It should be no surprise that we are huge believers in the power of gemstones, both energetically and symbolically. If you’re drawn to a particular stone, our belief is that you should wear it, hold it and meditate with it, for stones always have something to teach us. I am particularly drawn to them and use them in our work with clients and at workshops. I also wear them all the time, often 2 or 3 necklaces layered and people will come up to me randomly and ask me where I got them.
I find my necklaces, bracelets and individual gemstones in my travels — from the South Pacific, Canada and all of the Americas to Europe, Southeast Asia, southern Africa and small islands, I have found beautiful artisan work. We also attend several gemstone fairs and shows throughout the year where we find rarer gemstones at great prices for use in our Blue Soul Circles. We recently discovered some of the most stunning Malas and beaded work on Etsy. What I didn’t expect to find was the heart and soul behind the work — after hearing these women’s stories, I had to share them with you. We LOVE their authenticity and their work. And, we recommend them based on our own personal experiences wearing the jewelry and seeing their craftsmanship first hand.
Sacred Symbol Studios
The malas and bracelets from Sacred Symbol Studios are one of a kind – check out their Etsy store for their entire selection. We were sent a few items to review: malas and one of their unique mala bracelets. The one shown below is not one of the ones we got in to test, but we wanted to show the variety for contrast. This Mala bracelet has 108 (8mm) Ebony beads and natural robins egg blue Amazonite resting beads — just look at the quality of her work!!! And, this is a piece that I’d argue could be worn by men as well as women….great for grounding.
We went for a lighter stone for our Mala Bracelet — peach moonstone mala beads which are more delicate and feminine, however you can also just opt for natural wood as an option as well. How’s this one using 108 wood beads with a Brass Kuan Yin attached? Exquisite we think.
Now for the Malas. The creative force behind these designs and creations is Grace Garcia and her creative touches are just stunning. How about this 108 Bead Mala Brass Durga Yoga Necklace in Tigers Eye? Look at the attention to detail. When it first came in, I couldn’t take it off.
We also went with this beautiful Saraswati 108 Mala necklace in Angelite peach moonstone with white jade greywood! There’s so much wow in this final design — every time I have worn it, I get compliments, which has been six or so times since it came in a few weeks ago. It goes perfectly with the Moonstone wraparound Mala bracelet which Grace sent us.
And, since we use so much blue in our healing work, I decided to try the Sodalite Mala Beads with Ganesh hanging off the end. It’s so flexible that you can wear it with so many outfits: use it to dress up an elegant combo in your wardrobe or it could act as a statement piece with a simple white t-shirt and jeans. Both work equally well.
I asked for Grace’s story. While she was in her twenties, she married a craftsman and worked with him making jewelry and selling it at art shows in the United States, Canada and the Virgin Islands. These skills came in handy later in life with her second husband and young family. She says, “there was a time — back then — when stress and worry would wake her up in the middle of the night in that classic ‘monkey mind’ way that we all suffer from.”
Says Grace, “I’d always been on the path of love and spiritual awareness and knew that mantras could serve to still my thoughts during these restless nights. I made my first mala and slept with it beside me, to use as a tool to sooth myself and quiet my thoughts so that I could sleep. It worked so well for me that I started making mala’s for family and friends.”
“It worked so well for me that I started making mala’s for family and friends!”
Sacred Symbol Studios was born out of this experience and her desire to share the peace that stillness brings. She says that she recently reminded to say ‘yes’ to what comes (which is not something she necessarily adhere to).
Head on over to her Etsy store for more of her work and to order your favorite pieces. They are all reasonably priced and hard to say no to — trust me!!!
True Nature Jewelry
We came across the beautiful work of True Nature Jewelry, which is all handmade by its owner and founder Christine DeWitt out of Carmel Indiana. Given that the feather also represents who we are (and is even in our logo), we were drawn initially to the feather symbol at the top of her Etsy store.
One of the things we really love about Christie’s work is not just that she makes handmade mala beads, custom mala’s and yoga jewelry but her approach to personalization and customization. You can truly personalize your piece in a way we rarely see on Etsy. For example, you can add a custom tassel to your mala and unlike so many malas which only offer the more traditional tassel, Christie offers Sari Silk tassels as well as leather ones.
And, you can choose your color and there are so many variations to choose from. You can even offer them “loose” so you can affix them yourself if you wish. What else is cool is that you can even choose your clasp, i.e., clasp, looped cord or a jump ring. While the tassels are around four inches long, you can even let her know if you want a different length or thickness and she’ll work with you.
Her work is unique in that there are so many choices to choose from, not just one style as is so common. From natural and down-to-earth colors to vibrant stones like Lapis and Carnelian, she’s got you covered. We were given the opportunity to review a few of her pieces and while there are countless ones we were drawn to, we opted for a variety of styles and energies.
