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Semi Precious Gemstone Beads
Ever want to know a bit more about the gemstone beads you own? This is page will give you a little bit more information about various gemstones that we keep in stock. This particular page covers the semi precious gemstone beads, please check out precious gemstone page if you don't see the stone you're looking for.
For more information regarding gemstone information and properties, we recommend the following books: Smithsonian Rock & Gem (part of the DK series), Firefly's Guide to Gems by Cally Oldershaw, The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall and The Book of Stones by Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian.
Icy blue aquamarine beads.
Aquamarine is the blue variety of the beryl family and has a hardness of 7.5-8. Translated, the name aquamarine means "sea water" and the range in hues reflects that. Although we mostly associate aquamarine crystals with being an icy blue color, it can occur from very pale blue to mossy blue-green. Because of it's association with the ocean, pieces of aquamarine were historically carved into the likeness of Poseidon and believed to protect sailors at sea. Aquamarine is the birthstone for March and found in Brazil, South Dakota, Colorado, Pakistan and the Ural Mountains of Russia. It is believed that aquamarine is the stone of release and helps the wearer balance excessive fear.
The picture to the left shows examples of our aquamarine bead collection.
Amethyst beads in various shapes and cuts.
Amethyst is a purple-violet variety of the quartz family and has a Mohs hardness of 7. Traditionally believed to prevent drunkenness, the ancient Greek name amethustos translates literally to "not drunk", which explains why some goblets were historically made of amethyst. Found all over the world, from India to Brazil to Australia and the United States, amethyst has long been a prized stone by royalty worldwide. Amethyst is described as a stone especially beneficial to calming the mind, believed to enhance spiritual awareness and is the birthstone for February.
The picture to the left shows examples of our amethyst bead collection.
Fine, faceted apatite beads.
Apatite is a member of the phosphate group and has a Mohs hardness of 5 making it a stone that should be handled with care. This stone occurs in a variety of colors and can have the appearance of other semi precious gemstones which explains why the name apatite comes from the Greek apate, meaning deceit. Finer quality apatite is found in the United States, Mexico, Russia and Canada. Apatite is believed to help aid in communication and increase motivation.
The picture to the left shows examples of our apatite bead collection.
Chalcedony is part of the silicate group and is made up of microscopic quartz grains. There are many varieties of chalcedony worldwide and most are quite common. The most recognizable varieties of chalcedony include carnelian (red-orange), chrysoprase (green), onyx (black with banding) and bloodstone (green with red inclusion). Chalcedony can form in numberous places and, over time, can replace orangic materials leaving fossils behind (think petrified wood)..
The picture to the left shows examples of our naturally blue chalcedony bead collection.
Gem quality citrines that have been cut into different styles of beads.
Citrine is a variety of the quartz family and has a Mohs hardness of 7. Citrine's beautiful golden-yellow to brownish color range can make it easy to confuse with November's birthstone of topaz, but also makes an excellent, inexpensive substitute. Citrine is found all over the world including Russia, India, Brazil, SpainNorth Carolina. Citrine, believed to be carrying the power of the sun, is viewed as a powerful cleanser and regenerator and also a stone of high creativity.
The picture to the left examples of our citrine bead collection.
Strands of iolite beads in the ideal "watery" blue hue.
Iolite is the blue-violet magnesium aluminum silicate mineral and has a Mohs hardness of 7-7.5 . Often referred to as "water sapphires", iolite can resemble the watery blue hues of sapphires, but the two are not related. Fine iolites can be found in Sri Lanka, India, and Madagascar. Iolite is said to help dissolve the fears of the unknown and aid in envisioning solutions to emotional problems.
The picture to the left shows examples of our iolite bead collection.
Labradorite is best known for exhibiting beautiful flashes of blues, purples, greens and yellows.
Labradorite, named for the Labrador peninsula in Canada where it was first discovered, is a type of fledspar and has a hardness of 6-6.5. The flashy color play shown in labradorite is referred to as "labradorescence" and while the primary color flash is blue, stones can exhibit purple, orange, green and yellow. Fine labradorite is found in India, Finland, Russia, Madagascar, Mexico and the United States. Labradorite is believed to energize the imagination, assisting in bringing up new ideas.
The picture to the left shows examples of our labradorite bead collection.
Moonstone beads in peach, gray, white and rainbow.
Moonstone, named for it's blue and white moon-like luster, is a feldspar mineral and has a hardness of 6-6.5. Moonstone commonly occurs in glowing peach, gray and white tones, but also occurs in what is called "rainbow moonstone" (transparent to white stones with flashy rainbow schiller). Moonstones have been used throughout history; Romans used this stone for adornment almost 2000 years ago and in India it's always been considered a sacred stone (it was believed that someone who placed a moonstone in their mouth during the full moon would be able to see their future). Moonstone is found in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Burma, Australia, India and the United States. Moonstone is believed to evoke patience and can aid in releasing frustration.
The picture to the left shows examples of our moonstone bead collection.
A couple strands of flashy Australian opal beads on a pile of aqua blue Peruvian opal beads.
Opals, a birthstone for October, are made of hardened silica and often contain water (up to 10% ) in submicroscopic pores, making them very soft with a hardness of only 5-6. When we think of opals, we often picture bright flashes of color on a white base, but the reality is that the majority of opals contain no flash and are opaque. The most popular versions of common opaque opal include pink and blue Peruvian opal, yellow Ethiopian opal, beautiful Oregon opal, while the most impressive specimens of flashy opal include Mexican fire opal and Australian black and boulder opal. Opals don't always occur as just mineral deposits, opal can be found as a replacement mineral in pieces of fossilized wood, shell or bone. It is believed that different kinds of opals assist with different kinds of problems . . . for example fire opal is used to assist the wearer in overcoming shyness while white precious opal is said to assist the wearer in becoming more loving and positive.
