Source: Deseret Morning News
On August 7, 2004 Deseret Morning News reported that, "[prayer beads] were one of the first sources of human artistic expression, emotional comfort and spiritual mystery. From a lone Buddhist monk rubbing his beads in contemplation of the flaws of man to a Catholic woman holding her rosary in prayer, these tiny objects, bound together by cord, provide tactile comfort and company to those seeking spiritual guidance. Carved from seashells, wood, precious stone or other materials, beads were cherished by stone-age societies as talismans of good fortune. Tens of thousands of years later, beads are still found in many major religions, including Islam, Buddhism and Christianity. Anthropologists believe the use of beads in prayers stemmed from the use of beads to keep count. The same ancient technology that gave rise to the abacus was also used by the religious to keep count of their prayers. But they have also become a symbol of humanity, being given at birthdays, weddings and handed down to the next generation in families."