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This set is made from fancy jasper and clear aurora borealis firepolish (faceted) Czech glass. The marbles are aurora borealis white and orangish swirl. Fancy jasper is one of my favourite stones, and I even named my queen cat after this amazing and colourful type of juzu. (scroll down for image.)

The Greek origin of the word jasper, iaspis , means "spotted stone." This form of semiprecious chalcedony, or microcrystalline quartz , is usually red, brown, or green. It derives its colorful bands and patterns (which are more irregular and less defined than those of agate ) from other minerals present. The gemstone is often named according to its pattern; landscape jaspers are the most popular. It has a dull luster but takes a fine polish, and its hardness and other physical properties are those of quartz. Jasper is often sealed with petroleum products. Its polish might wash away in water, so clean with a soft, dry cloth.

The gem was a favourite in the ancient world, and the name jasper can be traced back in Hebrew, Assyrian, Persian, Greek and Latin. People of the fourth century called it the great "rain-bringer," and it has been thought to strengthen the stomach and cure gynecological troubles. Some also use it to drive away evil spirits and protect against snake and spider bites. It supposedly gives you the courage to speak out and the bravery to achieve personal independence. Jasper is mined in North Africa, Sicily, France, India, Venezula, Germany, the USA and many more countries.

Fancy jasper is an opaque creamy beige stone with gray, lavender or green swirls. It is said to facilitate tranquility and help eliminate worry and depression. It also might bring mental clarity.

I have enjoyed making juzu for over a decade. Over the years I have improved the way they are strung and found materials that will hold up for years if they are treated well and never rubbed. I include instructions for care of your juzu when I email you they are on their way to you. I have had a set similar to this for ten years that shows no sign of wear because I am careful with them. I use them almost daily and take them to meetings, and could still sell them as brand new.

The prayer beads SGI members use symbolize various points of Buddhist doctrine. The two large beads represent the principle of kyochi myogo, the fusion of objective reality (kyo) and subjective wisdom (chi). The large bead on the end with 3 tassels represents Shakyamuni Buddha, or subjective wisdom; the other one represents Taho Buddha, or objective reality. The Essential Doctrines of the Fuji Sect compiled by 59th High Priest Nichiko Hori confirms the tradition of placing the beads so that the large bead representing Shakyamuni goes on the right hand and the one representing Taho goes on the left. This placement may be explained by the position of Shakyamuni and Taho in the Treasure Tower. Looking at the Gohonzon, Taho appears to our right and Shakyamuni to our left, but from the Gohonzon's side, Shakyamuni is positioned to the right of the Treasure Tower of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and Taho to the left.

electronic mail: arika at sunlotus dot com