A Buying & Selling Rosaries Guide
By paws4critters, sacredheartblessings
This guide is for people who are looking to buy and/or sell rosaries. Here we will touch on a few things that you should look for when buying or do when selling rosaries.
As Father John Corapi says, the Rosary is like praying the Gospels!
The rosary is prayer that requests Our Lady, Mary, Mother of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for her intercession with her Son upon our behalf. If is like asking your best friend to pray for you!
Buying & Selling:
Buyers: When buying rosaries, you need to keep certain things in mind like what materials are used to make the rosary. Sellers should list as much detail about the rosary as possible or as much as known about the rosary. They should list if the rosary is new, used or an antique. There are a lot of people who make rosaries. These hand-crafted rosaries are usually always new. Some are picked up at estate sales; so, the seller may not know much about it. When in doubt, however, always ask the seller BEFORE bidding/purchasing!
Sellers: When selling rosaries, you also need to keep a few things in mind. Always try to list as much as possible about the rosary. Approx. length, type of materials used (beads, metals, etc.), age (new, used, antique). Note if the rosary is hand-crafted or picked up at an estate sale. If it was picked up at an estate sale, try to find our as much about the owner as possible. Sometimes this may have value with a potential customer. If the rosary looks like an antique, try to locate a time frame, it may help you price the item, as well as describe it better. People are more willing to purchase something when they know its history. Be as descriptive as possible!
The type of bead used to make the rosary. Rosaries are made from a variety of beads. Some are plastic, glass, crystal, gemstone, wood, metal, porcelain/ceramic, pearls, etc. Rosary prices depend on the type of bead used. Beads include "Our Father" or "Pater" beads and "Hail Mary" or "Ave" beads. Sellers will refer to the beads by either name.
Plastic: Usually the cheapest.
Gemstone: Can be expensive depending on the gemstone. There are REAL gemstones and IMITATION (or man-made) gemstones. Regardless of real or imitation, these rosaries should be treated as any other gemstone item. KNOW YOUR GEMSTONES. Some materials are marketed as gemstones but are not such as Goldstone. (Goldstone is a man-made gemstone made of glass and copper.) TIP: If you have never heard of the gemstone, search the Internet and find out about it. Some gemstones are not natural but rather man-made - imitations. Keeping this in mind, just because a gemstone is man-made does nto always mean it is cheap! Some gemstones can be dyed and are no longer their natural color. Beware - some take the dyes and hold them; some, like Howlite, DO NOT and will wear off. These dyes can stain hands and clothing.
Wood: Varies widely. Some woods are rare and endangered. Because of this, demand can draw gemstone-like prices. Again, if you haven't heard of the wood, check it out!
Metal: Depends on the metal. Metal beads can be Sterling Silver, Gold, Pewter, Gold over Sterling, base metal, etc. Price obviously depends on metal.
Glass: Usually Czech glass. Czech glass can be fire-polished, pressed shapes, etc. Glass beads are the most common beads used for rosaries. They offer great variety of color and shape. They make some of the most beautiful, creative rosaries. Other glass beads used in rosaries include glass-based pearls, lampwork beads, etc. Not all glass beads are Czech glass; some glass beads originate from China, as well as other regions. Sellers should note if this is known. Fire polished Czech glass beads are usually preferred to crystal because of the smoothness of the beads.
Crystal: Usually Swarovski crystals, but other brands are used as well. Swarovski demands higher prices. If the rosary is listed as crystal but does not state they are Swarovski, ASK! Crystals come in a variety of colors and are as popular as glass rosaries. These crystal rosaries are gorgeous.
Porcelain/Ceramic: Can demand high pricing depending on the bead and what is entailed in the making of the bead. Cloisonne beads are very time consuming to make and are hand-crafted. The process is very complex and costly. Porcelain and ceramic beads are one and the same. Porcelain is glazed ceramic and ceramic is unglazed porcelain, which is fired clay. The intricacy of the shape of the bead, the time it takes to make the bead by hand, the time it takes to fire and finish the bead all goes into the price of the bead. Some porcelain/ceramic rosaries can be very expensive.
Natural: These rosaries include shells like Mother of Pearl, Bone, etc. FYI: Mother of Pearl is most commonly known in its "white" color. THIS IS NOT ITS NATURAL COLOR. Mother of Pearl is bleached white. The natural color of Mother of Pearl is a creamy iridescent champagne color, actually much prettier that the common bleached white. They also, however rare, are dyed in a variety of colors.
Pearls: Genuine, not glass-based. Pearls can come in a variety of shapes: button (round, flat), rice (rice-shaped), potato (very close to round, but not), etc. If a rosary is listed as being a pearl rosary, make sure you know whether it is GENUINE or GLASS-BASED. Genuine pearl rosaries, like gemstones, can be pricey.
Most sellers, who know what they have, will list the bead type and size. However, if you are not sure of the beads, ASK! Reputable sellers will always welcome questions.
CONNECTOR PARTS / CENTER / CRUCIFIX
The type of material used to make (or string) the rosary is known as the connector parts. Connector parts can be metal - chain or beading wire - or beading thread/cord/string.
