Magatama beads were historically comma shaped (or, today, with an off centre hole); these beads first appeared in Japan and Korea from the end of Neolithic period and continuing into the Bronze Age and so go back in history a long way indeed; the first ones were precious gemstones carved into a comma shape (for instance, carved in Jade). These beads are often found in ancient mounded graves as precious offerings to gods, and they therefore obviously had important religious and social significance. It is believed that magatama were popularly worn as jewels or used as decoration for weapons; it is variously claimed this type of bead represents water drops, sprouting seeds, flames, or the embryo (and possibly many other symbolic meanings), in addition to their ancient religious meanings (in terms of the beads being carved in stone as mentioned previously). Eventually, in religious terms, over time, the beads were later mostly replaced by Buddhist prayer beads. In contemporary Japan, the magatama beads' shape is an accepted representation of the human spirit and the ancient representation (of a comma shaped bead) is suggested to be one of the the origins of the Yin-Yang Symbol; our Magatama beads are made of glass and are made in Japan, of course.
There are approximately 300 beads in 25 grammes.