The city of Loreto, located in Central Italy, is of one of the most renowned cradles of Italian craftsmanship, especially when it comes to rosaries. These apparently simple religious objects hide centuries of artisan tradition and know-how. The practice of making rosaries stood the test of time thanks to the matrilineal inheritance of the techniques, passed from mothers to daughters, which means that mostly women were and are still in charge of preserving the ancient art of creating rosaries. This is still the case in Loreto.

 Savelli's original work tools


Women who dedicate their lives to this craft are called “incatenatrici”, that comes from “incatenatura”, which refers to the very core principle of making a rosary, that is the binding of beads. This work requires a lot of patience and ability. The most experienced craftswomen make about 4 or 5 rosaries per hour, that is, it takes more or less 15 minutes to make each rosary!


Loreto Savelli Factory



A standard rosary has 59 beads, reflecting the following structure: Hail Mary beads appear in 5 groups of ten, called “decades”, and one group of three, called “Antiphon Beads”; the remaining 6 beads correspond to Our Fathers. We can ideally represent a rosary as a loop connected by a centerpiece to a pendant, the latter ending with a crucifix.

Originally, a cord was used to make rosaries, its knots designating the number of prayers to pronounce. From the 12th century on, the design and purpose of rosary underwent several changes. Other materials and decorations were introduced, such as silk and pearls. Nowadays, the choice for a worshipper is arduous, for an incredibly rich collection of rosaries is available on the market. The biggest innovation, however, is certainly the technique employed to create the metal rosaries.


Rosary Manufacturing - Made in Italy Tradition


Nowadays, the vast majority of rosaries are made of metal, Sterling Silver or Gold. This kind of rosaries is composed of beads, eye pins, a connector, and a crucifix. The “Hail Mary” beads are strung together with half-hard wire pins of a couple of centimeters that have the form a question mark. This kind of shape is obtained by rolling the wire with a special plier that has a flat surface.

In order to assemble a decade, we slip an eye pin through a bead, and make a loop on its straight side, then repeat this procedure for the other beads, connecting each time the new bead to the previous one.  

The “Our Father” beads are bound to the decades by a Rolo-chain segment, containing three or more links. The last part consists in putting all these elements together: once the rosary loop is assembled, we join its loose ends with the centerpiece, also called “connector” or “medallion”, and then add the pendant segment with the crucifix. The connector of our Sterling Silver rosaries is usually a Miraculous Medal.


Rosary Manufacturing - Made in Italy Tradition  Rosary Manufacturing - Made in Italy Tradition



Rosary manufacturing - Made in Italy tradition


One last thing you absolutely want to know is that one of the “old-school” materials used to make rosary beads are the hard-shelled seeds of a tropical plant called Coix lacryma-jobi. The shape of its pearly white beads recalled those of the teardrops and the great suffering of the Biblical figure of Job perfectly explains the choice of the name.


We hope that you enjoyed reading this blog as much as we enjoyed collecting this precious information from our artisans. We also hope that every time you’ll be praying with one of our rosaries you’ll be able to feel the great mastery, care, and devotion employed to create your instrument of faith.



Related articles: