is the most common form of silica used in making glass. It is collected from the seashore or, preferably, from deposits that have fewer impurities.
    For most present-day glass-making, sand must have a low iron content.

    Before being used in a batch, it is thoroughly washed, heated to remove carbonaceous matter, and screened to obtain uniformly small grains.

    back to top


    is a precious gemstone (a type of corundum) that ranges in color from many shades of blue to pink to yellow to green to white to purple (mauve sapphire)
    to pink-orange (padparadscha, padparacha or padparadja sapphire).

    In fact corundum comes in many more colors, and any color other than red is referred to as "sapphire."

    When color is not specified, sapphire refers to the blue variety. Other colors are often valued less than the blue variety of the same quality and size.

    The most valuable color is cornflower blue, however a pink-orange sapphire is highly prized.

    Like rubies of similar structure, some sapphires display a six-pointed star (caused by inclusions of tiny, thin, parallel needles of rutile) when cut to a cabochon shape and exposed to direct sunlight.

    Sapphires are regularly heated to improve their color, and this is an accepted practice in the industry.
    Not accepted, however, is the fraudulent practice of chemically altering and heating a lesser sapphire stone to produce a thin blue cover.

    Sapphire has a hardness of 9 and a specific gravity of 3.9 - 4.1. Major sources are found chiefly in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, India, Vietnam, Australia, Brazil, Africa. and in the USA.

    Sapphires from Kashmir are of a beautiful cornflower blue and are highly valued.

    The Logan sapphire is one of the largest blue sapphire gems known. It weighs 423 carats (84.6 g).

    Alleged metaphysical properties

    Sometimes referred to as the "Loyalty Stone", sapphire is one expansive and mystical gem.

    Generally, sapphire is said to promote spiritual growth, trust, intuition, good fortune, selfless love, longevity, meditation and creative expression.

    Among crystal healers it is thought that this gemstone helps to lower fevers and inflammation, and improve hearing problems and burns.

    It also is said to be beneficial for mental clarity and depression.

    In ancient times, it was believed that the sky was just a gigantic sapphire into which the earth was embedded.

    back to top


    (on a metal))

    is a semi-glossy finish on metal; somewhere in between a matte finish and a brilliant one.

    Satin finish is achieved by making shallow, parallel lines on the surface of the metal, reducing its reflectivity.

    back to top


    is a shimmering translucent glass that appears to consist of fibers of differing tones of the same color.
    That's why the apparent hue of satin glass varies with one's viewing angle.

    Satin glass has a striated, layered or satin-like appearance.

    back to top


    is a type of beetle.
    The ancient Egyptians used stones carved in the shape of scarabs extensively in their jewellery and other decorations.
    In the 1920s, after the tomb of King Tut was discovered in Egypt, Egyptian style jewellery became fashionable in the West, including scarab bracelets and necklaces.

    back to top


    are laboratory-grown beads made of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene or teflon) used to generate seeds of protein crystals.

    back to top


    are very small, uniformly shaped, precisely cut glass beads, made of segments of drawn tubes of glass of various thickness; most commonly used for loom and off-loom bead weaving.
    Originally, seed beads were made thousands of years ago by drilling naturally occurring seeds and pods for stringing.

    Seed beads are generally spherical in shape and are available in different sizes, colors and finishes.

    Most of today's good quality seed beads are made in Japan or the Czech Republic.

    During the last decade Japanese cylindrical seed beads have become increasingly popular. These exist in two versions: Delicas® made by Miyuki and Antiques made by Toho.

    Unlike regular, rounded seed beads (Czech) Japanese seed beads are more uniform and have larger holes for the same size of bead.

    There are also good quality seed beads from France that are available in historic "old-time" colors and are popular for use in repairing or replicating antiquities.

    Sizing of the seed beads is based upon the number of the size of the rod used for making them. Size range from the tiny sand like particles size 24/0 to large size 5/0.

    As the number of the size increases, the size of the bead decreases.

    Size 11/0 ("eleven-aught") is the most popular and most commonly used seed bead size.

    The term "aught" refers to how many beads can fit into a standard unit. The origin of the name is unclear. Size numbers are also used.

    back to top


    are tiny, round pearls, that are less than 2 mm in diameter, and weigh under 1/4 grain.
    During Victorian era, the tiny pearls were strung on horsehair to form intricate designs, and were also used as accents on other jewellery.

    back to top


    are are inserted at intervals while stringing beads to keep multi-stranded pieces untangled and flat.

    back to top


    is a translucent, waxy mineral; a silicate of magnesium. It occurs in a variety of colors including light to dark green to whitish green, red, brown-red, brown-yellow and white.
    Serpentine gets its name from the resemblance of its color and markings to the skin of a snake, and it may refer to any of the 20 minerals belonging to the serpentine group.
    Owing to admixture, these minerals are not always easy to individualize, and distinctions are not usually made.

