Greek worrybeads in ruby
Made of synthetic amber. Large size.
A "Komboloi" ( Worrybeads ) Primer:
Travel through a Greek village, and one one of the most picturesque sights will be men gathered at the
local "kefenion", talking politics over coffee, while working their komboloi. Part prayer beads, part
fidget toy, the origin of this most Greek object remains a mystery. Some say the komboloi are mimics of
Turkish prayer bead strands. Others believe that during the Turkish occupation, Greeks were forbidden
from shaking hands and the beads were intended as a reminder not to shake hands. Perhaps the most widely
believed theory is that komboloi are derived from knotted prayer strands (komboskini) used by Greek
Komboloi used to be the province of older, traditional minded men. Recently, however, komboloi have
become a fashion accessory to modern young Greek men, and even some women. Komboloi are composed of
sixteen to twenty beads strung together and tied off with a single bead and a tassel. Beads come in many
varieties, including plastic, ceramic, bone, glass, amber and coral. The beads are usually strung on
leather, string or fine metal chain. Perhaps the most striking komboloi are those with beads made from
cobalt blue glass, whick wards off the "evil eye". Komboloi indeed come in many varieties that vary in
price from a few dollars to a thousand dollars or more, depending on the materials used.
Whether you first notice komboloi in a Greek's hand or in one of the colorful displays at souvenir shops
in Greece, they are bound to be strangely compelling. Once you touch them , and feel the smooth beads
sliding through your fingers, you may find yourself hooked.