Rosary Buying Guide
Construction and Quality
About our Rosary Construction and Quality
The most important aspect of rosary making is to make them beautiful and durable. I uses the strongest wires available for both traditional and modern rosary construction..
1. About the Strung Rosaries:Construction: Semi precious gemstones are strung on flexible Jewelers Wire. This wire is 49 strands of Stainless Steel bundled together and nylon coated. (It is like a stainless steel rope) The rosary is beaded with tiny beads. Each Our Father bead is crimped on both sides. The wire is secured at each end with two solid crimp beads. Wire protectors protect the wire at the points of contact between the medals and the wire.
Pros: This rosary is fluid and flexible. The wire is super strong and is not easily broken in everyday use. The stringing of beads takes less time than other types of construction. This makes the rosary more affordable because labor costs are reduced.
Cons: The wire will stretch over time. The stretch is usually minimal and most people do not mind a slight play in the Hail Mary beads. A greater problem is that the wire does not hold up well to people who tug excessively on their beads or keep their rosary in their pocket. Heavy use and excessive tugging of gemstone over wire will occasionally cause the wire to fray. This is not a common occurrence. Most people find their rosary will last for many years of daily use.
Guarantee: The strung rosary is guaranteed against wire breakage for a period of 1 year. SeeReturn Policies for more information.
2. Heirloom Rosaries... (Chain Rosaries) This is the Traditional Rosary
Construction: This is the strongest method of construction available and will last for generations. Each bead is linked with solid 20 gauge wire that is hand turned. The metal wire can be brass, bronze, silver-filled, or solid sterling silver. Each decade of the rosary is attached to the Our Fathers using soldered chain or a super thick chain (unbreakable). The wire gauge I use on these rosaries is much thicker than you will find on the standard rosary in the market. The wire does not break.
Pros: This rosary is the most durable rosary I make and suitable for those who are 'really hard' on their rosaries. You won't find a stronger rosary online. It will last for generations.
Cons: This type of construction is labor intensive and will cost more than the strung rosary.
Guarantee: Lifetime Guarantee against wire breakage. See Return policies for more information.
3. Antique Reproduction Medals: The solid medals we use for our Sacramentals are hand cast from antique pieces in the USA, given a patina for the vintage look and wax polished to slow further aging processes. Most of the rosaries on this website are made with the solid bronze rosary parts....but these same rosary parts also come in solid Sterling Silver. Of course, with the rising cost of precious metals, the sterling silver rosary parts are several times more costly than the bronze rosary parts.
Buying a rosary from Graceful Rosaries is a great way to get exactly what you are looking for. You receive personal service from the rosary maker herself...Me! Feel free to contact me for any questions you may have.
What is the best Rosary for your needs?
Many people ask what is the best kind of rosary. There are many things to consider. Strength, beauty and cost are the three main factors.
1. Strength in Materials and ConstructionCord Rosaries: In lab testing parachute cord #36 twine is the strongest cord available, breaking at 550 lbs of tensile strength. But this cord is too thick to make a beaded rosary. So it would have to be aknotted cord rosary. The #9 twine used in wooden cord rosaries holds up well to tugs and pulls. Many rosary makes swear by these for longevity and rough abuse. But the cords can fray over time. The rosary beads used for this method must have big holes, so wood is the most common choice. The wood and cord rosary is lightweight and fluid. It is the most economical and common choice for a mans pocket rosary. Cord rosary bracelets are also becoming increasingly popular because they are so lightweight and comfortable to wear.
Flex wire Rosaries: Flex wire rosaries (flexible wire) are made with flexible Jewelers wire. When beads are strung onFlex wirefor a rosary, there is much flexibility in the individuality of design. TheFlex wirecreates a rosary that is fluid and has a lovely drape. Stringing rosary beads on Flexible Jewelers wire is less time consuming than hand turning wire. Therefore the Flexible wire rosaryrequires much less labor, and is more affordable. Flex wireis 21 strands of stainless steel that is bundled together and wire coated. It is lab tested to 24 lbs of tensile strength. But skilled construction on this rosary is a must.
