Yusuri (yusr) is a coral that belongs to the hexacoral species, a member of the order of Antipatharia. Although it is a tree-like sea creature, it is not a plant organism. In fact, it is a sea animal that lives in colonies at fixed locations. It is 15cm in diameter and is encountered firmly attached to rocks in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, at a depth of some dozens metres. Humans collect corals in order to carve beads for rosaries or kombolóis. Yusuri was believed to bring luck and conjure evil spirits since antiquity and for that reason it has been used to create amulets and charms.
If you look at a kombolói made of Yusuri from afar, it might not stimulate your interest, since it only gives the impression of a plain dark or black kombolói. If you draw nearer and take it in your hands, you will form a completely different opinion. You will notice that its colour is not monotonously black, but encapsulates streaks of brown running in irregular patterns forming thus a bead that resembles a work of art. Each bead is unique and the kombolói in its entirety, decorated as it is by the priest's head, constitutes a real masterpiece. Hold all beads in your hands, rub them gently between your palms and warm them up. You will immediately smell the scent of iodine permeating the air. Its scent is so distinctive that it will leave you in aw for nature's grandeur. Distinctive is also the sound of these kombolóis. We would characterise this sound as "deep" and "rich", but at the same time unobtrusive. Without tiring or causing distraction, it delivers a pleasant melody composed by every single bead as they nonchalantly collide with each other.
There are some old kombolóis made of Yusuri that survive today and are characterised by their outstanding quality and natural brown tinges that merge harmoniously with the black colour of each bead. These old kombolóis, especially those featuring beads of larger diameter and a priest's head made of yusuri, are extremely rare, and justifiably referred to as valuable collector's items. Nowadays, you can easily find newly created kombolóis made of yusuri. However, their colour is usually brighter black, and their beads are not adorned with lighter brown streaks. In general, kombolóis made of Yusuri are commonly decorated with other materials presenting thus an extraordinary character. The artisans of yusuri kombolóis handcraft them by usually enclosing amber fragments into the coral beads and decorating them with very thin, silver nails. Often they arrange the silver nails on the beads by means of a mosaic technique in such a way that, they form characters of the Arabic alphabet and eventually a Muslim prayer. These collectible articles are considered to be some of the most intricate and impressive kombolóis, their use however requires delicacy due to the great deal of detail incorporated in the beads.
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