What sets our rosaries apart?
The Sisters of Carmel have been making quality rosaries for over twenty-five years. We hand-make every link for our rosaries. We do not use eye pins, which are commonly used by many rosary makers. Eye pins are small pieces of wire with a “pre-manufactured” link at one end, and using them cuts the work in half when making rosaries. However, it also pre-determines the size of the links and tends to make unmatched links on the rosary. Hand making every link allows us to be certain that the links are tight and secure. This applies especially to wood beads, which generally have very large holes.
We also use wrapped bows instead of jump rings at the connection points of the centerpiece and the crucifix. Jump rings are easily opened and stretched out of shape, and it is at this spot that rosaries are most susceptible to being broken. Bows don’t unravel (like split rings) or open up, and make for a much stronger, sturdier rosary.
We offer a large variety of beads on our website for building rosaries. Some of the beads are imported, like the olive wood beads that come directly from the Holy Land, and the Czech Lampwork beads from our glass blowing artisan friend in the Czech Republic. For our freshwater pearls and semi-precious stones, we order the highest quality available from a variety of sources. We do offer some good-quality “imitation” beads as a less costly option for very expensive stones. If a bead is a dyed bead, or an “imitation” of the real thing, we will be sure to tell you in the bead description so you know exactly what you are ordering.
Not all beads will be available at all times. Semi-precious beads can be hard to find in certain cases. Turquoise, for example, only just recently became available again after the re-opening of an Arizona turquoise mine, and Baltic amber (imported from Eastern Europe) is not always readily accessible by American companies. If you see a bead on our site that has been temporarily discontinued, you can write to ask if we know when (or if) it will be available again.
Many of the semi-precious stone beads come with holes too small for the wire needed to make the rosary. So rather than using thin and flimsy wire, we hand-drill each bead to allow for the larger wire, when this becomes necessary.
Most of our rosaries are made with 21 gauge wire (with the exception of smaller rosaries at 22 gauge wire and larger rosaries with 20 gauge wire). We offer three different types of wire for our rosaries:
Nickel silver – Nickel silver is a compound of nickel, copper and zinc, also called “base metal.” Though it does not retain the luster of other materials such as sterling and has no silver content, it is a strong, durable metal. We use nickel silver wire on rosaries with base metal parts.
Silver oxidized – Our silver oxidized centers and crucifixes are composed of a solid brass core with a heavy silver plating and an antique finish, and each piece is individually die struck.
Pewter – Our pewter pieces are produced here in the USA, with a special high grade pewter that is lead and cadmium free, developed to provide medals that are light and durable. You will find the same beautiful detail as on our sterling silver and gold filled pieces.
Sterling silver – For our sterling wires, we use Argentian silver wire, which is more resistant to tarnishing. Our sterling silver crucifixes, centers and side medals are produced to the highest standards of artistry and workmanship by several exceptional manufacturers in the USA. All pieces come with a lifetime guarantee.
Gold filled – Gold filled products give the look and feel of 14 karat gold for a fraction of the price. Gold filled, also called rolled gold or gold overlay, is made by heat and pressure bonding a layer of karat gold to a brass alloy core. The exterior of the product, everything you can see or touch, is a solid layer of karat gold, in contrast to gold plated items, which usually consist of a microscopic film of gold particles covering a base metal by an electroplating process. Due to the particles, gold-plate has the tendency to chip, flake and wear off. The gold layer on gold-filled products is approximately 100 times thicker than gold-plate, and due to its bonding process does not tarnish, chip or wear off. For this reason, gold filled items are generally considered lifetime products. All of our products (including the wire, chain, beads, clasps and rings that we use on our gold filled rosaries and bracelets, as well as all medals, centerpieces and crucifixes) are 14/20 Karat gold filled.
Wood inlaid crucifixes - Most of our wood inlaid crucifixes are made of rosewood or ebony with nickel silver or brass. The wood inlaid crucifixes that are paired with our gold filled rosaries are made of yellow brass. It blends well with the gold filled parts. Most of the styles we offer were either imported from a well known manufacturer in France (now closed), or are made right here in the U.S.A. by someone who learned their technique.
Through our Build a Custom Rosary feature, we offer customers the opportunity to build a completely customized rosary. You can choose your own centerpiece, crucifix, side medals, Our Father beads and decorative caps. We also offer options for being able to decide on a rosary more quickly by ordering through our Partly Custom Rosary feature. This feature gives you a choice from a wide variety of rosaries we have made in the past, using photos of these rosaries. Here you will have your choice of bead colors and type of metal to be used. The Pre-designed Rosaries feature lets you choose from a great photo gallery of beautiful rosaries designed either by the Sisters or by past happy customers. Nothing could be simpler! Of course, our Ready-Made Rosaries make it simplest of all: rosaries that are completed and ready to ship - a wonderful option for last minute gifts.
We offer thousands of options for centers, crucifixes, and side medals. We also hand-make each rosary to order, so we usually ask about three to four weeks to complete rosary orders. Occasionally we are able to rush orders, but our monastic observance makes this difficult! So the best option for last minute gifts would be the rosaries on our Ready-Made Rosaries page.