Gemstones Tips

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when did the birthstone idea develop?

How the Use of Birthstones Developed

There are a number of different theories about the development of "birthstones" - the association of specific precious and semi-precious stones with particular months of the year - although one of the earliest references to this idea is in the Judaic Exodus wherein a High Priest wears a breastplate with twelve stones, each representing one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The correlation between these twelve stones and the twelve Egyptian months that were used at the time was probably the foundation in the western world for the idea of birthstones.

Because gemstones have always been associated with mystical powers from the earliest times, it was natural for them to be associated from the formative years of astrology with particular Zodiacal signs. As the dates of the Zodiac signs changed so that the influence runs from the second half of one month across the first half of the next, some associations stayed with the signs while others stayed with the months themselves.

The popular usage of birthstones was reported to start as late as the fifteenth or sixteenth century in Poland, although there is also some suggestion that they were used extensively in the Eastern world long before that. To date, there is little agreement on which stone is definitely associated with each month, although the Jewelers of America set forth a list of modern birthstones in 1912 that is used commonly today, especially in jewelry stores.

What designs or beads will make more unusual, bold gem stone jewelry?

Unique Gemstone Jewelry Design

If you want to create an unusual and unique piece of gemstone jewelry, you can consider either design or materials to make it stand out in a crowd. For example, a short, single-strand necklace with a clasp on the end would typically call for carefully arranged gemstones descending in size. Tweak this design and alternate your large and small beads with a fabulous center pendant. Or group gemstones of a more dominant color together and create a fading effect. An unusual material to use in your jewelry making would be Carnelian gemstones. Carnelian gemstones are bright red-orange to deep, brown-orange chalcedony. Small carnelian gem stone beads will appear more translucent; large beads will appear more opaque. They look terrific on a unique and bold piece of bead jewelry.

How should I clean my precious gemstones?

Cleaning Precious Gemstones

There are different ways to clean gemstone beads. However, due to the different hardness levels of individual precious gem stone beads, certain methods of cleaning gemstones are more suitable for one type than another. There are five main methods of cleaning gemstones. They are as follows:

Steaming- suitable for gemstones that have a high degree of hardness

Ultrasonic- suitable for gemstones that have a high degree of hardness

Boiling- only recommended for cleaning diamonds

Cleaners-are not suited for soft gemstones

Soap- are not suitable for the softest gemstones

Cloth- available for all gem stone bead types

As with any gemstone jewelry, you should always read the care and cleaning instructions that are included with any wholesale gem stone you purchase.

Do gemstones come in various shapes and colors?

Flourite Gemstones

Gem stones come in many sizes, shapes and colors. Gem stone jewelry can take its shape from a variety of influences like lapis cubes, rose quartz triangles, tigereye stars or goldstone hearts. If you are looking for a beautiful mineral to use in your jewelry making, you should consider Fluorite. Fluorite comes in shades of purple, pale green, pale blue and almost clear. Fluorite gemstone beads can also be found in yellow and gold tones. You should be careful if you choose Fluorite for your jewelry making because its a very soft gemstone and is prone to scratching and fracturing.

What are some good color combination choices when choosing gemstone beads?

Popular Designs: Combining Gemstone Beads

Various gemstone beads look best when paired with other beads that are complimenting to each other. When beginning a project choosing various gem stone beads that you would like to combine first is a great way to stir up the creative juices and begin your design plan. If you are going to create a gem stone ring, then you will definitely want to make sure that you carefully choose the gemstone beads since they will be viewed at close proximity to each other. Here are some very popular gemstone bead combinations that have been selected due to their inherent qualities and gem stone properties.

Agate are blue beads that look marvelous next to the warm yellow glow of Aragonite

Garnets look stunning when combined with Black Onyx

Green Jade exudes wealth and elegance and is exquisite when paired with Amethyst

Rose Quartz is simply soft and feminine in light pink, add clear Quartz or even clear Swarovski Crystals to enhance the romantic feel.

Turquoise with its blue green sky color is set ablaze by the fiery warmth of Carnelian. This combination is as striking as the sun setting in the Arizona sky.

How can I prevent my gemstone beads from sliding around while I am working?

Working with Loose Gemstone Beads

Working with loose gemstone beads can be tricky at times. A great beader's trick is to use a piece of felt (available for purchase in your local craft stores usually for about 10 cents a square) and lay your loose gem stone beads on the felt. When you are working, the felt will prevent the loose gemstone beads from sliding across your worktable.

What are the metaphysical meanings of Gemstone Points?

Gemstone Points: Their Meanings

If you are creating gem stone jewelry for its metaphysical meanings, you will be familiar with gemstone points. These carefully angled gemstones are perfect for wire wrapping and are worn by many for their mystical and magical purposes. Here is a listing of some popular gemstone points and their properties.

Amethyst is worn for developing the spiritual side of your soul. It is used to overcome anxiety, stress, and addictions. It is revered as being highly spiritual.

Lapis Lazuli is worn for self- awareness and the development of consciousness

Jasper is known to bring strength, power, and courage. It is also used for protection.

Citrine is revered for bringing wealth, success, and wisdom to the wearer.

Tiger Eye is known as a grounding stone. It is used to bring the wearer into balance and adds empowerment.

Most gemstone points used for metaphysical purposes are set in Silver. Silver is said to bring self-awareness and reflection. It is believed that Silver will draw out the energies and properties of the stone that it embraces.

What size gemstone beads will fit 18 Gauge wire?

Gemstone Beads and Wire Gauges

When purchasing gemstone beads for wire work, it is important to note the hole size of the bead. Various needles and wires will only fit with certain beads. Here is a quick list of bead sizes and the maximum gauge wire to use.