The picture to the left shows examples of our opal bead collection.
Peridot beads in various shapes and sizes.
Peridot, the gemstone variety of the mineral olivine, is a magnesium iron silicate mineral with a Mohs hardness of7. Peridot is the birthstone for August and has been mined and used in jewelry for thousands of years. In fact, peridot beads were made by Egyptians as early as 1580 BC! In ancient times peridot was considered a symbol of the sun and protected the wearer from evil spirits. In present times peridot is believed to remove blockages from receiving and help the wearer have the courage to act out the heart's desires.
The picture to the left shows examples of our peridot bead collection.
Rhodocrosite beads in gemmy pinks and white banding.
Rhodocrosite is a manganese carbonate and has a hardness of 3.5-4. Though it can occur in a couple different colors, the most common color of Rhodocrosite is a rosy pink with or without white banding. Due to the fragility of the stone, faceted pieces are rare and the stone is more often cut smooth or used as decoration. Some of the best Rhodocrosite comes out of Argentina and the United States, mainly in Colorado. It is also found in South Africa, Romania, Mexico, Russia, Japan and Butte, Montana. Rhodocrosite is described as an being an excellent stone in aiding with anxiety and stress.
The picture to the left shows examples of our rhodocrosite bead collection.
Spinels in their common colors of pinks, reds and smokey blues.
Spinel belongs to the Oxides group and is both a mineral name and the name of a group of minerals that all have the same crystal structure. Like many stones, spinel can occur in a variety of colors including a smokey gray-blue, vibrant pink and ruby red. In fact, red spinel is such a convincing ruby color that it wasn't until the last hundred years that rubies and spinels were determined to be different minerals. Famous rubies such as the Black Prince's Ruby in the crown jewels are actually large, red spinels. Fine spinel is found in numerous places such as Sri Lanka, Sweden, Italy, Madagascar, Pakistan, Brazil and the United States. It is believed that spinel is a stone of revitalization and can help the wearer release their past in order to move easily towards the future.
The picture to the left shows examples of our spinel bead collection.
The beautiful schiller found in sunstone comes from tiny hematite platelets.
Sunstone, named for it's warm orange color and sun like sparkle, is a feldspar mineral and has a hardness of 6-6.5. This stone is known for it's flashy displays of gold and orange glitter that are caused by light reflecting off the tiny hematite or goethite platlets found inside the otherwise transparent stone. Some of the highest quailty sunstone is found in Oregon, but deposits are also found in India, Canada, Norway, Russia. is believed to have the ability to warm the body and expose dishonesty in others. Please note that sunstone is a natural gemstone and is not to be confused with Goldstone which is a glass synthetic made to resemble sunstone.
The picture to the left shows examples of our sunstone bead collection.
A variety of tanzanite beads in faceted drops and rondelles.
Tanzanite is the dark blue variety of the zoisite family and has a hardness of 6.5-7. As the name indicates, Tanzanite was first discovered in 1967 in Tanzania, Africa and was originally introduced to the world by Tiffany and Co. Tanzanite is believed to help calm an overactive mind and helps the wearer feel more compassionate.
The picture to the left shows examples of our tanzanite bead collection.
Tiny, microfaceted blue topaz beads.
Topaz, a birthstone for November, is an aluminum silicate fluoride hydroxide crystal and has a hardness of 8. Though there is debate where the name topaz originates from, one argument is that it's derived from the Sanskrit word tapaz, which means "fire". Topaz has been used in jewelry since the time of ancient Egypt and, like many other gemstones, naturally occurs in numerous colors. Some colors are much more rare than others. The majority of blue topaz, for example, is actually heat treated or irradiated colorless topaz, while pink is a product of treated yellow topaz. The benefits of topaz are color specific, the natural blue color is believed relieve fears of public speaking , while white topaz is believed to help the wearer lose fear of telling the truth.
The picture to the left shows examples of our topaz bead collection.
Tourmaline naturally occurs in just about every color.
Tourmaline, a birthstone for October, is a complex aluminum borosilicate and has a hardness of 7-7.5. Tourmaline crystals occur in numerous different colors including black, pink, green, blue, orange, yellow and colorless. Tourmaline can also form in crystals that exhibit multiple colors in a single specimen. The most common color combination is called "watermelon tourmaline" and features a green rim around a pink core. Tourmaline is found in Brazil, Tanzania, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and here at home in the Pala district in San Diego. It is believed that each variety of tourmaline offers different healing proporties. For example, black tourmaline can be useful to those who have high levels of stress, worry or obsessive behavior, while green tourmaline can help the wearer be more expressive.
The picture to the left shows examples of our tourmaline bead collection.
Prices mentioned in Lost Cities' emails, blogs, handouts, websites, etc. are effective the date of publication. They are subject to market conditions and availability and may be modified as necessary at Lost Cities' discretion. Lost Cities Beads 2802 Juan St. #14 San Diego, CA 92110 (619) 692-1114 Monday-Saturday 10am - 6pm Sunday 10am - 5pm Closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day Questions, comments? Contact us either by phone during business hours, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright Lost Cities 2009