Glossary of Beading Terms

Gemstones

Beryl

Beryl

Beryl (beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate) is the name of a family of stones that includes Emerald, Bixbite, Aquamarine, Morganite, Goshenite, Golden Beryl, Heliodor, and Honey Yellow Beryl. It is found in a variety of colors and is quite durable (except emerald). Pure Beryl is colorless, but it is often tinted by impurities, giving you the gemstones listed above. Beryl is found in many parts of Europe, the United States, and other parts of the world.

Cinnabar

Cinnabar

A soft stone composed of mercury sulfide, cinnabar is bright or brick red in color and is often carved in intricate fashion. Today, much jewelry called cinnabar is actually a heavy molded polymer made to resemble cinnabar beads, or red lacquered wood. photo credit

Coral

Coral

Precious coral beads are made from harvesting deap-sea coral beds that are formed from the exoskeletons of the coral sea creature, and forming that coral into beads. Other coral beads are harvested from other sources of coral and died red. Corals of all kinds grow very slowly, and harvesting has depleted the world-wide supply. Regulations are beginning to protect them, much like ivory, but many places where coral is harvested are still unregulated.

Druzy

Druzy

Druzy (also called druse, drusy) is a layer of tiny quartz crystals that sometimes form on gemstones, giving them a striking sparkly appearance. Gemstones with this effect are often made into pendants and are sometimes coated with thin layers of metal to enhance the effect.

Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater Pearls

These form in freshwater mussels the way regular pearls form in saltwater oysters. They come in a variety of irregular or oblong shapes, and are rarely the perfect round shape of saltwater pearls. photo credit

Mohs Scale

Also known as the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, it was invented in 1812 by German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs. It is a way to rate the hardness of a gemstone or mineral as compared to other stones and minerals. The Mohs scale ranges from one to ten, one being the softest, ten being the hardest. Diamond, the hardest natural substance rates as a ten, while talc rates as a one. It should be noted that the Mohs scale does not deal with the absolute hardness of a substance, just its hardness as related to the ten readily available minerals Friedrich Mohs initially analyzed.

Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl

Also known as nacre, mother of pearl is an inner shell layer produced by some mollusks. It is also what makes up the outer coating of pearls. It is iridescent, and typically a milky white with shimmery pastel yellows, blues, and greens. photo credit