New Spain - 16th c. Bone Skull Chaplet w Cross - Memento Mori

$89.00

This chaplet design was inspired by one of the extant skull rosary from the New World. Found in South America and believed to be of Spanish origin, the original dates to the early 16th century before rosaries were standardized. It is made of wood skull beads that hinge to reveal religious scenes. The original has the same number of beads and other components as our reproduction. This a perfect example of prayer beads where the "Our Father" and "Hail Mary" were recited in an alternating sequence. There may have been more skull beads originally but the extant one only has seven so our version also has seven.

We could not find skulls that opened for our version, so we made it with 7 antiqued carved bone skull beads (12x10mm), alternating between 8 small (6mm) round metal beads. They are connected by metal links to a metal pendant meant to resemble the crescent shape on the original rosary. Hanging from the pendant are three smaller dangles (a cross and 2 other beads). A metal ring with a hanging cord is on the other end.

It measures approx. 13" from top of the metal ring (not including the cord) to bottom of the small cross.

Shipped in a velvet pouch.
A FREE Latin prayer booklet is included with each rosary purchase.
We ship via USPS Priority Mail with insurance so that your package arrives in 2-3 days and you can track it on-line.

NOTE: Because of the antiquing process, bone beads typically emit a smoked scent. To reduce the aroma, rub beads with a sheet of fabric softener. Sizes, shapes and colors may vary with handcrafted items.

See more like this in our Rosaries and Paternosters Section!

Memento Mori Jewelry, including rosaries, with its unflinching use of symbols of death and its purposeful message, "Remember you must die" was widely worn in Western Europe during the 16th century. A constant reminder that life is temporary and heaven should be the ultimate goal, its intention was to encourage virtuous living.

Tenners or Gebetskette Zehners (prayer chain with 10 beads) became popular in the 16th century. As the name implies, they were chaplets consisting of 10 beads. Sometimes another bead was added which was usually larger than the 10 beads and sometimes had bead caps and/or spacers separating it from the other beads. In addition to these beads there was a tassel, saint's metal, credo cross, crucifix or some kind of pendant. Often a number of these items were used in combination at the end of the prayer beads.

Shipping from United States

Processing time

1-3 business days

Estimated shipping times

  • North America : 2 - 3 business days

I'll do my best to meet these shipping estimates, but can't guarantee them. Actual delivery time will depend on the shipping method you choose.

Customs and import taxes

Buyers are responsible for any customs and import taxes that may apply. I'm not responsible for delays due to customs.

Payment Options

Secure options
  • Accepts Etsy gift cards

Returns & Exchanges

I gladly accept returns and exchanges

Just contact me within: 3 days of delivery

Ship items back to me within: 7 days of delivery

I don't accept cancellations

But please contact me if you have any problems with your order.

The following items can't be returned or exchanged

Because of the nature of these items, unless they arrive damaged or defective, I can't accept returns for:

  • Custom or personalized orders
  • Perishable products (like food or flowers)
  • Digital downloads
  • Intimate items (for health/hygiene reasons)
  • Items on sale

Conditions of return

Buyers are responsible for return shipping costs. If the item is not returned in its original condition, the buyer is responsible for any loss in value.

Legal imprint