A mala is a tool used traditionally to count breaths while meditating helping to keep the mind focused and minimize wondering. The gemstones are worn and used during meditation for their energy and to enhance set intentions. Every gemstone has different properties, energies, and meanings.
Traditionally a mala will have at minimum 108 beads plus 1 guru bead
Why 108 beads? Well there are many thoughts on the significance of 108, which has long been considered a sacred number in Hinduism. The rationale that resonates with me the most is that 1 stands for the universe or your own highest truth; 0 stands for emptiness and humility in spiritual practice; and 8 stands for infinity and timelessness..
A mala can be adorned with a tassel, pendant, or knot below the guru bead. The tassel symbolizes the lotus flower which represents purity.