St Cuthbert’s beads are tiny fragments of crinoid stems – a marine echinoderm related to sea urchins and starfish – which lived in the shallow waters around the island around 300 million years ago. The small bead-like fossils wash onto the beach and, in medieval Northumberland, were strung together as necklaces or rosaries and became associated with St Cuthbert. 

After much searching, I found several example of these on the beaches around Holy Island. Now cast in sterling silver, they are a perfect addition to the collection and its connection with this special place.

The St Cuthbert’s bead on this dainty necklace measures approximately 9mm diameter.

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