1) Excellent crimping to secure the wire is imperative to maintain strength. Double crimping with high quality crimp tubes is recommended.
2) The wire can stretch slightly over time. This is usually not a problem, (and sometimes its nice to have some movement of the Hail Mary beads) But I don't like any shifting of the Our Father beads, so I usually crimp on each side of the Our Father bead.
3) For people who are very hard on their rosaries, this may not be the best choice. The tugging on the beads and constant tugging can cause the wire to fray over time. Then the whole rosary must be restrung.
Traditional Wire Linked Rosaries
The Traditional Wire Linked Rosary is also called the Chain Rosary. I call this rosary my Heirloom Rosary. There are many excellent strong wires used for making rosaries. I recommend Bronze, Brass, Argentium Silver, Sterling Silver and Silver-filled. Bronze is the strongest of the wires listed...but all make excellent strong rosaries because I use such a thick 20 gauge of wire. When each bead is skillfully linked with a thick strong wire, the resulting Chain Linked Rosary is strong enough to last for generations.
Solid Wire Methods or Construction
1. Wire-wrapped Rosary
The wire-wrapped method of bead construction uses a length of wire that is looped and twisted around both ends, so the links do not have an opening. These rosaries are longer than most, and alsotend to kink, as the loops easily catch on one another. I have made many rosaries with this construction, but I do not like the fact that they kink because I feel that a rosary should be fluid in its motion. Also, this method requires one to use a thinner wire than other methods. So the wire itself is more likely to break. For this reason, I do not recommend the wire wrapped rosary construction to my customers.
2. Traditional Chained Rosaries
The Chain Rosary, or Heirloom Rosary is made by hand turning wire into a loop on each bead. Unlike wire wrapped methods, the link does have an opening, but my method of construction remedies this shortcoming by using jump rings to hold the opening closed. I use wire rings around the base of each loop to enclose the wire and further secure the links. The wire I use is 20 gauge, and super thick. It requires some strength to turn it to the proper loop size, and so the resulting rosary is super strong and 'heirloom' quality. I offer a lifetime guarantee against wire breakage on these rosaries.
2. Cost vs Beauty
TheFlex wire rosary (flexible wire)is in my opinion the winner for cost and beauty. The wood and cord rosary is a close second since it is also very cost effective but wood and cord is not as beautiful as gemstones and crystals.
The Knotted Cord rosarywins for being the most economical rosary available. It is a great choice for the Mission rosary, or the Military rosary, since it is also a silent rosary. But it will get dirty in time, and it is not very beautiful. If practicality is all you want in your rosary, the cord rosary will suit your needs.
The Chained Rosaries are the best choice for maximum strength, and heirloom quality and beauty. With the rising cost of Precious metals, I have extended my line of Bronze Rosariesto provide a more affordable option for theheirloom rosary. Gold and Sterling Silver rosaries are precious medals that are more costly but for many people this is their choice for ultimate beauty. Although the heirloom rosaryis more expensive than the Cord rosary and Strung rosary, the quality, and beauty is unsurpassed.
The Heirloom rosary is an investment in your spiritual life that can be passed on to future generations. What is more important to leave your family, then a testament to the importance of prayer?
How important is beauty in your prayer piece?
In my opinion each person should own at least one beautiful rosary commensurate with their means. Cord rosariesare practical and I am not discounting their value at all. But I believe that a beautiful rosary is a reminder of the importance of prayer. It is similar to the reason we build beautiful churches for God. The beauty that surrounds us is a reflection of God's beauty. In the Old Testament, we see constant reminders that we are suppose to give our best to God. What is most exciting to me is that I have had many customers share with me that since they purchased a beautiful Heirloom rosary, the rosary beads themselves are an inspiration to pray the rosary more often!
What are the Measurements of the Rosaries?
