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Rosary design points


#1

I’m making a rosary for my daughter’s Catholic friend. I’m aware of
the 59 bead sequence, with the fifty three ave beads, six paters and
five decade main part. I’m planning to use turquoise heishi beads
for the aves and teal/turquoise coloured larger lampwork glass beads
for the paters and I’ll be making the crucifix and centre medallion
myself.

My questions are:

  1. will a stone-set cross be okay for the crucifix part of the
    rosary? I’ve not seen any that are stone-set, but that’s what I’d
    like to do.

  2. for the centre medallion, would a dove be okay? I have seen a
    couple like that and really liked them, but don’t know whether
    they’re for some special reason which might not be appropriate.

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk
http://helensgems.ganoksin.com/blogs/


#2
will a stone-set cross be okay for the crucifix part of the rosary?
I've not seen any that are stone-set, but that's what I'd like to
do.

That would not be considered appropriate.

for the centre medallion, would a dove be okay? I have seen a
couple like that and really liked them, but don't know whether
they're for some special reason which might not be appropriate. 

On this I am not sure. There are different kinds of rosaries and the
center medallion is usually a symbol of the type of rosary it is.

I encourage you to do more research on the religious aspect of this,
so that you get it just right. There are websites devoted
specifically to how to pray the rosary, as well as to making them,
those would likely help.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#3

Hi Helen: This sounds beautiful! However, here’s my two cents: If
the rosary is actually going to be used to pray upon, I would want an
actual crucifix, not just a cross. However, perhaps you could set
some stones on the back of the crucifix, or above and/or below Jesus
on the cross. The norm would also be to use some form of the Virgin
Mary or praying hands for the center piece. Being a Catholic who does
pray upon the rosary, I just wanted to let you know that as beautiful
at the dove sounds, I’m afraid I’d feel like something was missing if
Mary wasn’t included!

Good luck – Trish


#4
On this I am not sure. There are different kinds of rosaries and
the center medallion is usually a symbol of the type of rosary it
is. 

Helen, I don’t know anything about rosaries… But it piqued my
curiosity, and I went looking around. There’s way too much stuff;
Symbolism, tradition, popes… I did find a good forum of rosary
makers - mostly they make them to donate. Lots there:

http://forum.olrm.org


#5
for the centre medallion, would a dove be okay? I have seen a
couple like that and really liked them, but don't know whether
they're for some special reason which might not be appropriate. 

From what I’ve gathered today, the dove centre medallion seems to be
for confirmation rosaries only, so I’ll have to rethink and
incorporate Mary somehow.

Helen
UK


#6

Thanks for the advice Trish. Whilst I have seen a few rosaries with
the descending dove, other people will probably have the same view
as you, preferring to have Mary represented in the centre medallion.
My daughter’s going to ask her friend about it when she gives back
another rosary which I’ve just repaired.

I’ll rethink my plans. Thanks very much for your input.

Helen
UK


#7

Hi Elaine,

will a stone-set cross be okay for the crucifix part of the
rosary? I've not seen any that are stone-set, but that's what I'd
like to do. 
That would not be considered appropriate. 

Others have said that it would be okay, as long as I incorporate a
corpus into the cross design.

There are websites devoted specifically to how to pray the rosary,
as well as to making them, those would likely help. 

I’ve looked at lots of websites, but couldn’t find the I
was looking for. I’ve got a few feelers out though, so hopefully
I’ll find the answers.

Thanks for your input.
Helen
UK


#8

Helen,

In answer to #2, I have no experience and can’t answer. In regards
to #1, the church has a long history of crucifixes with set stones.
In fact, crucifixes have been made of nearly every material
available, and combination of materials, so I would think the only
true requirement is that the recipient is happy.

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Henderson, NV


#9

Helen,

I am Catholic and have made a few cross’. One was made of turquoise.
I lined the outside with very thin copper. On each end of the cross
bar and the bottom of the vertical I mounted 2 mm red crystals with
silver bezels. These represented the nails in the hands and feet. In
the center I mounted a 6 mm red crystal with silver bazel.This was
to represent the sacred hart. At the top I fashioned a copper bail.
As part of this I fashioned a ring just below where the chain would
go thru. The ring was just wide enough to mount 2 mm crystals with
bezels which I mounted around it. I then wove 34 ga silver wire
between the crystals. This was the crown of thorns.

