Back to the Roots

begleri komboloi

Back to the Roots


If you're interested in some gorgeous begleri and kompoloi, in the traditional materials, and in both classic and contemporary styles, have a look at They have a beautiful range of options, both minimalist and ornate, using materials like amber, nutmeg, exotic woods, and a full range of semi-precious stones and other options. To Kompoloi 52 is a shop Aroundsquare has good history with, and almost all of the traditional sets in my own collection come from there, so I can attest to their quality. If you use the code AROUNDSQUARE in their shop, you'll get a pleasant 15% off your purchase.

Amber Komboloi
Here's the long version, eight years in the making: 
When I first learned about begleri, back in 2015, I knew that it was Greek in origin, but little else. I'd heard it was mainly played by "taxi drivers and grandpas," and naturally I was intruigued. But I found there was almost nothing about it online at that time—at least not in English anyways. With no easier options, I searched around for legitmate sources, and I essentially cold-called the manager of the most credible, tasteful looking shop I could find, To Kompoloi 52. 

By this point, I was already recklessly pursuing my new passion. I had some rudimentarly metal prototypes, and could flip them around a little, but I was self-conscious reaching out to a proper Greek seller. The response I got, however, was not only warm, but also very encouraging. The shop manager, Eftichia, is a second generation bead seller. Her knowledgeable father runs a market shop in Crete specializing in these beautiful products, and the connection helped me to not only expand my knowledge base, but also my collection of beads.

Although I was already working on my own designs, the exchange sparked my curiosity and appreciation for the traditional styles. I promptly placed an order for several sets. I was interested in how they would feel and play, and also saw it as a way of connecting my new hobby with its traditional roots. The sets arrived, even more beautiful than they looked in their photos, and equally fun to play.

Chatting further, I learned about a standard metal bead design, ubiquitous in Greece, that many young players learn on. I inquired, and Eftichia was able to source a bulk purchase of these "standard issue" beads for me. I shared these around the community in the early days in order to spread the love, and eventually went on to design and produce my own take on these, an homage to the originals, dubbing them the Modern Standards.

Over the years, I've maintained a connection with Eftichia. We chat periodically, and have supported one another's shops in various ways. Having gotten more and more interested in komboloi recently through my enjoyment of our MKUltras, I wanted to pick up a couple more traditional sets from my favourite Greek shop.

That got me thinking, To Kompoloi 52 continues to be the best source I know of for traditional varieties of begleri and komboloi, and many of the folks in the Aroundsquare community might also be interested in some traditional items delve into that aspect of the hobby. So I reached out to Eftichia to see if she might want to do a little exchange. And here we are. I'm very happy to shout out To Kompoloi 52, and they were good enough to offer us a promo code, AROUNDSQUARE, which you can use in their shop if you're interested in making a purchase.

Spreading these hobbies is a joy, and as you likely already know, it is important to me to give share what I learn and respect the cultural roots of anything we've taken on as a product. Hopefully this exchange does a little of both. Happy slinging!

Nutmeg Komboloi

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