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Just Bead It! The Beauty of Gemstone Beads for Simple and Stylish Jewelry

For religious groups from Tibetan Buddhists to Roman Catholics and diverse cultural groups, from the Masai warriors of Kenya to the First Ladies of Washington, gemstone beads have been essential accessories for centuries. Beaded gemstone jewelry continues to be popular nowadays, with the trend for handmade jewelry that is facilitated by blogs and online resources.

Colored Gemstone Beads from GemSelect
Colored Gemstone Beads from GemSelect

For jewelry and gemstone lovers who do not have easy access to jewelry design tools or for those who would like to try their hand at designing their own uncomplicated jewelry, beads are an excellent option. Making jewelry from gemstone beads can also turn into a relaxing hobby.

Turquoise Gemstone Beads
Turquoise Beads

There are a wide range of colored gemstone beads to choose from, from precious to semi-precious gems, making it possible to find the exact color, size and shape that you prefer. A variety of drilled gemstone beads are available faceted or non-faceted at a range of prices, including gemstones such as sapphires, citrine, rose quartz, amethyst, onyx, tourmaline and pearls.

There are round beads, briolettes, hexagons, rhondelles and carved gems, in colors from white to pale pastels and from bright jewel colors to glossy black. Beads can be crystal clear, translucent or opaque. The drilled hole sizes also vary and depending on the material used, a smaller or larger hole is required. Before ordering beads, be sure to measure the width of the string or metal that the bead will be threaded onto and then order beads with the correctly sized hole.

Faceted Smoky Quartz Beads
Faceted Smoky Quartz Beads

Beads are not only for making beaded necklaces, but can be used to make earrings, bracelets, anklets, ear cuffs, brooches, hair accessories and other jewelry too. Beads can also be incorporated into wire-wrapped jewelry that can be easily made by amateur jewelry designers. Single gemstones threaded onto hoops can be used as earrings or necklace pendants for simple but unique jewelry.

The beauty of beads is that they are simple to use and allow you to choose the color of gemstone and type of jewelry that can be custom-made conveniently, without paying a jewelry designer or learning a new skill. Moreover, if you get tired of one piece of jewelry, you can simply take it apart and change it for a new look. If you have one silver or gold chain, or one pair of hooped earrings that you love, you can wear them with different gem beads for an effortless alternative style.

Tiger's Eye Beads
Tiger's Eye Beads

Gemstone beads can be mixed with precious metal beads or other materials, and lots of different shades can be mixed to create contrasting colors. Widely contrasting colors, clarity and textures add interest to beaded jewelry. Transparent beads can be paired with opaque beads and smooth spheres can be mixed with faceted beads for a contrasting effect. Irregularly shaped tumbled gemstones also make beautiful beaded jewelry. Bead shapes and sizes can be mixed for a contemporary look.

Silver-White Pearl Beads
Silver-White Pearl Beads

For string jewelry designs, a variety of materials can be used, such as cotton string, leather, fishing line, silver or gold. Therefore, jewellery designs can be tribal or high-end, depending on the material available or the look preferred. If you are a pearl fan, you can buy calibrated pearl beads in lots and make your own stylish string of pearls at an affordable price. A more contemporary look is to use pearl beads of varying sizes or even misshapen "baroque" pearl beads. One of the great things about making your own string of pearls is that you can choose your own ideal length, from short choker-style to long "opera"-style necklaces.

Beads can be used sparingly or can be densely packed together to create a delicate or chunky style. For a dramatic look, a bib-style necklace can be fashioned from densely-packed beads. Also, single-strand bracelets can be stacked to add density for those who prefer wider styles.

Onyx Beads
Onyx Beads

With beads, matching necklace, bracelet and earring suites can be easily made at a fraction of the price of buying the same from a jeweler. For brides-to-be, custom-made wedding jewelry can be easily designed and handmade to suit your chosen color scheme.

Other than jewelry, gemstone beads can be used to create ornaments and accessories such as sun catchers, key chains, bookmarks, zipper pulls, eyeglass chains and phone jewelry. These are great gift ideas for both men and women, and are suitable for both the young and the more mature.

So why not discover the relaxing hobby of beading and get some beautiful, unique custom-made jewelry or gifts too!

  • First Published: March-27-2014
  • Last Updated: December-08-2017
  • © 2005-2018 GemSelect.com all rights reserved.
    Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.
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Size and Weight

Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

Dimensions are given as;
length x width x depth,
except for round stones which are;
diameter x depth

Select gems by size, not by weight!
Gem varieties vary in density, so carat weight is not a good indication of size

Note: 1ct = 0.2g

Size Comparison Chart