Welcome to my second review of 12 Days of Christmas season 3! Today, we have a series classic: rosaries. Not only that, they are rosaries from Vatican Gift, a company you may be familiar with if you followed the series last year. Vatican Gift has been kind enough to let us take a look at what a bigger budget can get you from their lineup. If you are not familiar with Vatican Gift, last year’s review may be a good place to start.
Let’s start today’s review with the not a rosary, but a miraculous medal, which is a product not mentioned in last year’s review. It comes in the typical blue Vatican Gift box. There is a little hook in which the medal is hooked onto. It is perfectly shaped so that together with the plush board the hook is attached to, the medal is held firmly in place but can still be removed without damage to the medal itself. The overall presentation is impressive.
The level of detail on the medal is also quite high. The etchings that form the letters, Mary’s facial features and the folds of her clothing look very clean and intentional. It is clear that care was taken when choosing what details to include and where they should be placed.
If you checked out the website, you would have noticed that the price (starting at $22) is quite a bit higher than what you may typically find at a Catholic shop or a shrine gift shop. This higher price is not only a result of the nice packaging and attention to detail, but also because this medal is made of sterling silver, made evident by the “925” marking on the back.
The perks of ordering such an item from Vatican gift is that, as detailed, it is much nicer than the miraculous medals you can buy for 50 cents to a dollar at a shrine souvenir shop for example, both in the etchings and the material quality. It also comes with packaging – nice packaging, might I add. The final perk is that there are a variety of sizes to choose from (please note that each size is priced differently). I think the price tag is justified when all these benefits are listed, but if you choose to gift this medal, the person receiving it may not be familiar with Vatican Gift and/or have read this post. Therefore, the person receiving the gift may not understand that this miraculous medal is indeed of higher quality (and price tag) and value it the way you hope they would. I think this is best gifted in addition to a rosary or given to someone who is familiar with medals and is fond of collecting those of higher quality.
Moving on to the rosaries, the first one I want to discuss is the Hematite rosary. The beads are made of hematite as the name implies and they all seem well made and very reflective, a quality that is noted on the web page. They also have quite a bit of weight to them which contributes to a luxurious feel. Upon close inspection, I noticed that not all of the beads have a perfectly smooth surface, which I think is a quality of the mineral. The crucifix and center piece of this rosary is also sterling silver and like the miraculous medal, do not have a high shine finish which is an interesting contrast to the rest of the rosary. I expected them to be heavier considering the weight of the beads, but these components are actually quite lightweight. The links between the beads feel sturdy, are all well shaped and appear to be the same size. The consistency between the links is an indicator of good quality.
The second rosary is from the Gratia Plena series. Rosaries in this series are “[d]esigned by Italian stylists, with the best raw materials, they are precious and elegant Rosaries.” This rosary is called the Emerald Swarovski Crystals And Murano Glass Rosary Necklace. It’s a rather long name but all the rosaries in this series are named like this. I suspect it is so that all the specifications of the rosaries are listed in the name and there is no need for a long description, and shoppers know exactly what they’re getting just by reading the name. It also makes my life easier; now I don’t have to list the materials for you. All the beads look really well cut/shaped; there aren’t any jagged edges or oddly sized beads. The beads flanking the larger Our Father beads have little crystals embedded which all seem well secured. According to the description, the crucifix is 24K gold plated sterling silver. Like the other rosary, this crucifix is also quite lightweight. The details in this crucifix aren’t very well defined; I think it may be a result of the plating process. Also, a very specific note, but I found Jesus’ feet to be painfully pointy. I think it could scratch someone given enough force. I know that not every one cares about that level of detail and it is also possible that that is a quality specific to the rosary I received, but it was something that stuck out to me. One final detail I want to note is the lobster claw clasp. I have never seen this feature in a rosary, but I think this is more geared toward the necklace aspect as the name details. I find that it works well and none of the links surrounding it feel loose. I think the jump between the Hail Mary beads may bother some people considering it is in the middle of a decade, so it is something to consider while shopping.
You may wonder how these rosaries, which are from the line of Precious Rosaries, differ from other rosaries, particularly the Vatican Gift rosaries we have previously reviewed. I think there are two main differences. The first is packaging. If you go back to the first Vatican Gift review we wrote, you will see that the first few rosaries we reviewed came in a little velvety pouch. These rosaries come in a very sturdy box. The exterior is a faux snake skin and the inside has a fuzzy spongey material. The hinges aren’t loose and feel very high quality. I also, however, would not be surprised if the faux snake skin layer eventually cracks or tears along the hinge given time. I will say I think it will take quite a bit of time and use before that might occur. The rosaries are then wrapped in two more layers of packaging before they are tucked into the box. The second major difference is the materials used to make the rosaries. These rosaries are made of very high quality precious stones, minerals, metals and glasses, not seen in the other lines. A common point I think worth mentioning is, as detailed in our previous review, you can have these rosaries blessed by the Pope. We provide more details in that review; please check it out if you are curious about this.
As I noted with the medal, these rosaries, too, are expensive, and it may be difficult for someone who is not familiar with the materials used to comprehend just how expensive they are and appreciate the craftmanship. I would only recommend these rosaries if you intend on purchasing one for someone who has been looking for more of a luxury rosary and likes the materials used to make the rosary you intend on purchasing. Otherwise, if you were attracted idea of purchasing a rosary that is then blessed by the Pope, I would recommend a rosary from one of Vatican Gift’s more affordable lines, which also have beautiful pieces.
And this concludes day 4! I hope you will look forward to the rest of the series for some (not quite as expensive) gift ideas!
Disclaimer: The Catholic Man Reviews was provided these rosaries and the miraculous medals for an honest review of it on this blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks Vatican Gift for the opportunity for us to review these items on our blog and look forward to future collaborations. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the product.