What’s lovely is that she includes descriptions on what appears to be handmade rustic paper about the stones in the mala you order.
Using the finest materials and quality craftsmanship techniques, each Mala she makes is “truly a labor of love.” She says, “Mala beads are a very intimate item and there is nothing I love more than being able to handcraft a Mala for one of my clients who may be struggling with life or trying to find a place in which they belong.”
When it comes to designing my handmade Mala’s, she takes great consideration when contemplating each design. After working with many people who were struggling with different aspects of their daily lives, she understands just how meaningful and personal a Mala can be. She asserts that creating something of value that helps my customers find calm in this hectic world is what makes this all such a rewarding experience. Says Christie: “the thought that the Mala’s I make are being worn all over the world still makes me feel so grateful every single day for what I do.”
“Knowing Malas I make are being worn all over the world fills me with gratitude.”
She said that her journey started out as a Yoga practitioner which she did for over 25 year and has since become a certified Yoga teacher. She remembers attending different Yoga festivals and workshops and being inspired by all the beautiful Mala beads many were wearing. And, being a crafty person, she decided to string her own Mala. What she uncovered was a whole new world that took her by surprise. Suddenly, she began studying gemstones and the healing properties each one contains as well as the spiritual benefits of these stones. Says Christie, “I embraced centuries old Mala bead making techniques that have been passed down from countless generations to the next. I learned to hand-knot each Mala and create my own tassels.”
The very first Mala she made for herself was very basic, however she received so many compliments each time she wore it so she began making Mala’s for friends and students. Her Etsy shop, True Nature Jewelry, was a natural evolution in her journey.
We really love Christie’s work and her attention to detail with her packaging. Each mala ships with a beautiful explanation and box — it’s creative, fun and her pieces are beautifully made. Head on over to her Etsy store for more of her offerings — they’re all so reasonably priced, you won’t be able to leave her store without ordering a piece. I love the pieces she sent me.
Pigeon Pray Jewelry
Based out of Woodside New York, Pigeon Pray Jewelry offers handmade malas and beaded necklaces. All of their mala beads are 100% made in the states and as we believe, let yourself be guided to the piece that most speaks to you. Owner and creator behind Pigeon Pray, which has an Etsy store is Claudia Cosentino Olvirri.
She has the following philosophy: when you choose your Mala stay open-minded and let it guide you in your choice. It can be used for meditation, a reminder of something that you wish, a piece that inspires you, or a manifestation of a feeling. And, we love the gemstones Claudia uses in her work. Stunning right?
We were sent a few pieces from her collection to review and this stunning Malachite mala really jumped for us. We love the quality of the bead work and the fact that you can wear with so many Earth tones — beautiful right?
I asked her how she got started and she had this to say: “I always loved to make things with my hands, when I was young I used to sew and knit, I made enough sweaters for my family!” After her daughter was born, they moved to another country and started a business there that went “bust” before they moved to New York. Then, suddenly even more tragedy hit. Claudia got cancer, her husband lost his job and got sick and all of it happened within six months, so they lost their house, their car and everything they had. Quite a story!
After making it through “all that”, she tried to find serenity in working with polymer clay but it didn’t capture her heart until she started to make jewelry and fell in love with her art. Not long after loving this new “art”, she got skin cancer on her nose and had to have nine surgeries — talk about a bout of trauma in a short period of time. She finally turned to spirituality, reading about mysticism and meditation, which led her to making Malas. I had chills when I first read her story — so powerful, right?
Says Claudia, “when I’m making Malas, I feel as if I’m in another world. It makes me feel positive about myself and life — it’s as if I’m surrounded by positive vibes when I work ….. all the time.”
And, what about this stunning Rose Quartz 21 foot necklace — this full length 108 bead mala beaded necklace with both Rose Quartz Gemstone and Wood Beads, with a Gold tone Tree of Life and an owl on the end.
What an incredible journey — it’s as if Spirit is working through her pain and her journey, pouring out one beautiful piece after another. There’s so much wow in her work. I went with the above option except that I chose Blue Lapis (I tend to be a Silver girl rather than gold) over the Rose Quartz although they’re both equally stunning.
“When I’m making Malas, I feel as if I’m in another world. It makes me feel positive about myself and life.”
The below piece gives you an idea of her diversity. It is made with Amazonite Prayer Beads and features a beautiful Hamsa Hand or Fatima Hand and also has four red jasper gemstones in the 108 beaded Mala. Amazonite is meant to have healing powers as it is said that it can help with certain physical ailments and emotional issues and help with chakra balancing.
We love Claudia’s authentic heart, her courage and her creative ability to create these incredibly stunning pieces. She has an Etsy store where you can purchase items directly and her prices are so reasonable, you’ll need to order several. I have worn two of her pieces at our circles and events since receiving them — they’re beautifully made and women ask me where I got them whenever I’m out. Two thumbs up!