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Medieval rosary bead, gold, trilobed, the lobes bear the letters 'R', 'I' and 'A', '[GLO]RIA', against a black ground, probably niello, flanked by a floral and leaf decoration, with a beaded line between the lobes. The word bead comes from the Old English 'bede' - prayer. People fingered sets of beads to count their prayers of penance and devotion, and 'bedesmen' were employed to pray for the dead. The gold bead is inscribed 'RIA', for [GLO]RIA 'Glory'. Amber beads were especially prized and were imported from Bruges, Lübeck and Danzig.
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