The term mala is derived from the Sanskrit word “Japamala,” which is a string of beads used for prayer and meditation by Hindus and Buddhists. The number 108 has spiritual significance and is considered sacred in the Hindu religion.
A mala is a string of 108 beads with one bead as the summit or head bead called a ‘sumeru.’ Malas are used as a tool to help the mind focus on meditation, or count mantras in sets of 108 repetitions.
The seeds are associated with the Hindu deity Shiva and are commonly worn for protection and for chanting mantras such as Om Namah Shivaya. The seeds are primarily used in India, Indonesia and Nepal as beads for organic jewellery and malas; they are valued similarly to semi-precious stones. Various meanings and interpretations are attributed to beads with different numbers of segments (mukh), and rare or unique beads are highly prized and valuable.
These malas can be used as is, or as material in your own art.
Sizes (all measurements are approximate):
~4mm beads, 40 mm strand, 108 beads per strand
~6mm beads, 640mm strand, 108 beads per strand
~8mm beads, 760mm strand, 108 beads per strand
~10mm beads, 1020mm strand, 108 beads per strand
~12mm beads, 1727mm, 108 beads per strand