What You Will Need to Know About Buying Quality Ha

What You Will Need to Know About Buying Quality Ha


As a lover of handcrafted jewelry, you know the difference between produced and manufactured costume jewelry and individually handcrafted jewelry made by artisans.

A further distinction exists between fabricated handcrafted jewelry and handcrafted beaded jewelry. Fabricated handmade jewelry is made by silversmiths or goldsmiths who have received a degree and always have had formal training or who have apprenticed with a Master. On the other hand, artisans who create beaded jewelry may or may not have instruction. As opposed to create the gold or silver used in their jewelry, these artisans purchase these materials.

Along with metals that are buying, beaded jewelry artisans must purchase gemstones, crystals, glass or other materials. These materials plus creativity, experience and the skills of the artisan's quality will ultimately determine the beauty and endurance of their jewelry. What is important for you is to know what you're buying. This article will allow you to make informed decisions about purchasing handcrafted beaded jewelry.


When buying jewelry you have several choices of metal. Most often gold and silver is used by artisans. However jewelry artisans do use these metals and can. Because gold is the most expensive metal in this point in time, even more expensive than platinum, beaded jewelry artists will probably use gold filled metal, gold plated or gold vermeil in addition to sterling silver, fine silver or argentium silver in their jewelry. When searching for beaded handcrafted jewelry, it is important to learn about every metal.

1. The"K" in Karat: We begin with the karat since the karat is a really old measure of how much gold is in a metal, or gold-blend. A measure of 1 Karat is 1 part of pure gold and 23 parts of metal alloy or gold. So 24K is 100% pure gold, 9K is 37%, 14K is 58% and 18K is 75%. You get the idea.

2. Gold filled: To be called"gold filled", the amount of gold must be at least 1/20th by weight of the complete product. This is usually known as 14/20, 12/20 or 10/20 or 14K, 12K or 10K gold filled. By far, 14k gold filled metal is the best of the golds. There's 100 times more gold in gold. Gold filled metal is referred to as rolled-gold. A thick covering of gold, 5 percent or 1/20 of the complete fat, is mechanically bonded to a base metal, usually aluminum or brass. This is gold filled metal. It is hard wearing, won't peel or flake and should last as long as 14K gold when properly cared for.

3. Gold plate: When it comes to gold plating, steel or brass is dipped into a bath of electroplating solution along with a lump of gold. When an electric current is applied, a thin layer of gold is deposited on the metal. This practice of called electroplating. Since the plating is quite sparse, the plate, and thus the colour, will definitely wear off rather quickly. The result is an unattractive flaking and peeling of the very thin layer of gold.

4. Gold Vermeil: Sterling silver is chosen as the base metal of gold vermeil and is plated with layers of 18K, 22K or 24K gold. The difference between gold filled and gold vermeil is the purity of the gold in addition to the thickness of the gold and the base alloy. This is the reason gold vermeil is more costly than gold filled metal. It is also why 24K gold is the best choice when choosing vermeil.

5. Sterling Silver: Sterling is some other alloy and a mixture of pure silver. The alloy gives the silver strength. The standard is at least 92.5% silver. Hence the.925 stamp you see on some sterling silver items. While sterling silver is subject to tarnishing, the more it's worn, the better it looks. Of course sterling needs to be properly cared for to look its best, so wearing your silver and taking great care of it's going to keep a grin on your face.

6. Silver Filled: Silver filled chains and findings are also available to artisans. Because the cost of silver has been high, some manufacturers have produced a silver filled product at far less cost than sterling silver. Silver filled metal is either 1/20 or 1/10 bonded to a foundation metal, like zinc, brass or steel. Like gold plated jewelry, silver plate is very inexpensive in comparison with sterling silver. While a 1/20 silver coat may be preferable to a 1/10 coating, the item is definitely inferior and won't hold up over time.

7. Hill Tribe Silver: Hill Tribe Silver is made of.999 pure silver. This is also called fine silver. Although there are several hill tribe ethnic groups, the beads, chains and findings individually handmade by the Karen Hill Tribe artisans are quite remarkable and possibly the best available. Some beading artisans are very fond of Hill Tribe Silver because of the uniqueness and quality of the pieces. They are created by villagers living in the mountainous forests of northwest Thailand. The biggest of the mountain tribes, over 400,000 tribe members, live in this area with a history dating back to the 12th century. These incredible artisans continue to create Hill Tribe Silver with ancient instruments just as their ancestors did. There's absolutely not any substitute for Hill Tribe Silver, and it is expensive.

