Friday, July 15, 2011

Black Coral Prayer Beads with Silver Inlay

This is a string of prayer beads from a prosperous, devout person in Yemen. They are so worn that the silver inlay is smooth and pleasant to the touch. The beads extend 36 inches along a fine leather cord with plenty of room for the beads to slide along as the prayers are said. There are 99 beads, two separator drop beads and a longer drop bead at the joining of the string. Once upon a time, there would have been a tassel attached to the long drop bead, but it is worn away and now there is only a knot in the fine leather cord.

This item comes from Yemen, but it was not made there. The center for fabricating this kind of prayer rope was Istanbul, Turkey, capital of the Ottoman Empire, during the 1800s. The silver used in such work had to be up to the Empire's standards. By the early 1900s, the Empire was gone but these antique prayer ropes have lasted. 

Bead measurements 9mm (0.34in) long; 8mm (0.32in) diameter; total weight a bit over 75 grams.

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