    There are three important aggregate structures of serpentine: antigorite, chrysotile and lizardite.

    The more attractive and durable (antigorite) varieties are termed "noble" or "precious" serpentine and are used extensively as gems and in ornamental carvings.

    Often dyed, they may imitate jade. Misleading synonyms for this material include "Korean jade," "Afghan jade, "Suzhou jade," "Styrian jade," and "New jade."

    However, serpentine is softer (hardness 2.5-4), and less dense than most real jade. Occurrence is worldwide: China, France, Norway, Italy, Canada, USA, Afghanistan and South Africa are notable localities.

    Alleged metaphysical properties

    Serpentine is an excellent stone for enhancing meditation, used since ancient times as a talisman, promoting relaxation and inner peace.

    It is believed to facilitate emotional cleansing and help activate the kundalini energy, or 'serpent fire' energies.

    Among crystal healers the energy of Serpentine is believed to emit a profound healing vibration and to facilitate the energetic activation of cellular regeneration.

    Serpentine has been used for treating a wide range of physical, emotional and mental disorders.

    It is considered beneficial when treating cardiac irregularities, hypoglycemia, stomach and bowel issues, kidney disorders and diabetes.

    Serpentine also helps eliminates toxins and parasitic infestations within the body. It activates the absorption of nutrients and oxygen. It also is believed to balance female hormones.

    Worn as an amulet, it is is considered especially protective against snakebite venom and poison in general.

    back to top


    is a method of securing a stone (or other ornament) in a piece of jewellery (or other object).
    There are many different types of settings, including:

    the collet (a strip of metal surrounding the stone),

    the claw setting (in which prongs of metal hold the stone in place),

    Tiffany (a high,six-pronged setting),

    the cut-down setting (metal is worked around the edge of the gem, reinforced with metal ridges),

    pavé-set stones (stones set close together, showing no metal between them),

    millegrain (the stone is secured by small beads [grains] of metal),

    gipsy setting (with a recessed stone),

    and many other types (including combinations of the above-mentioned methods).

    Some settings are closed (there is metal behind the stone), while others are open (there is no metal behind the stone), letting light shine through the stone.

    back to top


    is silicon dioxide, a mixture that is the main ingredient of glass. The most common form of silica used in glassmaking has always been sand.

    back to top


    Silver is a fine, soft , shiny white, lustrous transition metal.
    It can be found pure, but is usually mixed with small amounts of gold, arsenic, and antimony.

    It is also found in some 60 minerals including: argentite (a sulfide), cerargyrite (a chloride), and many other sulfides and tellurides.

    In fluids, silver can exist in four basic forms - as a compound, a neutral particle (as in ground silver), a negatively charged aggregate (particle), and a positively charged ion.

    A natural alloy of gold and silver is known as Electrum, and is usually classified as a variety of gold.

    As a metal silver has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of them all, as well as being the best reflector of visible light known.

    It is the second most malleable and ductile metal (hardness rated between 2.5 and 2.7), found in greater abundance than those metals with similar properties (i.e. gold and platinum).

    Silver is a very resistant mineral. It does not dissolve in most solutions, and won't react to oxygen or water.

    However, the less appealing property of silver is its reaction to sulfur and sulfides, which cause it to tarnish (a thin layer of silver-oxide forms on the surface).

    When silver is exposed to normal air it reacts to hydrogen sulfide (the atmosphere contains small quantities of it), causing the tarnish.

    Several chemical coats are available to protect it from tarnish, and certain polishes remove tarnish.

    Thanks to it's intrinsic beauty silver has been used for thousands of years for jewellery, ornaments and utensils, for trade, and as the basis for many monetary systems.
    Like gold, silver is available in different levels of purity: the purest form, fine silver, is 99.9% silver.

    For silver used in jewellery making, other metals are alloyed with silver.

    Sterling silver has a fineness of 925, that is, sterling is 925 parts per thousand (or 92.5%) silver and 75 parts per thousand (or 7.5%) copper (the copper increases the silver's hardness).

    In the industrial sector, silver is used for circuits and other electrical appliances.
    Silver is a mirror-creating element. Most quality mirrors are made by coating glass with silver. Common mirrors have aluminum coat.

    Silver Bromide and other silver-haldide salts are used extensively in photography and in the cinema industry.

