ISSUE 20  |  Greek Isles

A Modern Take on Worry Beads

May 19, 2014 1:00 PM

BY Alexa Hotz

A few years back, I was walking through the streets of Athens when I noticed the locals carrying strands of beads, constantly running them through their fingers as if counting each one. I later learned that the beads, called komboloi (or worry beads), are a longstanding aspect of Greek and Cypriot culture, used as a stress relief device.

These colorful komboloi-inspired beads by Brooklyn designers Fredericks and Mae have made me consider acquiring a strand myself, to cope with impending deadlines–or decorate a wall. The necklaces are made from horsehair, leather string, wooden beads, and Gutermann thread dyed in pigment.

Above: A row of colorful small sized strands.

Above: The Small Worry Beads measure 27 inches long; they’re $100 from Fredericks & Mae.

Above: The three-foot-long strand of Large Worry Beads is made from wooden beads, leather cord, horse hair, and thread; $500 through Fredericks & Mae or from Matter.

Above: A detail of the Large Beads with their equally large horsehair tassels.

For more on the designers, visit our post Back to the Future: Nostalgia from Fredericks and Mae. And on Gardenista, have a look at Wooden Bead Hanging Planters.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on August 31, 2012 as part of our issue called The Last Gasp of Summer.