Precious and Semi-Precious Stones

Exquisitely made handmade gemstone jewellery can express moods and emotions and reflect different periods of time. To be regarded as a jewel a gemstone must be rare and beautiful and durable enough to withstand handling and use. Not only diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds can be classified as gemstones, aquamarine, peridot, amethyst and pearls can also be called gemstones. Rocks such as lapis lazuli and organic substances such as amber are also considered to be semi-precious stones and are used in making unusual and exquisite handmade beaded jewelry. Precious and semi-precious gems are also used in luxury art forms apart from jewelry.

In its natural state a mineral gemstone is referred to as a rough stone. Some gemstones are made from minerals found in rocks or gravels and other gemstones such as amber, pearl and coral are organic in nature. Organic gems are usually polished, carved, or drilled as beads. Crystals are beautiful in their natural state and they too are polished and faceted to show off their beauty. A simple cut for a stone is cabochon which has a polished domed-shaped top and a flat or rounded base. Cabochon stones are often centrepieces in antique jewelry. Today most gemstones are cut to create a number of flat surfaces called facets. Faceting helps to reflect light by throwing flashes of colour in a play of brilliant light which enhances the sparkle of the stone. There are more than three thousands natural minerals, but less than a hundred are commonly used as gemstones. Some gemstones are manufactured as imitations of other gemstones. For example, cubic zirconia is an imitation of diamond. It copies the look of the diamond but does not possess its makeup. There is a fine and often overlapping line that divides precious and semi-precious gemstones. An example of a blurred line would be amethyst which was once considered a precious stone but today although still a beautiful jewel, amethyst is considered semi-precious because its rarity has been decreased due to the large amounts of deposits of amethyst discovered in Brazil and Uraguay in the 19th century. Today, due to their exquisite sought after appeal and rarity diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, opals and pearls are still classified as precious although these precious gems have different grades. For example, machine cut diamonds with little visual appeal can be purchased at low end prices but are still sought after because they are diamonds and semi-precious stones and crystals with grade A value are made into high end jewellery with high end prices. Gem prices can fluctuate or as in the case of diamonds, be quite stable. Generally, larger gemstones have a higher carat price than smaller stones but the demand for certain sizes can also affect prices. The appeal of gemstones, their beautiful colours and textures, their rarity and durability, have made them precious collectable objects throughout history. They have been seen as symbols of wealth and beauty and are offered as prestigious gifts but today gemstones are not just for the wealthy, they can be appreciated by anyone. There is a wide range of natural gemstones from all over the world. Even if a stone is not of the highest quality it can still be beautiful and well worth collecting. A collector can always find a stone or a handmade beaded necklace, bracelette or earring that fits the budget which will bring continued fascination and enjoyment.

Unique Original Handmade Jewelry

Blithe Designs unique jewelry creations are made of the best quality components, comprising gemstones, vintage beads, crystal, vintage glass and art glass beads, silver chain and clasps. Original jewelry designs make exceptional presents for the family, friends and particularly your self. Blithe Designs original jewelry creations are hand-crafted, artisan jewelry of...

Choosing a Bracelet Size

Measure your wrist at the wrist bone and add about half an inch to allow for movement.  I like to wear my bracelets loosely on my wrist but some people like their bracelets to fit snugly.  A bracelet should be comfortable and allow ease of movement.  If a beaded bracelet...

Caring For Beaded Jewelry

Handmade beaded jewellery should be worn in a carefree and lighthearted fashion but some care should be taken . A good tip that is easy to remember in caring for and storing your handmade jewellery would be to remove your jewellery before swimming or bathing as water will weaken the...

Precious and Semi-Precious Stones

Exquisitely made handmade gemstone jewellery can express moods and emotions and reflect different periods of time. To be regarded as a jewel a gemstone must be rare and beautiful and durable enough to withstand handling and use. Not only diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds can be classified as gemstones, aquamarine...

About Swarovski Crystals

Swarovski crystals are simply the best crystal beads, due to their clarity, color and variety. The best of the cutting and polishing processes set Swarovski crystals apart from imitations and those produced by other manufacturers. The distinctive excellence of the crystals comes from Daniel Swarovskis' esoteric recipe for the lead...

About Our Jewelry Designs

Beads are fascinating. They can help to create wonderful wearable collectable art. Beads come in a large variety of shapes and colors from many different parts of the world. Some examples of glass beads are Czech Republic faceted beads, American furnace beads and Venetian millefiore beads. And of course, Austrian...

Beading and Jewelry Making

I love working with beads. It’s meditative and relaxing and gives me creative satisfaction. Beading materials can be bought from specialist suppliers in stores and from shops on the internet. You can also shop by catalogue. For me, one of the best ways to buy beads is on the internet...

Classic Necklace Lengths

The length of a handmade beaded necklace is a personal choice and handmade necklaces are of varying lengths and styles. Here are some popular traditional necklace lengths but remember a necklace should be chosen to compliment the wearer's style. Bib Necklaces Bib necklaces are multi-strand necklaces that fit just below the...

Jewelry Trends

Are you wondering what jewellery and accessories will be chic in 2013? Then read on and discover more about the most recent developments in jewelry style and design . In order to make certain that your look does not become stale it is vital that you diversify your jewelry collection and...

Daily Gemstone Guide

Amber Sunday The dominating celestial body for Sunday is the Sun which is the brightest star in the sky. The gemstone Amber is our choice for this day. Like the Sun the colour of Amber generates a sense of strength and energy. Try wearing an Amber necklace or bracelet or even...

A Bit About Beads

Beads are fascinating. They can help to create wonderful wearable collectable art. Handmade beaded jewellery come in a large variety of fashionable designs featuring beads from many different parts of the world. Some examples of glass beads are Czech Republic faceted beads, American furnace beads and Venetian millefiore beads. And...

Gemstone Zodiac

Below is a selection of birthstones, planetary and talismanic stones for each Zodiac sign, which you might like to have in your jewelry collection.  It could be fun … go ahead and take a look.   Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb.18) Birthstones: Garnet, Amethyst, Moss Agate, Opal, Sugilite Planetary stone: Turquoise Talismanic Stone: Jasper Pisces (Feb. 19-Mar. 20) Birthstones:...