4 mm bead- 24 Gauge Wire

6 mm bead- 22 Gauge Wire

8 mm bead- 21 Gauge Wire

10 mm bead- 16 Gauge Wire

12 mm bead- 14 Gauge Wire

14 mm bead- 18 Gauge Wire

What are soft gemstone beads and how should I take care of them?

Taking Care of Soft Gemstone Beads

Some gemstone beads are softer than others. The Moh's Scale of hardness will let you know the strength of each gemstone. This is important when purchasing gemstones for making handmade gem stone jewelry. It is important to treat soft gemstone beads with a delicate hand and to clean and store them carefully. You should never wear soft gemstones while swimming in salt water or a chlorinated pool. Only clean soft gemstone beads with commercially prepared cleaners that are designed for soft gem stone jewelry. Here are some of the most common soft gemstone beads.










Lapis Lazuli



What do Chinese Turquoise gemstones look like?

Chinese Turquoise Pebble Beads

Another unique selection for Gem stone jewelry are Chinese turquoise beads, donuts, rondelles or teardrop pendants. Look for gem stone beads that are glossy and well rounded with a nice level of matrix. Pebble sizes vary from 9x9mm to 15x12mm. Chinese Turquoise tube gemstones have subtle color variations: blues, greens, tans, browns, and bits of black. They make beautiful jewelry with wonderful shades of blue and can be beautifully dramatic.

How can I hide the imperfections on Donut Beads?

Wire Wrapping Imperfect Donut Beads

A great idea for using imperfect Donut Beads that are available for sale on a discount is to use wire wrapping over the imperfections. This allows you to make stunning jewelry while hiding the imperfections. The Donut Beads will still be the central part of your design and your customer's will never notice the tiny imperfections camouflaged by the wire wrapping.

How can I tell a gemstone beads hardness?

Gemstone Beads: Moh's Scale of Hardness

Gemstone Beads range from soft to hard. The way to determine a gemstone's hardness when purchasing a wholesale gem stone is to use the Moh's Scale. The Moh's Scale rates gemstones with a ranking from 1-10 (one being the softest and ten being the hardest). Diamonds are ranked 10 on the Moh's Scale while Talc is ranked 1. Here are some rankings for some of the most popular gemstones.



Green Jade- 6.5-7

Black Onyx- 6.5-7

Emerald- 7.5-8

Ruby- 9






It's important to know the hardness of a gemstone, because gemstones that have a higher hardness can scratch a softer gemstone, and are more durable. Softer gemstones can become easily damaged, scratched, and destroyed

What shapes and types of beads are available for jewelry making?

Gemstone Beads

Thinking of jumping into Gemstone bead jewelry making? You can use variety of shapes and including freeform nuggets, Mother of Pearl pendants or teardrop-shaped beads. Gem stone beads come in an almost unlimited variety of shapes and sizes. Beads can come shaped like hearts, stars, leaves and animals. Special donut beads can be shaped like triangles. When you put these specialty beads with some more simple stock glass beads, you can make a creative and dramatic piece of jewelry. The sky is the limit in jewelry making so take advantage of all of the options available to you.

What roles do texture, shape and color play when designing jewelry?

Strength vs. Beauty of Gemstones

When designing gem stone jewelry, remember that some textures, shapes and colors go better together than others. Heavy gemstones should not be used next to light, delicate gem stone beads. The necklace will not hang smoothly and the softer, more delicate gemstones could be damaged by those that are larger or heavier. Keep in mind that ordinary strands of a single color can be made interesting by using different shapes and sizes of the same kind of beads. You don't always need to mix and match to create drama and beauty. Do plenty of research into the type of stones you want to use before you create your bead jewelry. Aesthetics are an important part of creativity, but you want your piece to last, so make sure you use stones that will work well together in both style and strength.

How can I display my Donut beads?

Donut Beads and the Y Pattern

A great idea for using donut beads includes creating a necklace with the “Y” pattern. Purchased from a fashion gem jewelry stone wholesale supplier, the donut bead will look exquisite draped down from the beaded necklace. If you purchase a semi precious gem stone for your donut bead, it will truly be the central focal point of the necklace. Using a Donut bead holder is a great way to attach the bead to several other beads that hang down from the rest of the necklace, creating the “Y” shape.

Are there less expensive stones that will give me an effect similar to gemstones? How do I treat them?

Getting the Look of Gemstones without the Price

You can buy stones that look a lot like gem stones but are really only dyed to get a gemstone effect. Howlite is a white stone commonly dyed to look like more expensive gemstones. Lapis Howlite, for example, is dyed to look like Lapis Lazuli. Similarly, turquoise Howlite is dyed to look a bit like turquoise gem stones. Usually the dying technique on these stones creates a nice effect but sometimes the rinsing of the stones is incomplete. One way to ensure the beauty of Howlite stones is to soak them in the sink with some dish soap before using them in your bead jewelry.

What gemstones are used to make Egyptian fans?

Using Gemstones in Egyptian Fans

You can make Egyptian fans or mini-collars from a wide variety of semi-precious gemstones. Gemstone jewelry fans vary in size: the smallest (outer) pieces are about 10mm long and the largest pieces (center) are about 25mm for gemstones like jaspers, agates, quartz, aventurines and howlites. Gemstones like Mother of Pearl will be smaller and gem stone beads like hematite will be bigger. Collars take a lot of time and effort to design, but are certainly worth it for their dramatic effect. Mock up your design with pen or marker and use a bead board. You want to make sure that you get what you want if you are putting in the effort!

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Barbara Gibson