I guess this is my long winded way of saying yes it is appropriate
to adorn a cross on a rosary. I’ve seen many Priest and Nuns with
some very beautiful cross’.

Buy the way a crucifix is across depicting Jesus on it.

I hope this helps.
Rick McCann


#10

Hi Rick,

The description of your cross sounds wonderful and I like its
representative qualities. I was aware that a crucifix has the body
of Christ on it, but wasn’t sure whether or not it would be
acceptable to simply use a cross in place of the crucifix. Thank you
for clarifying that it is okay - although what you say differs from
what others have said. But you’ve seen Priests and Nuns wearing the
very thing I’m asking about, so perhaps it’s not so bad after all.

Thanks again,
Helen
UK


#11
the church has a long history of crucifixes with set stones. In
fact, crucifixes have been made of nearly every material available,
and combination of materials, so I would think the only true
requirement is that the recipient is happy. 

From responses I’ve received from Catholic members, there seems to
be a lot more to it than just whether or not the recipient is happy.
There appear to be many rules and regulations as to what is
acceptable and what’s not. I’ve joined a forum which John D
recommended, so hopefully I’ll get some more answers from which I can
choose the best approach.

Yes, there are many examples of stone-set crosses, but a crucifix
includes the body of Christ, which complicates things a little more.
I’ll sort it somehow.

Thanks for your input Mike.

Helen
UK


#12
I did find a good forum of rosary makers - mostly they make them to
donate. Lots there: http://forum.olrm.org 

Brilliant, thanks John. I’ve joined the forum and asked my questions.
Hopefully I’ll get some good answers that all (or mostly) agree with
each other. I’ve had some differing opinions from various Catholic
members so far.

Thanks again.
Helen
UK


#13

Hello Helen,

If your friend is Catholic, the cross can definitly have stones on
it. As a matter of fact I remember seeing antique pieces from France,
Italy and Spain very heavily jeweled, especially when belonging to
the old aristocracy (most commonly used were garnets, amethysts,
onyx, jet, coral (especially Italy) and sometimes even diamonds or
the great three (rubies, sapphires or emerald particularly in Spain).
Not all of them even had a Jesus on the cross.

When I was still in Europe I help a client sell a nineteen century
family rosary whith a cross set with old mine cut diamonds. The back
of the cross had an enameled and jeweled Jesus. The cross was hinged
and allegedly contained a piece of the true cross.

Anyway for the cross I can assure you that stones are acceptable.

Most of the rosary I have seen had a picture of the Virgin Mary on
the center medaillon if I remember well. The one with the diamond
cross had an entaglio with a profile of the Virgin Mary surrounded
by diamonds. The beads were in faceted rock crystal.

I can’t say for sure if a dove for the center medaillon would be
acceptable but I can’t think of any rule against it. The most
important is the symbol of the cross and the 59 bead sequence so it
is “functional” so to speak.

I have seen antique Catholic crosses with the top part made of a
stylized dove. The head formed the top part of the cross, the wings
the arms and a gem dangled from the feet to form the bottom part of
the cross. These were popular I beleive from the seventeen century
until the nineteen century= in regional French jewelry (maybe other
Catholic countries as well). Most of the time they were made of
silver or vermeil set with paste glass. Those with diamonds were
rare. Of course they were just crosses and not rosaries so I can’t be
positive about the use of the dove in the rosary center medaillon.
The dove was certainly used by Catholics as a messenger of peace so
your idea sounds very appealing and not strange at all.

I would ask your friend what she thinks about the idea. She is the
one who is going to use the rosary and maybe the ideas of the dove
and peace mean a lot to her.

Best of luck with your project.
Cyril


#14

Hi Helen,

As a former Catholic, I can assure you that rosaries always have a
crucifix, not a cross, at their tail end. If you have seen nuns and
priests wear rosaries, those are different than the rosaries that
you make for people that actually use them to pray with. They pray
with them too, but theirs are simpler, because they are part of their
"uniform." The antique ones that did not have a corpus on them did
so that they could “pass” as a non-Catholic item in a non-Catholic
world at that time in case people got caught with them on their
person, they could try to explain that they were prayer beads, but
not Catholic rosaries. And the medallion always has the Virgin Mary
on it, not just for confirmation. We were give rosaries to
commemorate important events in the Church, such as baptism, First
Communion and Confirmation and all the rosaries always has the Virgin
Mary on the medallion before the circle of beads begins.

