Rosaries craft, file photo.
CAIRO – 5 May – 2019: Manufacturing rosary beads is an ancient craft, which exists mainly in the great mosques areas, such as the area of Al-Hussein Mosque and Al Sayeda Zeinab Mosque. The Rosary craft still very much exists, and is inherited from one generation to the other, creating splendid rosary beads used by worshipers in the remembrance of God.
It is important for rosary bead makers to be in a good mood while working due to the patience required in the craft, sometimes taking a whole day to produce a single rosary. The craft requires a great deal of precision and professionalism. A rosary bead maker has to be highly skilled while manufacturing so that no mistakes occur which may negatively affect the Rosary's artistic shape.
Currently, the Al-Hussein neighborhood and Qasr al-Shouk Street especially, are preparing large quantities of rosary beads of different shapes and sizes, to meet demands in Ramadan, which consistently represent a time of peak sales for the beads. Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia also buy rosaries from Egypt for Ramadan and pilgrimage season, with Iraq and Yemen also buying.
Rosary bead makers are strongly attached to every rosary they produce. They consider every piece as a part of their soul. They know what suits every customer. An Egyptian for example, wants something that is cheap but elegantly shaped, while a foreigner usually tends to buy practical and valuable rosaries. for the bead maker, they feel that they are selling their art and creativity not just rosaries.
The price of a rosary starts from LE 50 and can go all the way up to LE 5000. The prices vary according to the design and the material of every rosary. Rosaries can be made from emerald, fairuz, silver and other valuable materials and precious stones. Sometimes the customer demands a special design with certain materials, such rosaries are sold in hard currency.
Chinese rosaries cannot compete with the Egyptian ones, because the quality of the Egyptian are higher and they are handmade, not machine-manufactured like the Chinese rosaries. It is worth mentioning that rosary bead manufacturers demanded the government’s support to preserve the rosary industry and to prevent this ancient art from dying out.