Sandalwood Beads In Fashion: Accessorizing The Ascetic

Wood being one of the most freely available materials, as well as easily carved and shaped, is very popular when making beads and bead jewelry. Hundreds of varieties of wood are used to make beads around the world, each one indigenous to its location. Sandalwood beads, though more expensive that other varieties, are considered best for religious ritual usage. Because of sandalwood's mild and long-lasting aroma as well as its beautiful grain, it is a highly coveted wood. The gentle and soothing natural fragrance of sandalwood is said to give the wearer clarity of thinking and perception. For this purpose, it is mostly used in meditation and ritual. Rare indeed is the mendicant or swami that's caught in public without his sandalwood mala.

The Legacy Of Sandalwood Beads: Mechanics Of Mantras

Sandalwood beads are lightweight and of a very light shade of yellow to tan. They may be available as simple plain round beads, shaped cylindrically with tapering ends, or ornately carved by hand, and may also be available pre-set in a necklace or chain of beads called a 'mala'. In this form, they are used much like rosaries, to hold and count while reciting 'mantras' or religious incantations that are supposed to send out specific vibrations that attract financial or physical health, tranquility, and blessings of every kind. They are usually recited in sets of 108, 1,008 and 100,008, depending on the mantra and the purpose; the number of beads is fixed, and helps keep count in a cyclic manner. At the end of one cycle of beads is the natural knot formed by the rope or string that is the core of the necklace. This denotes the end of one cycle.

Carving On Sandalwood Beads: Embedded Embellishments

Sandalwood, like many other types of exotic wood, is sourced from the Middle-East and South Asia. Naturally the best craftsmen of sandalwood are also from these parts of the world. The artisans in India are some of the best in the world, possessing skills that enable them to do such intricate engravings that the details are barely discernable to the naked eye. Such engravings may be very elaborate as well, with entire epics being pictorially depicted on the faces of successive beads.

Sandalwood Bead Necklaces: The Price Of Authenticity

You can buy sandalwood beads from several online stores like harlequinbeads dot com. A set of 108 eight mm strung beads will cost you about $20. These are for smooth-polished beads; the rough ones are much cheaper, with a set of 150 three mm strung beads costing only $5.00. If you're buying from any other online source, do make sure that there are proper returns policies in place. A lot of spurious products lurk in the dark corners of cyberspace. One way to make 'fake' sandalwood beads is to dowse ordinary wooden beads with a dilute solution of sandalwood essential oil. The scent remains long enough to cover the 'money back' period, and it smells as sweet as original sandalwood. You have to admit it's a brilliant idea, but very frustrating for the buyer. Another trick is to use alternate beads of sandalwood and a cheap generic wood that resembles it. The nose cannot make out the presence of odorless beads in between genuine ones, and no one is the wiser.

Famous Last Words: The Internet Is A Safe Place To Shop

Another word of caution about internet purchases, apart from the transaction security aspect, is the privacy policy. Because many of these stores are not based in the United States, they have very flimsy terms that fall apart at the slightest touch. Many will sell your personal information outright to telemarketing companies, and some may even use them for identity theft. For this reason, it's better to buy from a source located within the country. Even if you pay a little more, the extra that you pay may be worth more than you could ever imagine. Happy chanting!