    Silver iodide is used to make rain, by sprinkling it as a fine dust onto rainclouds, which leads to condensation.

    It is also used for medicinal purposes, particularly in dentistry, for bactericides, and for antiseptics.
    It has long been known that water carried in silver flagons stays fresh. In the 1950s, ionic silver began to be used as a bacteriocide for water purifying systems.

    Good domestic water-purifying systems nowadays contain, as well as an ion-exchange system, a silver tube which acts as a bacteriocide.

    Mexico is the largest silver producer.
    Some of the finest silver come from Norway, Quality specimens are also found throughout USA, Czech Republic, Canada, Australia and Peru.

    Based on evidence found on islands in the Aegean Sea, mankind has practiced the science of separating silver from lead at least as far back as 3000 BC.
    Silver has always held a value above material and economic considerations.

    Alleged metaphysical properties:

    Silver represents the concept of reflection, both physically and spiritually.

    Since ancient times, silver has been closely associated with the moon, the sea, and various lunar goddesses (Artemis and Diana).

    Most of the world's silver occurs dissolved in the oceans, reminding us of the interconnectedness of all that is.

    Astrologers associate the Moon with the faculty of imagination and fantasy.

    Even the astrological symbol for the moon was interchangeable with the symbol for the metal silver.

    Silver was once known as argentum; it is one of the seven alchemy symbols.

    Before the periodic table emerged, there were seven metals considered sacred (gold, silver, mercury, copper, lead, iron & tin).

    The alchemists referred to silver by the name luna, and one of the alchemical symbols for silver is a crescent moon with the open part on the left.

    Throughout human evolution, silver has been recognized and utilized by many cultures as a metal with unique, somewhat maternal and protective healing properties as befits its lunar essence.
    Silver compounds were commonly used and prescribed by doctors up until 1930's. Due to the invention of antibiotics the widespread use of silver went out of fashion around that time.
    Medically, silver was known to be a liver and spleen detoxifier.

    Silver Iodide was used in baby's eyes upon birth to prevent blinding as the result of bacterial contamination.

    Silver compounds were used successfully to prevent infection in World War I, and silver compounds are still widely used externally today to accelerate healing in burn victims.

    Colloidal silver is regarded as probably the most versatile and effective natural antibiotic and natural agent against bacteria, fungi and viruses available.

    Also, colloidal silver is being used in skincare creams for its antiseptic and tissue regenerating properties.

    back to top


    are beads with a mirror-like reflective lining.
    Any transparent bead, including those dyed, may be silver-lined to give them brilliance (they're like a rhinestone with a hole in the centre).

    Often the hole is square, to enhance the reflective effect.

    back to top


    is a volcanic glassy black stone with frequent inclusions of a white mineral, called phenocryst, the structure of which resembles snowflakes.
    This glassy, lustrous mineral has it's origins in lava flows, in the flaming core of the Earth. It is transported to the surface volcanically and finally formed when lava cools rapidly.

    Most obsidian is 70 percent silica. It has a hardness of 5 and a specific gravity of 2.35.

    Alleged metaphysical properties

    Snowflake Obsidian is a stone of protection, grounding and centering.

    It is believed to encourage understanding, and to bring purity, clarity and balance on all levels.

    Among crystal healers snowflake obsidian is considered a powerful stone of psychic protection.
    It is reputed to help calm fears, dispel anxieties and maintain balance during times of change.

    On a physical level snowflake obsidian is thought helpful in healing disorders of the stomach and intestines and as a general muscle healer.
    Some recommend it strongly for treatment of the veins and circulatory system.

    Snowflake obsidian reminds us that life is a constant change.

    It also symbolizes a journey of spiritual rebirth - through the dark night of the soul into the light and great beauty;
    just like the matter of this stone was transformed through the volcanic fire that shaped and brought about its present beauty.

    back to top


    is a rare, opaque (very seldom transparent) mineral, widely enjoyed as an ornamental stone.
    Although well known for its royal blue to violet blue color, sodalite is also found in hues of gray, yellow, green, or pink and is often mottled with veins and streaks of white, gray, pink, or green.
    The more uniformly blue stones are used as a lapidary material - in the manufacture of carvings, spheres, beads, cabochons, etc.
    Lesser quality is more often seen as inlay in various applications.

    The name sodalite is in reference to its high sodium content.

    Sodalite is one of the mineral components of lapis lazuli. It is usually distinguished by its blue color, which is typically a darker blue compared to the rich ultramarine hue of lapis lazuli, also lacking the pyrite which is commonly associated with lapis lazuli.
    Sodalite has a hardness of 5.5 to 6 and a specific gravity of 2.1 - 2.3.
    It is found in Canada, Brazil, Namibia, Canada, Bolivia, Portugal, Italy, Romania, Russia, India and USA.

