Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Introduction to Stone Beads

Stone beads are the holy grail of beads. They are the beads that hold the greatest value before and after being strung or made into jewelry. Gemstone beads are the most prized of all the stone beads. Stones like sapphire, emeralds, ruby, and diamonds, are all precious gems. That makes beads from them precious stone beads. Amethyst, citrine, peridot, rose quartz, jade, aquamarine, iolite, and garnet are some examples of semi-precious gemstones. Because they are still very appealing to the eye, and they tend to be much more affordable than precious stone beads, they are much more popular in fine beaded jewelry. Of course, affordable is a relative term, and we are relating to plastic or glass beads which are much less expensive.

Stone beads are more expensive because stone is more durable, which translate into "much harder to work". Stone is harder and stronger than glass or plastic. Another component to the value of stone beads is the natural beauty. Gemstones are prized for their beauty. It is amazing that a rock can be found as red as ruby, green as emerald, or as blue as sapphire and formed within the confines of the earth's dynamic environment. These two properties contribute to the intrinsic value of gemstone beads.

Less expensive rocks can be used for beads, too. Agates, jaspers, sodalite, and wonderstone are cut into beads. These beads often compare in price to glass.

One other factor plays into bead values--quality. Not all stones and gemstones are created equal. Just because a stone is called ruby or emerald doesn't mean that it is good quality. The higher the quality the higher the price.  The workmanship of the bead forming (shaping and polishing) is also important in stone bead quality.

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