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5 Kinds of Semi-Precious Stone Beads

Originally carved out of what the makers believed were merely brightly colored, unusual stones, ancient beads were made of all types of stones considered precious and semi-precious today.

Although beads were, and still are, fashioned out of popular and widely-known precious and semi-precious stones, many lesser-known opaque or translucent semi-precious stones are still made into beads today. They are widely available in a wide array of shapes and sizes for use as accent, featured beads or to form the structure of a design.

A simple string of well-matched beads or one in gradient sizes, of any one of these semi-precious, opaque to translucent stones, affixed to a neckline of an otherwise plain blouse, can transform it into a glamorous, one-of-a-kind item.

Agate: Available in a wide variety of colors, some with striations and some with clouds of contrasting color, agates are a versatile stone used to create beads. It is easily carved and available in many shapes.

Amber: Ancient, fossilized pine resin, amber beads are not completely opaque, yet not completely translucent. They exude a warm glow and are said to always be warm to the touch. Amber is well-known for sometimes containing the fossilized remains of entire insects, including dragonflies.

Aventurine: A milky-like, opaque gemstone, aventurine comes in dark green, reddish-brown and golden brown. It has small inclusions of certain shiny minerals, causing it to glisten, an effect known as "aventurescence." The type of mineral determines the color of this phenomenon. Yellow or silver come from mica, red or gray come from goethite or hematite, and a green sheen is the result of fuschite.

Carnelian: Somewhat translucent, carnelian beads have been manufactured for thousands of years. They have been found in the tomb of a Sumerian queen who live over 5,000 years ago. They are usually carved into oval-shaped beads in colors ranging from red to orange to reddish-orange to reddish-brown to shades of yellowish-white. The raw stones are often heated to produce more brilliant colors. Carnelians are believed to promote happiness and confidence in whoever wears them.

Chalcedony: In the beading industry, chalcedony refers to a solid, usually translucent to opaque gemstone with a wax-like luster. The most popular color is bluish-gray, but other colors include white, yellow, orange, pink, purple or red. It was used in prehistoric times to make spear points, knives, tools and containers. Chalcedony is thought to banish depression from the user.



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