Metal connector parts: Uses sections of chain, eyepins and jump or split rings. Some people use sturdy beading wire to make their own parts. Here are some of the metals people use to make rosaries: Sterling Silver, Gold (10kt, 14kt, 18kt, etc.), Gold-filled and/or plated, Silver-toned Pewter, Gold-toned Pewter, Silver-tone and Gold-tone base metal.
Beading thread/cord/string connector parts: Some rosaries are made from stringing beads on beading cord/string/thread. I do not make rosaries in this fashion and do not feel I should go into detail about it. I invite anyone who makes rosaries using this method to post a buying guide detailing the use of beading thread/cord/string. The type of material used will affect the price of the rosary.
Centers: Usually a medal (not to be confused with metal) with three holes/loops/etc.. Sellers should, if they don't know what the medal is, describe the center to the best of their ability. Keep in mind, some sellers pick up rosaries at estate sales and may not know what they have. Some centers have an image on the back as well as the front. For instance, a Scapular is a two sided medal ALWAYS. The Scapular always depicts the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the front and Our Lady of Mt Carmel on the back. Our Lady of Mt Carmel depicts Mary holding the infant Jesus (not to be confused with the depiction of the Madonna & Child - they are very different). The Miraculous Medal is another medal that ALWAYS is two sided. Centers depicting Our Lady of Lourdes may or may not have a vial on the back with water from Lourdes. This should be specified in the listing. If not, ASK! Some centers have "Italy" stamped on them, as this is where the center was made. This does NOT guarantee the rosary was made in Italy.
Crucifixes: ALWAYS HAS JESUS, also known as the Corpus (or Corpus Christi = Body of Christ), on it. Catholic rosaries always have a crucifix, not a cross. However, there are rosaries that do not have a crucifix such as knitted rosaries or the like. Some crucifixes are simple and some are highly detailed. It is up to the maker of the rosary. Remember, though, just because the crucifix is of a simple design does not mean it is cheap or cheaply made crucifix. Some crucifixes have "Italy" stamped on them, as this is where the crucifix was made. This does NOT guarantee the rosary was made in Italy.
Some of the center/crucifix metals people use to make rosaries: Sterling Silver, Gold (10kt, 14kt, 18kt, etc.), Gold-filled and/or plated, Silver-toned Pewter, Gold-toned Pewter, Silver-tone and Gold-tone base metal.
Obviously, Sterling and Gold rosaries will be priced higher than either silver or gold Pewter, which in turn will be priced higher than silver or gold-tone base metal. Silver and gold-tone base metal has a tendency of being priced similarly to the beading cord/wire.
SELLING BLESSED ROSARIES
I have been asked a few times if rosaries I sell are blessed. My answer to this is NO. It is my understanding, through Mom's Catholic schooling, blessed items CANNOT be sold. Because I have been asked, I have gone to a Catholic non-profit website and asked about selling blessed items. The response was, basically, NO. They said, obviously, people can do what they want. The selling of blessed items is irreverent and disrespectful, particularly if the blessing is a part of the sales pitch. As far as I am aware after some looking into this, the Vatican DOES NOT issue a certificate of authenticity for blessed items or blessings.Therefore, I would be skeptical of anyone offering one.
REMEMBER: When buying a blessed rosary...you are buying the rosary NOT the blessing! You may, however, get an item blessed for someone else as a gift. Therefore, a rosary can be sold unblessed, but the seller may offer to have the rosary blessed for you after the sale if you are unable to obtain the blessing yourself.
Also, remember, according to the helpful Franciscan who answered my questions, someone may have a valuable religious item which was blessed at one time. If one needs the money, one may sell this item not as a "blessed item" but as a piece of art. It must be distinguished between the blessing and the physical object. One may buy/sell a physical object; one may NOT buy/sell a blessing. Pricing of blessed rosaries (by popes or otherwise) should not be priced higher than the worth of the item unless it is a valuable religious artifact. The blessing does NOT influence the price.
SELLING ROSARIES AS JEWELRY
Rosaries are NOT jewelry! They are religious items. Recently, popular culture has tried to turn this Catholic religious prayer into a popular fashion statement. This is disrespectful to the Catholic faith. Rosaries are used for deep prayer and for, as Father John Corapi says, to pray the Gospel. I would be skeptical of anyone selling rosaries as a "necklace", as it is NOT jewelry!
PRICING OF ROSARIES
Rosaries are usually priced in this fashion:
Cost of materials + time to make rosary = total cost
Total cost x 2 = price of rosary to general public
The difference is the profit.
Total cost of materials includes beads, connector parts, center and crucifix.
Time to make rosary depends on the speed of the rosary maker.
The total cost is then multiplied by 2 to get the price of the rosary.
This is a general formula in most sales of most items up for sale in the world. However, in the retail world, stores and such, multiply the cost by a much higher number. Upscale stores and specialty shops use an even higher number. I have heard some "mall" stores have a 500% markup of their cost.
I hope this has helped all those who are looking to buy...or sell...rosaries.