8. Bali Sterling Silver: Bali sterling silver is also quite popular with beading artisans. It's made on the island of Bali in Indonesia in the Indian Ocean. The Balinese are exceptionally skilled silversmiths and goldsmiths, known for their granulation and wirework decoration. Their sterling silver consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. The Balinese also make Bali 24K gold vermeil beads, spacers, toggles and other jewelry findings. These, like their sterling silver figurines are magnificent, expensive and highly prized by beading artisans. Always ask an artisan if their Bali findings are the real thing. There are some artisans who use"Bali Style" findings. These are a cheap imitation.

9. Argentium Sterling Silver: The best argentium sterling silver is created in 935 and 960 percentage ranges. Argentium has to be above the 92.5% content of sterling silver. Argentium sterling silver is preferred by both silversmiths and beading artisans. This metal is absolutely brilliant. In actuality, it is smarter than platinum, white gold or sterling silver. While silversmiths have a tendency to use the 960 grade, beading artisans use what argentium manufacturers create. The guarantee is that argentium sterling silver comprises more recycled silver than sterling, so you know you are getting more than 92.5% silver in argentium. 1 big advantage of argentium silver is that it's very low maintenance, easy to look after and beautiful.

Jewelry Findings & Components

It's important to know what metal is used in what's known as jewelry"findings". Findings and components are the many and diverse staples beading artists use to create their jewelry. Some of these materials are visible, others are not. It is okay to combine 14K gold filled metal or metal with gold filled metal or sterling silver. 14K filled gold is even combined by some artisans. Never buy jewelry if plated findings are combined with higher quality metals since the metal will peel, crack, bend, twist and ultimately ruin the piece. It's quite rare for a artist to combine metals this way, but it's fine for you to inquire what kind of metal findings a artisan uses. You have a right to know.


There's so much to learn about gemstones! The whole colored gemstone world is infinitely complex. For the International Colored Gemstone Association, this article's purpose, is just one excellent resource among several others. In addition to reading about gemstones, seeing, touching and asking questions are also other ways to educate yourself about the character of the stones in the jewelry you choose.

The diamond industry sets standards and uniform prices for levels of stone and is closely regulated. The gemstone business is very different. There's no standard grading system so pricing can be arbitrary, for color, cut, and clarity that's used by each jeweler.

You have probably read or heard artisans reference groups in their descriptions of coloured gemstones in terms of the letter"A" repeated three or four time. The letter category isn't standardized, though widely used. Some gemstone dealers might refer to a specific gemstone with four"A's", meaning the maximum quality possible, while another gemstone dealer may refer to the same gemstone with a single"A". The only thing that this tells you is that there is a variety of opinions about the same stone.

The sky's the limit when it comes to learning about the intricate world of these precious and semi precious stones when it comes to colored diamonds. However, knowing something about the four C's: color, cut, clarity and carat, will help you to decide what jewelry is ideal for you.

1. Color: The color of a specific gemstone has the best impact on its value. The color saturated without being too dark or too light and ought to be pure, vibrant.

Since there are so many variations in gemstone colours, the colors you love most'll probably draw you. People today seem to have an internal color compass and gravitate to colors for a variety of reasons at various times in their lives. This makes choosing gemstone jewelry always a personal choice.

2. Cut: The cut of a gemstone effects the amount of brilliance the gemstone radiates to the eye. Gemstones that are well-cut will enhance the color of a stone, while poorly cut gemstones may look dead, drab and lifeless.

Don't confuse the cut of a gemstone with its shape. A gemstone's form can be round, oblong, square, marquis, heart, pear, cube and so forth. The cut of a gemstone denotes the art and science of gemstone.

A gemstone cutter takes a piece of tough, studies it and then creates a plan. This is both a creative process and a scientific that evolves through several stages. Gemstone cutting is a fascinating and time consuming procedure.

3. Clarity: What's important to know is that colored gems are, according to the GIA, Gemological Institute of America's Colored Stone Grading Workbook, basically divided into three types for the purpose of grading clarity. We can leave it to the gemologists, although there's a much more complex procedure for the grading of gemstones that are colored.

The GIA clarifies these distinctions as:

a. Type I Colored Stones (Often virtually inclusion-free).

b.Type II Colored Stones (Usually Included).

