Gem Stone Beads

Written by Sarah Provost
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Gem stones are classified into two categories. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds are considered to be precious gems. Amethysts used to be in this category, but the discovery of vast fields of this gem resulted in it being reclassified. Now amethysts and all other mineral or organic gems such as pearl, garnet, jade and beryl, are classified as semi-precious.

Gem Stone Jewelry

Precious gems are seldom formed into beads. Semi-precious gemstones, however, are highly appropriate for bead work. They may be formed into a wide variety of shapes, each of which can highlight a different aspect of the gem. A string of round, polished turquoise beads, for instance, has a very different character from a string of turquoise beads in their natural form.

Gemstones can carry symbolic, astrological, or mythological meanings. Opals, because of their ever-changing hues, are considered bad luck as engagement rings. Pearls have long been a symbol of purity, and are therefore often used as bridal jewelry. Ancient cultures considered amethyst a charm against intoxication, and jade has been considered a lucky stone for centuries.


Certain gemstones are associated with specific months, in a tradition that goes back centuries and hails from several different cultures, such as Tibetan and Hindu. The currently accepted list of birthstones in Western culture was established in 1912. Garnet, for instance, is associated with January, aquamarine with March and blue zircon with December. A piece of jewelry made from birthstone gems makes a lovely personalized gift.

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