It is not too difficult to find old jewelry components that are suitable for being repurposed into new pieces. Your mother’s jewelry box, thrift stores, antique stores — it’s everywhere, really. The trick is in the designing. It takes practice to do it well and have collected components find a home in a new piece. Peiyu Tan, who seems to specialize in repurposed Nepalese jewelry, has done a wonderful job doing just that.
I’ve decided to mine the area of spiritual and religious jewelry for posting topics. As I sat down to consider this, I realized that there was much to say — anything from rosary beads to the spiritual uses of semiprecious stones might qualify. But, one thing at a time. I’ll enter this topic area with mala beads and the mala makers of Japa Mala Beads.
“Mala” is most simply defined as a string of beads used in praying or meditating. Typically, a full mala is 108 beads and, therefore, long enough to be worn around the neck. The smaller ones, that can be worn around the wrist, typically consist of 27 beads — a quarter of a full mala. The beads are used to count prayers or mantras during meditation and to assist in focus. Japa Mala’s website provides some useful information about how to use a malas.
We have seen mala bracelets worn as accessories for some time. The newest wave of this trend started about 10 years ago. However, malas are spiritual tools first; spiritual reminders second; and jewelry last. I suspect, although I don’t know, that malas were initially worn around the neck or wrist as a way to simply carry them around.
Japa Mala provides a very nice selection of handmade malas — full and for the wrist. They use a wide range of materials — both in type and scale — and have something to appeal to everyone.