|This beautiful amber mala hangs 18 1/2 inches and stretches to fit all but the largest neck - 108 x 8mm manmade amber beads. |
What took nature millions of years to create, can be yours in an instant! These synthetic beads look and feel exactly like nature amber, but under 1/10 the price - usually much more expensive.
What Is Amber?
Amber was once a mystery. Alchemists thought it was created from the rays of the setting sun, concealed in the evening sea and cast ashore in the form of stone.
True amber was formed up to 60-million years ago where seas were then forest. Resin from these trees dripped into puddles. When the land was replaced by sea, the weight formed this resin into amber which eventually floated to the surface. Usually yellow, brown, orange, or green, darkening to a rich red-brown with age.
Benefits of Amber
Its bright colour conceals the mystery, prompting some to call it “petrified sunlight” or “frozen gold”. Producing jewellery that makes the wearer both look and feel good. No wonder it's so fashionable in the 21st century. Amber jewellery can create a more dramatic effect than diamonds.
Years ago, it was thought amber could magically draw energy into its bearer, so people started making amulets from it. This was because rubbing amber against a wool cloth made it electrically charged, attracting small objects. Originating the word electricity: “elektron”, the ancient name for amber. Amber was also believed to aid the intellect, and prescribed for memory loss and anxiety.
Amber beads were fashionable, yet inexpensive, before the 1920s - when Amber was a popular girl’s name. Natural amber rose to around 50-pounds a string by the year 2000, but over the past decade the price has shot up. Many amber necklaces sell for ten-times their price 15-years ago.
This growth is because China has rediscovered amber. Traditionally Chinese culture believes amber is lucky and has medicinal properties. Similarly, Persian amber has become fashionable in Arab states, where it represents status, wealth, and aphrodisiac powers.
Therefore, amber with a certificate of authenticity is heading towards the cost of gold by weight. Cheap amber is not natural. Our amber, like most today - is ambroid amber, an immature variety of copal amber, mixed with synthetic resin. Giving the benefits of natural amber, yet allowing jewellery to be sold at prices customers’ can afford.
Amber has always been imitated. Some amber beads in Egyptian tombs were made from copal – which is also fossilized tree resin, but only thousands of years old. Ambroid, although known as pressed or reconstituted amber, is made from real amber scraps and shavings generated by amber carvers. These pieces are collected, heated, then pressed into large blocks.
Looking After Amber
Because amber is soft and wears easily, protect from heat and wrap in a cloth when not wearing. Clean with a soft cloth dipped in lukewarm water. You can put the shine back into today’s amber by spaying with Pledge.
Although these prayer beads are similar to the latest fashion accessories, they carry a far deeper significance in the Buddhist culture. Prayer beads, or mala beads as they are called in the Buddhist religion, represent a meditative tool. Their purpose may vary, but commonly the beads are used to enhance 'goodness' and diminish 'toxins'. Driving away evil and filling you and all beings with peace and bliss. Buddhism teaches that this material object is used as an accomplice for gaining merit on the path to enlightenment.
The origin of mala beads is the Hindu religion. Individuals who converted from the Hindu faith to Buddhism during its birth, transferred this devotional practice with them and it soon became a part of the Buddhism. The story of the beads' origin is "Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism. He taught king Vaidunya to thread 108 seeds of the Bodhi tree on a string, and while passing them between his fingers to repeat? 'Hail to the Buddha, the law, and the congregation'? 2,000 times a day. Another interpretation of this prayer is 'om mani padme hum', repeated over and over according to how many beads are on a person's mala.
There are 108 beads on a strand of mala prayer beads, because it represents the number of sinful desires that one must overcome to reach enlightenment or nirvana. Monks usually have mala beads with 108 beads, where as a lay person may have a strand numbering in 30 or 40 beads. This difference in length may possibly be explained by understanding each person's distance traveled on the path to enlightenment.
Just as variety exists for the number of beads, color and material can be different. Typically, monks' mala beads are made of wood from the Bodhi tree. In Tibet, mala strands often contain parts of semi-precious stones. In this culture, the most valued strands are made of bones of holy men or lamas with 108 beads divided by 3 large beads. The end pieces on these strands are "djore" (a thunderbolt) and "drilbu" (the bell). Representing the Three Jewels, or Buddha, the doctrine, and the community. In China, mala beads was never really popular - mainly used by the ruling hierarchy as a status symbol.
The overall purpose of all mala beads is to create a sense of tranquility and inner-peace for not only the individual, but for the community as a whole. In reciting the prayer, 'toxins' will leave and a sense of peace will enter making an individual that much closer to reaching nirvana.