| This beautiful mala necklace hangs about a long 30-inches - around 60-inches in all. Each bead is 15mm x 14mm size. This Chinese amber is copal amber, an immature variety of the material.|
Usually much more expensive!
Although these prayer beads are similar to the latest fashion accessories, they carry a far deeper significance in the Buddhist culture. Prayer beads, or mala beads as they are called in the Buddhist religion, represent a meditative tool. Their purpose may vary, but commonly the beads are used to enhance 'goodness' and diminish 'toxins'. Driving away evil and filling you and all beings with peace and bliss. Buddhism teaches that this material object is used as an accomplice for gaining merit on the path to enlightenment.
The origin of mala beads is the Hindu religion. Individuals who converted from the Hindu faith to Buddhism during its birth, transferred this devotional practice with them and it soon became a part of the Buddhism. The story of the beads' origin is "Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism. He taught king Vaidunya to thread 108 seeds of the Bodhi tree on a string, and while passing them between his fingers to repeat... 'Hail to the Buddha, the law, and the congregation'... 2,000 times a day. Another interpretation of this prayer is 'om mani padme hum', repeated over and over according to how many beads are on a person's mala.
There are 108 beads on a strand of mala prayer beads, because it represents the number of sinful desires that one must overcome to reach enlightenment or nirvana. Monks usually have mala beads with 108 beads, where as a lay person may have a strand numbering in 30 or 40 beads. This difference in length may possibly be explained by understanding each person's distance traveled on the path to enlightenment.
Just as variety exists for the number of beads, color and material can be different. Typically, monks' mala beads are made of wood from the Bodhi tree. In Tibet, mala strands often contain parts of semi-precious stones. In this culture, the most valued strands are made of bones of holy men or lamas with 108 beads divided by 3 large beads. The end pieces on these strands are "djore" (a thunderbolt) and "drilbu" (the bell). Representing the Three Jewels, or Buddha, the doctrine, and the community. In China, mala beads was never really popular - mainly used by the ruling hierarchy as a status symbol.
The overall purpose of all mala beads is to create a sense of tranquility and inner-peace for not only the individual, but for the community as a whole. In reciting the prayer, 'toxins' will leave and a sense of peace will enter making an individual that much closer to reaching nirvana.
Amber has been called “petrified sunlight?or “frozen gold? Its bright yellow conceals the mystery of the gem, producing jewelry that makes the wearer both look good and feel good. No wonder it is so fashionable in the 21st century. Amber jewelry can create an effect that no diamond can ever do. Our amber, like most today, is ambroid amber - an affordable, immature variety of copal amber mixed with synthetic resin.
Usually much more expensive!
Mysterious amber was at one time believed to be of divine origin because no one knew were it came from. Alchemists thought amber was formed from the rays of the setting sun, concealed in the evening sea and cast upon the shore in the form of the stone.
Years ago it was found that if you rubbed amber against a wool cloth, it became electrically charged, attracting small objects. This is where the word electricity originated: “elektron? the ancient name for amber. It was thought the stone could magically draw power and energy into its bearer, so people started making amulets from it. Amber was also believed to aid the intellect, prescribed for memory loss and anxiety. And the ancient Romans thought powdered amber taken in a cup of wine could cure fever or asthma.
True amber was formed up to 60-million years ago where seas were then forest. Resin from these trees dripped down to accumulate in puddles. Over millions of years the land was replaced by sea and the weight formed this resin into amber which eventually floated to the surface. Although usually yellow, brown, orange, or green, amber ranges from nearly white to almost black - darkening to a rich red-brown with age.
Amber has been imitated for hundreds of years. Some amber beads found in Egyptian tombs were made from copal ?which is also fossilized tree resin, but only thousands of years old. Ambroid, although known as pressed or reconstituted amber, is made from real amber scraps and shavings generated by amber carvers. These tiny pieces are collected and heated, then pressed into large blocks.
Keep your amber away from hot water or hot surfaces. Because amber is soft and wears easily, protect it from rubbing by wrapping it in a soft cloth when not wearing it. Remove light soil with a soft cloth dipped in lukewarm water. You can put the shine back into today’s amber by spaying with wood polish like Pledge.