Friday, April 29, 2011

Antique and Vintage Rosaries as Wedding and Anniversary Gifts

As we approach June, I'm trying to provide a nice selection of antique and vintage rosaries that would be appropriate for wedding or anniversary gifts. I'm concentrating on antique sterling rosaries and lovely antique French rosaries for that someone very special! Nothing beats the beauty of an antique or vintage sterling rosary, but with silver prices soaring, many beautiful pieces of jewelry including rosaries are being melted down. This happened before in the 1980s, but this time may even be worse. It makes me just weep to think of beautiful rosaries being melted down for the metal. 
Back to the positive side, there really is nothing more lovely than a vintage silver and crystal rosary or a rare antique mother of pearl and silver rosary, so take a little time and look through The Sacred Bead enjoying the beauty of all the rosaries! You might find the perfect one for a gift or for yourself.

 Upliftingly lovely cut crystal and sterling rosary. As always, I never clean rosaries, leaving that to the new owner. All antique sterling rosaries should be cleaned with care to not damage beads of natural materials, such as coral or mother of pearl.
 Boldly beautiful, heavy sterling and black glass rosary with extra sterling medal. The reverse of this crucifix is quite amazing- be sure to go look. This is a wonderful vintage sterling rosary.
 Beautiful 1920s or 30s French mother of pearl and silver rosary.
 Refreshing spring green crystal and sterling antique French rosary.
 Astonishing carnelian and sterling French rosary from the 1800s.
 Incredible all sterling Wedding Bells vintage rosary. These are getting harder and harder to find!

 A very masculine Sterling and French Jet rosary from the 1960s or 70s.
1800s French mother of pearl and sterling rosary. Visit The Sacred Bead for the largest selection of antique and vintage rosaries on the internet.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Gorgeous Vintage Virgin of Guadalupe Rosary

This is such a special rosary with beautiful encased glass beads and a magnificent crucifix. Dating from the middle of the 20th century,  Our Lady of Guadalupe is featured on both the crucifix and reverse of the center. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
 Simply gorgeous crucifix with The Virgin of Guadalupe at the top.

 Lovely double capped, or encased, glass beads.

Our Lady of Guadalupe on the reverse of the center. See this wonderful rosary on The Sacred Bead.
It is told that the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to the Aztec man Juan Diego on December 9, 1531 and again later when her image miraculously formed on his tilma or cape. He had gathered flowers from the hillside in the dead of winter at her direction in order to show the Bishop proof of his vision of the Virgin. She told him not to open the cape full of flowers until he was with the Bishop and when he arrived, low and behold, the flowers dropped to the floor and the famous image of the Virgin took their place on his cape. The Virgin of Guadalupe is called the Patroness of the Americas and is one of the most beloved images of the Virgin Mary.  Juan Diego was canonized in 2002.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Two Essential Tools For Antique Rosary Owners

I just picked up one of my own antique rosaries and lo and behold, it was in two pieces! I keep quite a few pairs of tiny round nosed pliers handy and within a minute or two I had it hooked back together. I would strongly advise all antique and vintage rosary owners to keep a little pair of round nosed pliers close by for small rosary emergencies. These are easy to find in a bead shop or online. Look for pliers for beaders, some are actually called rosary pliers or wire wrapping pliers. Be sure to get the round nosed ones so you don't damage the links on the rosary. My favorite pair is the tiniest one I have. Unfortunately, I don't remember where I got them or I would get another pair just like them- the diameter of the tips of the pliers are tiny and they are simply perfect for antique rosaries.
The other tool I use almost constantly is a good magnifying lens. Again, I have several, but my favorite is a small one with an LED light and stand. I can work under the lit lens perfectly. Others are used to help identify hallmarks or bead material. A good jeweler's loop works well for all purposes.

Interesting rosary with multicolored enamel spacers on The Sacred Bead. This isn't the one that needed the repair this morning, just thought a post without a picture would be rather boring!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Antique Rosaries from Lourdes

Undoubtedly the most frequently found rosaries from France, both new and antique, are the wonderful rosaries from the site of Mary's appearance to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Millions and millions of people have gone to Lourdes for healing, and there are over 60 officially recognized miraculous healings that have occurred at Lourdes in a century and a half. There may be thousands of unrecognized healings!
Most pilgrims come away with a souvenir of their journey to Lourdes, and rosaries from Lourdes have a long tradition of making a lasting reminder of a journey to the healing waters of Lourdes. Beautiful sterling and natural coral were popular yet expensive rosaries  during the 1800s. Rare and beautiful today, they were a true treasure then as they are now. More moderate rosaries had simple wooden beads and crucifixes. In the mid-20th century many crucifixes had a tiny vial of healing water from the Grotto of Lourdes embedded in the crucifix. One of the most interesting of the modern rosaries is the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Mary at Lourdes featuring little bubble beads made of lucite that were rumored to have been filled with healing water. Each of the Ave beads has a tiny blue Mary inside, while the Pater beads usually have the Sacred Heart of Jesus inside. Pictured are just a few rosaries from the famous Lourdes found on The Sacred Bead. The Sacred Bead has an amazing selection of antique rosaries for sale, also vintage rosaries and antique and vintage crucifixes.

 The famous 100th Anniversary Rosary from 1958, note the tiny blue images inside each bead and the grotto of Lourdes on the center.

This beautiful 1800s single decade sterling and mother of pearl rosary has "Lourdes" impressed on the back of the cross and would have been a treasured reminder of a pilgrimage to Lourdes. 

 Late 1800s French Jet (black glass) mourning rosary with ND de Lourdes imprinted on the back of the crucifix.
 Beautiful rosary from Lourdes. Note the lovely red faceted glass beads. See all of them on The Sacred Bead.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Antique Rosaries with Jet Beads

Jet beads are renowned as mourning beads, at the height of their popularity during Victorian times. But few of the black beads found on jewelry or rosaries are truly jet. More likely they are black glass, known as "French Jet." Other substances used to simulate jet included man-made compounds like gutta percha.

True jet is a carbonaceous mineral related to lignite coal. It is relatively soft for a gemstone and very light weight. Compared to glass, which is much heavier, true jet beads feel more like amber, another very lightweight natural substance.
Whitby jet was produced in the jet mines of England and is no longer a source for jet. Highly expensive and rare, Whitby jet was at its height of popularity during the reign of Queen Victoria, although jet has been used as an adornment since ancient times.
Today, most jet beads are produced in China and they are quite lovely.

This is a beautiful antique French mourning rosary using glass "French Jet" beads. You can find it on The Sacred Bead.