Strictly speaking, all rosaries are chaplets ~ both are names for the beads we use to count our prayers, and for the prayers themselves. Still, when we say ‘rosary’ most people think of the familiar five or fifteen decade Dominican rosary, and use ‘chaplet’ for all the other specialized prayers and patterns of beads.

Most often, chaplets are created for use in a specific devotion. Sometimes they are created in response to a vision, or to commemorate a saint. They are almost always widely used long before they are formally recognized, sometimes for decades or even centuries.

And there are so many! I’ve tried to make this list as complete as possible, but even in my own collection there are chaplets that I haven’t been able to identify. The number and variety of chaplets is as vast and changeable as humanity itself, and as beautiful.