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Know Your Gemstones and Jewelry Terms
by: Lisa Jay
Beads:
Swarovski Crystal may be the finest crystal beads, due to their clarity, color and variety. Swarovski is an Austrian company that makes high-quality rhinestones, beautiful cut crystals, costume jewelry, and other glass-related items.

Czech Glass Beads have the same vibrancy and shine as the Swarovski crystal, yet are a more cost effective alternative.


Metals:
Bali Beads are handcrafted in Bali, Indonesia and are exceptional in quality and detail. Because these items are individually crafted from silver by many bead artisans, there may be slight variations in bead size, form, hole size, and oxidation. Because of its popularity, more countries are now producing this type of beads. Therefore, the term "Bali beads" is now generally referring to "Bali-style beads". Bali Silver usually has less than 92.5% silver content therefore cannot be identified as sterling. Handmade Bali beads are far more superior in quality, giving more value to your jewelry.

Hill Tribe Silver of Thailand (Thai Silver) are beads and pendants that have been made by the ethnic minorities that live in the mountain regions of northern Thailand.

Rhodium is a white precious metal. Rhodium is often used to plate precious and base metals, giving jewelry a hard, platinum-like sheen.

Sterling silver is becoming one of the most popular metals in the jewelry industry. Most people that have allergic reactions to some metals are able to wear sterling silver. Sterling silver is easy to clean and care for. It will tarnish with time, but a little rubbing with a polishing cloth, and it will look good as new.

14kt gold-filled  or 1/20 gold is created by heating and pressure-bonding a layer of 14kt gold to a brass core. The gold-filled wire is tarnish-resistant and has a much better value than gold-plated because it has an actual layer, not just a minuscule film. The layer of 14kt gold will not rub off like gold-plated metals either.


Gemstones:

Agate comes in many forms and colors. It is a variety of chalcedony that occurs in rocks like volcanic lava. Agate is distinguished from chalcedony by the distinct banding that runs through it. Wearers of agate are guaranteed health, wealth and a long life. I'd better get myself a strand!

Amethyst IS the most valuable form of quartz. It's color ranges from light to dark purple. Amethyst promotes inner peace & spiritual insight. Wow! Works awful hard and just think, all you have to do is wear it!

Aquamarine is excellent for meditation. Gives a sense of peace and serenity.

Aventurine is in the quartz family. It has tiny flecks of mica throughout it. It's color ranges from pale to medium green. Aventurine helps to dissolve unhealthy thoughts, feeling and related physical problems. It assists in keeping one balanced and harmonized.

Black Onyx is not onyx at all. It is chalcedony, which is another variety of quartz, that has been dyed black.

Hematite is a gemstones that are made up of iron oxide and has an opaque and iridescent surface. It's known to calm, soothe, and ease stress. Sounds like a cup of tea, to me!

Bloodstone is a powerful healer and physical cleanser. It purifies bloodstreams and strengthens kidneys, liver and spleen.

Blue Lace Agate clears voice and communications and gives insight into complex problems.

Carnelian grounds and gives focus into the present moment. It also stimulates curiosity and initiative.

Onyx is a semi translucent to opaque quartz that comes in a wide range of colors--reds, apricot, oranges, and browns. It is said to protect the wearer from any negativity.

Pearls are becoming more affordable due to the cultured pearls available from China. It helps the wearer to have self-acceptance and added femininity.

Rhodolite is from the garnet family. One of the reasons that Rhodolite made such a big splash is because of it's brilliant purple coloring, close to the color of grape juice. Rhodolite is a very durable gem stone with a 7.5 on the mohs hardness scale.

Rose Quartz is a type of quartz that ranges in color from pink to deep red.

Smoky Quartz is becoming very popular in jewelry. It's color is pale to a rich smoky brown. It is said to benefit those that are dealing with depression and fatigue.

Turquoise is a stone that comes in a wide range of colors, the finest being an intense blue, with the poorer color tending to be yellowish green. All turquoise will turn colors with aging. It is very important to take good care of your turquoise to minimize discoloration. Turquoise is considered by some to be a lucky stone.

The Mohs Scale is a measurement that tells a substance's hardness. The higher the mohs number (1-10) the more durable the gem stone. Diamonds are 10 on the Mohs scale, while Amethyst is a 7 and Ruby is a 9.


Other:
Mother of Pearl is a more affordable way to acquire the luster of pearl jewelry. It is the lining of the shell that houses the pearl.

Raku is a unique ceramic firing process. Each piece is sealed with a glaze that is high in copper. Each piece is fired in a ceramic kiln until the heat from the piece ignites paper, causing a reaction with the copper in the glaze. The result is a wide range of colors on the surface of the piece full of beautiful colors, luster, and patterns.

Greek Leather is known for its smooth finish and consistent color.


Misnamed Stones:
This is an issue that was discussed on the Jewelry Making forum. The following "stones" are not necessarily even stones.

The Fruit Quartz' - Cherry quartz, blue quartz, strawberry quartz, pineapple quartz are all synthetic beads that are made to look like quartz. They are still a beautiful bead and add beauty to many pieces of jewelry. As long as they are identified as being synthetic, there is not a problem with these "quartz'". There is such a thing as real cherry quartz, but is very rare and extremely expensive.

Amazonite is sometimes just dyed onyx that is being sold as amazonite.

Moonstone is sometimes no more than pressed glass.

Goldstone is a manmade product made out of copper crystals in glass. Goldstone is sometimes sold as a semi-precious gemstone.

Rhodocrosite/Rhodonite are sometimes confused for each other.

Rhodocrosite has white striations and rhodonite is black.

Chalcedony is actually agate. It comes in a variety of colors. Chrysophrase and carnelian are both types of chalcedony.

About the author:
Lisa Jay is a freelance writer and the jewelry designer behind Lantana Designwear. You can visit her websites at http://www.LantanaDesignwear.comand www.JewelryMakingHQ.com
Be sure to sign up for her newsletter at http://www.LantanaDesignwear.com/signup_newsletterto receive information on jewelry, fashion and womens issues.


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