    Best way to clean sodalite gems is is to clean it in warm, soapy water. Avoid rough handling and never clean this stone in an ultrasonic machine.

    Alleged metaphysical properties

    It has been said that this gemstone can help change the way one feels about oneself.

    Sodalite is thought to facilitate clarity of thought and to help bridge the gap between one's thoughts and feelings.

    It helps balance central nervous system, enhances intuition and creative expression. It enhances communication skills and aids in directing ones purpose.

    It also believed helpful when trying to eliminate old, needless or possibly damaging, behaviour patterns and habits.

    Among crystal healers sodalite is reputed to boosts immune system.
    cleansing organs, helps regulate digestive system, strengthens metabolism and lymphatic system and balances endocrine system.
    It is said to be useful in healing of diabetes, infections, insomnia, high blood pressure, headaches and sinus problems.

    It also is said to be effective in eliminating harmful rays from cellular phones and computers. Sodalite is often placed close to computers to help reduce the damage from EMF.

    back to top


    is a state of the art nylon-coated, hypoallergenic stainless steel wire. It is constructed of either 21 (.014) or 49 (.019) micro-spun, marine quality, wires woven together and then nylon coated.
    The patented micro technology makes it extremely flexible. It has been designed to withstand the abrasion of glass, mineral or metal beads.
    Soft Flex is ideal for stringing and simple weaving and can be knotted.

    back to top


    is any of various fusible metal alloys that is used to join other metals. Solders melt at a lower temperature than the metals to be joined.
    In silversmithing or jewellery making, special hard solders are used. They contain a high proportion of the metal being soldered. Lead is not used in these alloys.

    These solders also come in a variety of hardnesses, known as 'enameling', 'hard', 'medium' and 'easy'.

    Enameling solder has a high melting point, close to that of the material itself, to prevent the joint de-soldering during firing in the enameling process.

    The remaining solder types are used in decreasing order of hardness during the process of making an item, to prevent a previously soldered seam or joint de-soldering while soldering a new joint.

    Easy solder is also often used for repair work, for the same reason. Flux or rouge is also used to prevent joints de-soldering.

    Solder is commonly mixed with, or used with flux, a reducing agent designed to help remove impurities (specifically oxidized metals) from the points of contact to improve the electrical connection.

    For convenience, solder is often manufactured as a hollow tube and filled with flux.

    back to top


    is a flat disk shaped bead usually used as a decorative element in bead stringing.

    back to top


    of a material is a comparison of its weight with the weight of an equal volume of water. Specific gravity measures the density of a material.

    back to top


    Is a tightly-coiled ring used as an jewellery finding to join two or more pieces of chain or other findings; it can attach charms to a charm bracelet or a clasp to a necklace or bracelet.

    The wire is double coiled, like a mini key-ring, which makes it difficult for the piece to come apart.

    A special tool is needed to force the loops apart.

    back to top


    a.k.a. bolt ring is a hollow circular metal fastening ring with a spring opening. A tiny spring keeps the arm of this clasp closed.

    It is used to attach two other rings or links of a necklace or bracelet.

    The spring ring was invented early in the 1900's. Jewellery made prior to 1900 or so will not have a spring ring clasp.

    back to top


    is a beading stitch in which beads are sewn together in regular row and columns. Square stitch looks the same as loom work.

    back to top

  • SS

    is sometimes used as the abbreviation for Stone Size

    back to top

  • SS

    is the abbreviation for Sterling Silver

    back to top


    (on metal)

    is a type of metal finishing effect created by etching a surface with a laser.

    The laser treatment roughs up the surface and causes it to catch light in a different way than smooth polished metal.

    The appearance is a frosted look.

    back to top


    is a ruby that exhibits an asterism, a six-pointed star of light (when cut as a cabochon).
    The world's biggest star ruby is the Rajaratna, which weighs 2,475 carats.
    The world's biggest double-star ruby (with a 12-pointed star) is the Neelanjali, weighing 1,370 carats.

    Most star rubies today are synthetic.

    back to top


    is a sapphire that exhibits an asterism in the form of a colorless, six-rayed star that reflects light. Star sapphires are cabochon cut.
    Laboratory-produced star sapphires ("Linde stars") were developed in 1947 by the Linde company; most star sapphires today are synthetic.

    back to top


    is one in which a gem is set within an engraved star; the gem is secured by a small grain of metal soldered to the base of each ray of the star.

