Turquoise beads come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors in the gemstone market. From tubular heishi beads to smooth rondelles, these semi-precious gemstones are the perfect pieces for any collection.
But let’s go back to the basics. What are turquoise beads and what can they be used for? How do you know if your turquoise beads are “real” and natural? Lastly, we will go over some styles and designs for beads that will best fit your creations.
Turquoise beads are drilled, decorative pieces that are known for their blue-green colors, ranging anywhere between 2mm to 16mm, etc. They are the perfect addition to your jewelry collection for so many different reasons. These bright gemstones add a pop of color to your everyday jewelry and have been used for thousands of years.
Historically, turquoise is also known for its calming and healing properties, as it symbolizes good fortune and courage. The tradition of beading turquoise began as early as 3,000 B.C. with indigenous populations that would mine turquoise for cultural rituals or self-adornment. Through the development of silversmithing, turquoise beads became a traditional staple for Native American art.
Today’s gemstone market has a variety of different beads, but let’s distinguish between real, genuine turquoise beads and the dupes.
When you are shopping for turquoise beads online or at a trade show, the beads you see might all look the same but the truth is, they can vary tremendously in quality. But what sets apart your standard strand of turquoise from quality, genuine turquoise bead strands?
First, here are three important questions you should be asking the seller:
1) Are the beads all-natural?
2) Have these beads been dyed or are they synthetic?
3) Have the beads been stabilized?
There are tons of turquoise beads on the market today that claim to be “all-natural” or genuine. But the truth is, there are many loopholes in marketing. Many of the turquoise beads that are being sold are actually made out of howlite or magnesite, two very common imitation gemstones for turquoise. They can be dyed or synthesized to have the same blue-green hue that turquoise has, but are very different in terms of quality.
Howlite and magnesite are often utilized for mass production of beads as they have similar webbings to turquoise. However, they are much more brittle than turquoise, making them a lot cheaper to mine and ultimately, sell. Furthermore, howlite and magnesite in its most natural form, are light grey or white in color, and the colors that you see are synthetic and dyed.
Howlite and magnesite definitely have unique properties and uses of their own, but when looking for genuine turquoise, be wary of the common dupes that are offered in the market. This does not mean those beads aren’t beautiful, but it is important for you and your customers to understand what you are really getting.
Stabilized turquoise is the process of hardening turquoise through pressure and select compounds, and it is actually a significant and beneficial process for jewelry-making! So don’t worry when you see that turquoise has been stabilized, as almost all turquoise beads and stones have been stabilized for jewelry pieces.
Many people get stabilization confused with the process of transforming other gemstones into turquoise or adding colors to the stones. But, stabilization really focuses on pressurizing the pores of natural turquoise stones, protecting them from liquids or external damage, and making them durable enough to produce jewelry!
Stabilization is a common way in the market for beads or calibrated turquoise to stay in shape and last long. We carry mostly natural beads and calibrated turquoise at Moose, however, we do not deny the quality of stabilized material made into beads and calibrated cabochons.
Now that you know all the ins-and-outs of genuine turquoise, let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of beads that Turquoise Moose has to offer, sourced from 1990 old miners and new ones coming from Hubei!
Heishi beads (pronounced ‘hee-shee’) are tubular, disc-shaped beads that are typically made from different varieties of shells and stones. Turquoise Moose offers a variety of Heishi beads with colors of turquoise ranging from Sky Blue to Sea Green. These dainty beads are the perfect addition to your jewelry creations as they add a beautiful splash of color without adding too much weight.
Here are some pieces using our heishi beads!
Rondelle beads are smooth, cylindrical beads that can be made from a variety of different gemstones of varying sizes. At Turquoise Moose, we offer a stunning collection of turquoise rondelles that can be used for anything from necklaces, bracelets, or earrings!
Aside from a larger selection of beads, Turquoise Moose also offers a variety of turquoise nugget beads that are perfect for creators that want to work with smaller quantities of beads! We have small, medium, and large nuggets coming in various colors and unique designs. Nugget beads are a great addition to pendant/necklace and earring design!
Lastly, one of our most unique turquoise beads includes our Turquoise Freeform Yungai beads! These look exactly how they sound, coming in all different shapes and sizes!
Originating from Hubei, China, these blue beads have a dark black matrix intertwined throughout and they are perfect for chunky and fun bracelets or necklaces! These beads are kept in their original rough shape, and are dyed and stabilized, so they are a bit more affordable than the natural beads.
Turquoise Moose offers a variety of quality turquoise beads options that are 100% natural and genuine. We understand the difficulties of sourcing quality turquoise which is why Team Moose is committed to providing the highest standard of gemstones to creators. No matter the size of our turquoise, from large calibrated stones to small dainty beads, know that you are getting the genuine turquoise through Turquoise Moose!
Make sure you visit our website at https://turquoisemoose.com/collections/beads and check out our collection of top-quality beads, along with some Turquoise Moose exclusive offers (use our new BEADS3 and BEADS10 code)!