As for as decoration goes, they can get quite ornate. It was usually
frowned upon inside the church, as showing off. But, if your friend
wants gemstones on them, go for it, as long as the basic criteria is
met, it is a rosary. The priest, interestingly, usually has a quite
ornate rosary, given to him by his family at his ordination.

Jaynemarie Crawford


#15

Dear Cyril,

Thank you very much for your answers to my rosary questions. They are
much appreciated. Unfortunately, I can’t ask my daughter’s friend, as
it’s a surprise for her birthday. I’ve joined a forum which John D
kindly recommended, so hopefully somebody may know the rules and
answer my queries. If not, I will phone a Catholic church tomorrow
and see if I can resolve it once and for all.

Thanks again.

Helen
UK


#16

I asked a devout Catholic friend, “is it okay to have gemstones on
the cross of a rosary?”

He said yes, but the gemstone should not be at the center, should
not be the focus. He also said it’s kind of inappropriate for a
rosary to be overly ornamented with gems, because the focus is the
religious aspect, not gems.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#17

Corrections and additions to knowledge are always welcome. I am not
Catholic and will readily admit to large gaps in things regarding
that body.

Thanks Helen.

Not to depart from the subject. but somewhat akin to it. When I was
younger and lived in California there was a church with a cross
formed from stainless steel which I thought was very artful,
tastefully done, and well crafted. You can see a photo of it heRe:

http://picasaweb.google.com/97ecnisrebos/StainlessSteelCross

Please pardon the poor quality. I had to go to Google street view to
find it.

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Henderson, NV


#18

I normally dont comment often, but I felt like I should throw some
in about this topic, having been a theology major.

There are a few rules when it comes to rosarys, but many of them no
longer apply. A rosary is a tool used for prayer and there for should
be a personal thing. The MOST important part of the rosary is the the
beads. The beads are part of the meditation process, so they should
have a nice feel in the hand and should be comfortable. The cross
does not have to have a corpus on it. The number of beads should
always be correct, 3 decades with one bead seperating each decade.

Also to clarify the rosary is never worn as jewelry, priests, nuns,
and brothers might wear on on their habit belt, but this is strictly
just to hold it there. There are no rules on how ordimental the
rosary is or is not, this again is personal. You will see some clergy
with very simple ones and others with eleborate ones, this sometimes
depends on the order they belong to and if they took a vow of
poverty. I personally think it should be simple though.

Something to look in to is also what kind of message you want to
send in the cross or crucifix. I did my thesis on the symbols and
what a crucufix conveys and says about a community, so if you need
any help or have questions about symbolism just email me.

Alex


#19

Hi,

The number of beads should always be correct, 3 decades with one
bead seperating each decade. 

It looks like you fat fingered your keyboard. The typical Catholic
rosary used by most lay persons always has 5 decades, not 3.

Most of the rosaries carried by members of religious orders when
they’re wearing their habits have 15 decades.

There are 3 different sets of ‘mysteries of the rosary’, the Joyful,
the Glorious & the Sorrowful. Each had 5 significant things from the
life of Christ & were meant as meditation topics while saying the
rosary.

Typically each was assigned to a specific day of the week for the
person that said a daily rosary. For the religious that said all 15
decades of the rosary daily, they used each as a topic of medication.

Other religions also have rosaries or strings of beads called prayer
beads. Their make up is generally different from the Catholic
rosary.

Dave


#20

Hello,

There are a few rules when it  comes to rosarys, but many of them
no longer apply. A rosary  is a tool used for prayer and there for
should be a personal  thing. The MOST important part of the rosary
is the the beads. The beads are part of the meditation process, so
they should have a nice feel in the hand and should be comfortable.
The  cross does not have to have a corpus on it. The number of 
beads should always be correct, 3 decades with one bead  seperating
each decade. 

Is it 3 or 5 decades? Is there 2 different kinds of rosaries?

Thank You for lending your expertise!

Rosanne