Gifts and ghosts
If you want to make a medieval-style paternoster as a gift, and you have a friendly local bead store, everything you need should be there. There's a shopping list here and simple instructions here. It takes less than an hour to put one together (less than half an hour, really, unless you have difficulties making a tassel). You may want to take the trouble to braid the cord you string the beads on from thinner thread, as it's likely to be more durable.
I wanted to share a few photos of several more modern-style strung rosaries I've made, all variations on a theme. The community I work for has a number of symbols they're fond of, including the color blue, an anchor (for hope), a heart, and a rose, and all of these were made for members or friends of the community.
This one is sodalite, with mother-of-pearl markers:
This one is mother-of-pearl, with lapis lazuli markers and a striped glass heart:
Mother-of-pearl again, but the marker beads are flat blue glass roses:
I particularly like this one, which is blue "goldstone" (a type of glass) with cloisonné markers:
And a detail:
I also passed a sad little milestone this week: for the first time, one of the rosaries I've made has been laid to rest. I made this one a couple of years ago for a friend's elderly mother. By special request it was rose quartz (her favorite color) with mother-of-pearl markers, the Virgin Mary with roses, and a cross with shamrocks. My friend's mother died this past week, and it was buried with her. I hope it brought some comfort to her and to her family.
Here is the one I made for her:
Perhaps hundreds of years from now, when the world has changed completely and these electrons are all dust, some archaeologist will see these beads and be touched by the thought that they brought someone a sense of peace.