I have had the privilege of handling thousands of rosaries and love coming across those that “talk” to me. You might think they would be especially grand and gorgeous: while those certainly take my breath away, it’s often the simple and unassuming rosaries like this one touch my heart. Their beauty is not only in their design and construction but in their singular purpose: to inspire and enable prayer.
I am delighted to offer this rare, antique Catholic rosary for your consideration. The wonderful maroon-colored beads are crafted of bois durci, an animal-based polymer patented in France in 1856. Used as a substitute for wood, leather, bone and metal, this “hardened wood” was a forerunner of celluloid and other modern plastics. Its composition was made from powdered wood, coloring and blood from the Paris slaughterhouses which was then mixed to an appropriate consistency, formed in a heated mold, and cured under heat and pressure to create a hard, dense and glossy product.
Each bead is uniquely sized and shaped. Some are plump and round; others have a flattened side or “creases” from the molding process, and all are in perfectly irregular antique condition. The pater beads are molded into rosettes and share the same variations from bead to bead. All have a wonderful, lustrous sheen as intended, and are a pleasure to hold.
The beads are mounted on sturdy steel pins, with silver-plated (tested) steel components throughout. The generous lengths of tri-lobe chain surrounding the paters are as perfect as possible for a rosary this age... all links present and aligned with no apparent repairs. For your pleasure and comfort during prayer, two additional links are placed between each ave bead, making this rosary suitable for hands of all sizes.
At the center is a glowing, heart-shaped medal that features Mary as the Immaculate Conception on one side and a lovely, scrolling Marian monogram on the other. Note that the images are inverted, which was common on rosaries from the mid-1800s. The small budded crucifix has a nicely detailed stamped image of the Crucified Christ on the face. The verso is stamped “Souvenir de Mission” with a small spot of oxidation. The budded crucifix has a variety of symbolic meanings but given the nature of this rosary, it is likely that the three circles in the arms of the cross represent the Holy Trinity.
Lightweight and interactive, this religious treasure has great energy and is sure to become a favorite. Despite its age, I would not hesitate to use it for regular prayer... handled with due care, of course. It would make a superb gift for you or someone who will appreciate its history and unique beauty. Comes boxed and ready for gift-giving.
Weight – 18 grams
Length – 19-3/4 inches total; 5-5/8 inch drop
Beads – Average 6 mm
Crucifix – 1 x 5/8 inches
Medal – 1/2 x 3/8 inches
Suitable for wearing
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