Comparing wire and cord rosaries

As I continue expanding the number of hand-knotted rosaries (both Anglican and Catholic) in my inventory, I wanted to share some comparisons of the two options that may not be as readily apparent in the images in the listings to help you choose the option that works best for your needs.

There are two primary differences between the two, with each having additional implications for their appearance and use. To highlight these differences, I’m using two Anglican rosaries to compare features since they are smaller and easier to photograph, but these comparisons are equally applicable to Catholic rosaries.


The first difference is one of aesthetics. The rosaries strung on wire have small metal beads between all of the stone or wood beads that give the rosaries a unique look that many people find pleasing.

The size of these metal beads are also slightly larger than the knots used between the beads in the cord versions, so the end result is that a rosary strung on wire is slightly longer than one strung on cord.

The image below shows two Anglican rosaries made with beads of the same size and using the same cross style for easy comparison. The top rosary is made with orange-blue jade and red jasper and is strung on wire. The bottom rosary is made with green-blue jade and obsidian and is strung on hand-knotted teal cord.

comparing rosary length | Be Still Beads

You can see the subtle difference in length and the aesthetic difference between the use of metal beads versus knots between the beads rather clearly here.


While the rosaries strung on wire tend to win out aesthetically for many people, the rosaries strung on hand-knotted cord win in a big way when we look at flexibility and the associated benefits thereof.

Wire strung rosaries are much stiffer and don’t drape as nicely as the ones strung on cord, as you can see in the image below. The wire strung rosary on the right requires a larger radius in the curve in the bottom and holds that shape stiffly. In contrast, the hand-knotted cord rosary drapes easily and flexibly.

comparing rosary drape | Be Still Beads

Why does this matter? The flexibility matters in that it makes it easier to use and store the rosary. The hand-knotted rosary can more easily be scrunched in your hand as you work your way through it without the stiffness of the wire interfering.

It makes an even bigger difference in storage of your rosary. Wire strung rosaries most commonly fail because of the wire getting kinked between beads. The kinking of the wire eventually causes it to break, as with any wire that’s sharply bent back and forth. This means that special care must be taken to prevent it from being stored in tight places (like pockets or small pouches) that could cause the wire to be bent in this way.

With hand-knotted cord rosaries, on the other hand, this is not an issue. The rosary’s flexibility means that it can be scrunched up any way you wish and put into pockets or small pouches without concern.

In the image below, you can see a comparison of the two rosaries in my hand. The wire strung rosary on the left can only be lightly curled in on itself, and this image shows it as tightly as it can be squeezed with harm. The hand-knotted cord rosary on the right can be squeezed down tightly. (This rosary can actually be squeezed even more tightly than shown in the photo, but when I did that, you couldn’t see the photo for my fingers covering it.)

wire and cord comparison | Be Still Beads

This increased flexibility is why all of my petite rosaries, designed with smaller beads for ease in portability, are strung on hand-knotted cord to maximize their usefulness in carrying them in small places.

Many people assume that the wire strung rosaries must be stronger than the hand-knotted cord strung ones just because wire seems stronger than cord, but the reduced flexibility of wire and the dangers of kinking the wire make that assumption false. That’s why I warn people upfront by stressing the importance of caring your your rosary properly in all listings.

Which type of rosary is best for you? That depends entirely on your aesthetic preferences and how you intend to use your rosary.

If it sounds like a rosary on hand-knotted cord might be a better option for your needs, I’ve got good news for you! I’m increasing the number of hand-knotted cord rosaries available in inventory all the time!


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