Stacked on the arms of everyone from new age devotees to celebrities to fashion-savvy teens, power bead bracelets are the hippest and most affordable accessory of the year.
Power bead bracelets, which are most popular when worn in groups of 2 or more, are composed of different materials, the most popular being semi-precious stones strung on elastic string, each color representing a certain metaphysical quality.
Semi-precious stones can cost anywhere from $7 (streets of New York) to the mid 20s. Power beads are also made of wood and are very inexpensive (about $3) and look great stacked. High end jewelry maker Me & Ro tops the chart with a $600 sterling Sanskrit version featuring 22 beads and the "Wisdom" amulet.
Power beads have a rich history of spirituality and ritual use that comes from prayer beads and the belief in healing powers of gemstones.
For thousands of years, man has used beads to adorn himself and aid in spiritual and ritual rites.The root word for bead, bede means to pray, and the earliest use of prayer beads is traced to the Hindus.
Stringing beads together allowed the user to keep track of the number of prayers repeated. Prayer beads are also called . The traditional Buddhist mala is comprised of 108 beads, whereas Muslim prayer beads, called subha or tisbah, contain 99 beads; the Catholic rosary consists of between 38 and 169 beads.
According to the History of Prayer Beads, by Marcia Jo Mycko, rosary beads were used prior to the 12th century for talismanic purposes (as a superstitious object to ward off illness or bring good luck) For example, coral was thought to purify the blood and prevent illness in children. Once the church decided rosaries were better suited for counting devotions than for talismanic protection, persons of the cloth were forbidden from carrying "pagan" rosaries made from coral, quartz or amber.
Here's a look at some of the most popular meanings of the stones: -Turquoise (bright blue) - Health
-Tiger's Eye(brown)- Courage & Artistic Ability
-Rose Quartz (pink) - Love & Romance
-Jade aventurine (light green) - Success
-Clear - Strength & Vitality
-Amethyst (light purple) - Intelligence
-Mother of pearl (milky white) - Wealth & prosperity
-Magnetic Hematite(metallic gray) - Happiness
-Onyx (black) - Self Control & stability
-Honey Jade (pale yellow) - Tranquility & patience
-Carnelian (dark orange) - For PMS
-Wood - Simplicity & humility
The belief that gemstones have healing powers is based on the idea that gemstones radiate energy or vibrate at the own atomic energies.
This belief that gemstones are filled with life-force energy, just like plant and animal life, leads to the conclusion that they can promote spiritual, emotional or physical levels of well-being.
According to Dr. Pauline Alison for a gemstone to be therapeutic, it must assist in the spiritual upliftment of humanity, be of high quality, freed of extraneous energy and cleansed frequently to release their therapeutic powers.
From Barbara Bianco, a New Age expert:
Three good reasons to wear stones
1. Wearing certain stones can draw energies into your life, such as love, success, stability, excitement. Usually the color determines this. Wearing green stones like emeralds attracts money. Rubies are for passion.
2. Wearing stone can affect your chakras or energy centers. Rose quartz soothes a broken heart. Turquoise energizes the throat helping a shy person communicate. Lapis can open the third eye or forehead chakra, giving insight and vision.
3. Wearing stones can be used for protection. If you feel that a certain stone or piece of jewelry has been good for you in the past, you will like wearing it. It's your lucky stone, and doesn't matter what it is.