Rosary Size Guide
I carry two sizes of rosaries. The Average Sized Rosary is made with a 6mm round Ave bead and a 8mm round Pater bead. The Large rosary is made with the 8mm Ave bead and the 10mm Pater.(See photo at right for a size comparison of the two beads).
Some people prefer a smaller rosary for their pocket or purse. Women often like a more delicate rosary. The larger rosary is nice because you can really feel the beads. Also, when you have a larger bead it is easier to see the natural variations and interest that is present in many of the gemstones.
On my website the 8mm Rosary is the most popular size. This is the size rosary that I personally use and prefer. But every person is different. The advantage of the smaller rosary is that having smaller rosary parts it can be more affordable.
Both size rosaries are equally strong and beautiful. I use 20 gauge wire in most of my rosaries. Occasionally I will wire wrap beads with a thinner 22 gauge wire, when the holes of the gemstones are too small to accommodate the thick 20 gauge wire. I make a note of the wire size on the individual rosary piece.
Heirloom wired rosaries (traditional hand turned technique)The measurements below are the approximate length and can vary depending on the length of the crucifix and center.
6mm heirloom rosary: Overall length: 20.5" Drop length: 6"
8mm heirloom rosary: Overall length: 25" Drop length: 7"
Measurements vary slightly depending on crucifix length and center length on each rosary.
Measurements of Cable Strung Rosaries
The measurements below are the approximate length and can vary depending on the length of the crucifix and center.
Medium Size Strung Rosaries with 6mm beads: Overall length 20". Drop length: 6" Circle measures 28" around.
Large size Strung Rosaries with 8mm beads Overall length 24" Drop length is 7". Circle is 34" around.
These measurements will vary slightly for longer or smaller crosses and centers.
See "Examples" photos at bottom for a size comparison of the 6mm Average rosary and 8mm Large Rosary.
Can I wear my Rosary?
Wearing a rosary is a practice that has been carried on for centuries. The rosary is worn around the waste of many nuns and monks as part of their habit. Nonetheless, in my experience as a cradle Catholic, the practice of wearing a rosary as a necklace seems to be discouraged. I have never read any official church teaching about this. But it seems to me that the Blessed Mother gave us the rosary as an aid for prayer, and using the rosary as jewelry, or for vanity should be discouraged.
That being said, I do believe their is an argument to be made for wearing a rosary. Many people wear a rosary because it is a reminder to pray and keeps the rosary convenient for prayer throughout the day. In this situation, the rosary maintains its primary purpose, and wearing the rosary compliments that purpose. It is an added benefit to have a beautiful rosary to remind us to pray.
It is also important to note that if the rosary has been blessed by a priest it is also a sacramental that can bring grace to the one who prays with it. Because it has been dedicated to God for this purpose. it is especially important to treat the blessed rosary with respect.
How to care for Sterling Silver
Over time any sterling silver exposed to air will tarnish. Sterling Silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. It is the other metals, primarily copper that makes sterling silver tarnish. Silver tarnishes faster in areas with high humidity.
Argentium Silver: I use Argentium Silver wire for my rosaries to help slow down tarnish. Argentium is a form of sterling silver that is composed of the same amount of silver as sterling silver- 92.5% – however germanium is added to the copper to make up the remaining 7.5% of the element. This addition helps to preventtarnishing, and is quickly becoming a modern trend.
Here are some tips to protect silver.
- Store silver rosaries in an anti tarnish rosary pouch, or anti-tarnish bag. An airtight container, or ziplock bag with an anti tarnish strip will also be effective.
- Do not leave sterling silver in the bathroom. Minimize contact with chemicals, hair spray, lotions, etc...
I make every effort to purchase from suppliers who guarantee that their parts are lead-free. However, for me to personally guarantee this, I would need to have each bead, chain, and wire tested. As a small business I am unable to become involved with the lab testing required by law for children's products. For this reason I must make the disclaimer that I do not sell my pieces for use by children under 12 years of age.