    This type of setting was popular in the 1890s.

    back to top


    is a rectangular to square cut with many facets parallel to the edges of the stone, generally used for colored stones.

    back to top


    is silver with a fineness of 925, meaning that 925 parts per thousand (or 92.5%) is pure silver and 75 parts per thousand (or 7.5%) is copper.
    The copper is added to increase the silver's hardness.

    Sterling is quite malleable.

    back to top


    a.k.a. paste
    is a highly reflective, brilliant glass made out of lead glass and used to imitate various gemstones.

    It consists essentially of a complex borosilicate of potassium and lead, with small quantities of alumina.
    When uncolored it was used to simulate diamonds, being transparent and very refractive, although much softer.

    The addition of metallic oxides and salts produces colored strass to imitate most known gemstones.

    Strass is named after its inventor, a German jeweller Georges-Frédéric Strass (1701-1773) who was born at Wolfsheim, near Strasbourg, where he learned to make jewellery and artificial gems.
    He later moved to Paris and there invented (around 1730 to 1734) new techniques for making imitation precious stones .

    Nowadays such artificial gems are made mainly in Czech Republic, Austria, and France.

    back to top


    is an extremely versatile and strong, single strand elastic jewellery cord with great memory and incredible elasticity.
    It stretches to double its length and returns in a matter of seconds. Strong and long-lasting.
    It allows beads to be threaded under tension for a close finish. Great for slip-on jewellery.

    back to top

  • STUD

    is an ornamented knob or boss, rod, pin, or nail with a decorative head.

    back to top


    are beads that look as though they were rolled in granulated sugar; the fine grains on the surface of the beads are in fact tiny grains of glass.
    Delicate glass sugar beads were made in Gablonz and Japan early in the 20th century.

    back to top


    a.k.a. Purple Turquoise
    is a medium to dark purple semi-precious gemstone (it can also range from pink to brown to black).

    It is usually opaque with a waxy luster but can be translucent, and often has brown, pink and white inclusions. These color variations are caused by quartz or various silicate materials present.

    The most valuable sugilite is a deep purple or reddish purple - colors it derives from manganese and it looks like a purple version of turquoise. Usually it is not enhanced and not faceted.

    Sugilite was named for Ken-ichi Sugi, the Japanese geologist who discovered it in 1944.

    It has a hardness of 5.5-6.5 and a specific gravity of 2.75 - 2.80.

    The largest deposits of sugilite are in South Africa but it is found in Japan and Canada. Massive stones are often found although quality sugilite is a relatively rare item on the market.

    It is risky to clean sugilite by ultrasonic machine or steaming. Lukewarm soapy water is the best cleanser for this gemstone.

    Alleged metaphysical properties

    This gemstone has been called the "Heart Stone" and the "Love Stone Of The New Age".

    Considered a great balancer of mind, body and spirit, sugilite is said to help generate a feeling of well being and love.

    It is believed to protect against, absorb and dissipate anger, and help transmute negative energies in general.

    On a physical level sugilite is reputed to attracts healing powers and highly regarded for its healing properties.

    It has been recommended as helpful for a wide variety of diseases from immune deficiency to addictions.

    Sugilite is said to provide great help during meditation; it enhances insight and inner vision.

    Among crystal healers and some yoga practitioners it is believed that sugilite stimulates the third eye and the crown chakra and aids in opening all the chakras, allowing for the movement of kundalini energy.

    Placed on the third eye it will ease despair or discouragement.

    back to top


    See: Aventurine Feldspar

    back to top


    is a non-allergenic material often used in dentistry. It is darker and greyer than sterling silver.

    back to top


    is an Austrian company that makes high-quality rhinestones, beautiful cut crystals, costume jewellery, and other glass-related items.
    The company was founded by Daniel Swarovski (1862-1956), the son of a glass faceter.
    In 1892, he developed a new mechanized technique for faceting glass crystals, creating a sparkling, diamond-like "chaton."

    He then started a company in Wattens, Austria in 1895.

    In the 1970's, the company expanded to the USA.

    In 1955, Swarovski and Christian Dior developed the iridescent aurora borealis stone.

    The company began a line of rhinestone costume jewellery in 1977.

    Since 1988, the Swarovski logo has been a swan (before 1988, the logo was an edelweiss flower).

    back to top


    are man made stones grown in laboratories; these stones have approx. the same composition and or crystal structure of the natural crystal that they represent.
    It is very difficult to distinguish a synthetic stone from a natural stone. Synthetic stones generally lack imperfections.

    back to top