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A type of gaud attached as an ornament to a rosary. Such pieces were in the form of a spherical case (sometimes made of boxwood) with a hinged opening and having on the interior of each hemisphere a number of minute carved figures of saints or Biblical figures or scenes.
Some (c. 1500) were made of hardstone with interior carved and enamelled figures. Sometimes all of the beadq on a rosary were nuts. Occasionally called a 'prayer-nut'. The French terms are noix or grain de chapelet, and the German term for those of wood is Betnüsse.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson