.
Knotting in between each bead creates a better drape. Also, if the necklace breaks, the majority of your beads will remain on the string. Good news if your necklace has sentimental value!