Mala Style Necklace Featuring the Guru Bead

Mala Style by Carmi Cimicata

The Mala bead necklace style is based on traditional Buddhist prayer beads.  “Malas are used for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name or names of a deity.  Malas are typically made with 18, 27, 54 or 108 beads.  A decorative tassel is often attached to the beads, flanked by talismans or amulets depending on one’s local tradition.”  Via Wikipedia

Since Mala bead necklaces are considered a Buddhist rosary I wanted to acknowledge that I was aware that these necklaces have spiritual importance to many people.

The Mala style necklace I am presenting is influenced by the symmetry many of us love in the 108 bead necklace.   We can all appreciate how wonderful aromatic beads will smell and look paired with semi precious beads that also hold meaning and sentiment for the wearer.

I am also using the beloved guru bead.  To jewelers the bead might be considered a unique component.  The Mala Collective says “This bead is believed to represent the student-guru relationship.  “The tassel represents enlightenment. As the strands combine together into one, it represents our connection to the Divine and to each other. Oneness.”

There are so many wonderful ideals attached to a Mala necklace.  Making and then wearing one will give you a great deal of pleasure.


Let’s begin.  I used a bead board to lay out the beads and the guru bead component.  John Bead has just released a new wood bead collection.  The Aromatic beads are available in sandalwood and cedarwood in all the classic bead sizes; 6,8,10,12,15,20mm.  I choose to work with 8 and 10mm sandalwood.

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The sandalwood guru bead is a three holed bead used with a tower bead. There are a pair of them in each box.


My necklace was strung using just one strand of silk beading cord.  The needle is already attached making this even quicker to complete.


I strung blocks of ten beads.  Sixty on each side.


I selected Blue Agate beads from our new semi-precious bead collection.  The Crystal Bible says that “Agate is a soothing and calming stone.  It works slowly but brings great strength. Its multiple layers can bring hidden information to light.”  These are attributes I love. “Agate enhances mental function as they improve concentration, perception and analytical abilities leading to practical solutions.”


The guru bead is actually two components.  The round bead has three holes and you need to be sure you are running your cord through the right ones so that it will sit properly in the necklace.


In this picture you can see how my stringing went.  The needle bends like wire so I could send it through the curves in the bead.

Now here is where I went my own way.  After the tower bead component I added a soldered jump ring.  At this point many would add their tassel or pendant.  I’ll explain why shortly.



This picture shows you how I went back through both guru bead components.

  1.  Guru Bead
  2.  Tower Bead
  3.  Soldered Jump Ring




I added sity more bead (six sets of ten) to match the first side and then made a knot.


My necklace looked quite nice, but unfinished.


Now you will understand why I added the soldered jump ring.  I want to be able to change the pendant/talisman I will wear with this necklace.  I can now add and remove items as I like, using the soldered jump ring as my constant anchor.


We are pretty excited to have a new tassel collection. They are made of cotton thread and are available in 24 delightful colors.


Using a Swarovski Buddha pendant was a personal design choice.  I had several ideas and in the end settled on this item.


It made sense to make a matching bracelet.  I could not resist using more cotton tassels.


The bracelet I strung with elastic.  I also added a soldered jump ring allowing me to add or remove tassels when I want to.


I hope you enjoyed this step by step.  The Mala prayer bead necklace is one that I will continue to be inspired by and I am certain this will be the summer of Mala style necklaces.

Do let me know if you make a necklace!


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