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An example of modern begleri

Begleri (Greek: μπεγλέρι) is a small skill toy consisting of one or more beads at either end of a short string or fine chain. The toy can be flipped and twirled around the fingers to perform tricks. Begleri originated in Greece, and originally derived from the Greek rosary or komboloi, which serve the function of worry beads, and are often flipped around to pass the time or keep the hands busy. While komboloi have beads forming a closed circle, begleri beads are threaded on an open strand, usually in a symmetrical formation, with equal weighting at either end.[1] Begleri come in many forms, consisting of semi-precious stone or metal beads. They can be similar in form to the percussion instrument kashaka, but are much smaller in size.

Modern Begleri revival[edit]

Historically, begleri was associated with the Greek mangas subculture, and the rebetiko style of music, popular until the 1960s. In recent years, begleri has grown in popularity outside of Greece, as a skill toy and everyday carry item. This has led to a proliferation of begleri designs and styles, using all manner of modern materials. The recent uptick in interest among collectors and skill toy enthusiasts dates back to at least the early 2010s, when it began gaining popularity on hobbyist sites. As the popularity grew in online forums and social media, different styles of play began to emerge. A wide range of different styles of play and categories of tricks have developed, many of which can only be performed with relatively long-stringed begleri, termed "long game" by enthusiasts.

Modern types of Begleri[edit]

Modern begleri as a skill toy has gained popularity with many people across the world. Due to the nature of play, begleri have shifted from the traditional ornate beads to simpler performance oriented beads. Two common begleri types are monkey-fist "beads", and solid type beads. Monkey-fist begleri are commonly made by people beginning to practice "slinging" the common term for begleri manipulation. Solid type beads are becoming more and more common, and there a few companies that are developing new geometries of beads based on feedback from consumers.

In popular culture[edit]

Axel Schönberg, a character in John M. Green's thriller, The Trusted,[2] is almost always twirling a set of gold begleri in his fingers.


  1. ^ "History of Komboloi". Kombologatiko. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  2. ^ Dobbin, Winsor (2013-04-07). "The Trusted". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2017-01-05.