C. Type III Colored Stones (Almost always contained ).

An"inclusion" is a naturally-occurring imperfection in a gemstone, such as: feathers, crystals, needles, clouds and pinpoints, which can sometimes be seen with the naked eye. The structure of diamonds can magnify up to 60 times or more, so what is not seen by the eye could be seen by means of the loupe. There is A flawless colored gemstone very small and extremely rare.

There are diamonds which heated are treated or otherwise improved. Mystic topaz, by way of example, is a natural topaz gemstone that has been color enhanced by bonding it with a fine layer of titanium atoms in a process called vacuum deposition. This produces a flashy rainbow of colors across the gemstone's surface, similar to bright light. The light exhibits a rainbow of colors or color spectrums that are specific based on angle and depth that is secured to the topaz. The highest quality of colorless topaz stones are used for this color enhancement. This is a use of treatment. Since some treatments are not durable if a rock is dyed, filled, heat treated, irradiated or otherwise enhanced, the buyer should be told. Beading artists who produce quality jewelry almost always use natural stones. It is always good to ask, As you want to know what you're paying for.

For the purpose of this report, keeping in mind that the 4C's offers good advice so you can make wise decisions, although there's plenty of information to be learned about gemstone clarity.

4. Carat: The carat is designin.us a unit of density and mass. They can be measured in carats Since the arrangement of diamonds is the same, regardless of size. (The exception would be a very small diamond that's measured in points, where each point equals 0.01, or one-hundredth, of a carat).

Just bear in mind that colored gemstones of the weight are the identical size while it's common to talk of colored gemstones concerning carats. They pack more weight into a smaller space, Since some gemstones are more dense than others. This is colored gemstones can also be measured in millimeters.

A Word About Colored Gemstones

Because the stones' cost is prohibitive for them beading artisans don't purchase their gemstones from gemstone cutters.

So where do beading artisans buy their stones? Good gemstones can be purchased from exporters and reputable gemstone manufacturers , predominantly from China and India. Some of these companies might have suppliers in the United States. Because these companies sell wholesale worldwide, they will take a resale certificate as evidence that the stones purchased will be used to create and sell jewelry.

Colored diamonds can be also purchased by artisans from American suppliers who might sell either wholesale or retail. Their colored gemstones are procured by these businesses from many different foreign vendors and the pricing, in addition to the quality, varies. Artisans who buy wholesale rather than retail need to supply a resale certificate. Artisans must expect pricing to be since as the middle man, the business adds a greater profit margin than when dealing with manufacturers and exporters on the higher side.

There are diamond providers available to jewelry designers. The quality of their products and pricing differs widely. In the final analysis, beading artisans must do their work to discover the quality they want at the price they're willing and able to pay.


Beading jewelry artists have a wealth of man made crystal and handcrafted glass from which to choose in designing their jewelry. We'll have a look at Swarovski crystal, lampwork glass and Italian Venetian Murano hand blown glass since these are materials used by beading artisans.

1. Swarovski Crystal: In 1892, Daniel Swarovski invented a machine that allowed crystal to be trimmed more precisely than by hand. Over the past 120 years Swarovski has made other improvements so that as of December 31, 2011, the company reports that their crystal business has 26,140 workers, their owner operated concessions and boutiques variety 1,218, and their partner-operated boutiques number 1,000.

There's no doubt that Swarovski is big business, nor it is very common in the jewelry by beading artisans made. Swarovski beads are cut man made crystals that reflect all the colors in more and the gemstone world. Plus, they are extremely easy to work with. Beads cut with man made holes are perfect and just the correct size so there's no need to use an electric drill as there sometimes is when working with natural gemstone beads for beading.

Without a doubt, when it comes to man glitter, quality, bling, the color and dazzle of Swarovski reigns supreme. Whether you want a little or a lot of glitz, you'll find plenty of artisan jewelry fashioned with Swarovski crystals.

2. Lampwork Glass: Lampwork has existed for a long time. There's evidence of the origins of the glass industry in the glass fragments which were found in Mesopotamia.

The most common kinds of lampwork glass is soda-lime glass, a soft glass, and borosilicate. Lead crystal is a kind of glass which has a higher index of refraction than other glass, and consequently much greater"sparkle". Lead is used in Italian Venetian Murano glass.

The work that lampwork glass artists create using their torches and sticks of glass is rich and plentiful. You will find a wealth of glass beads and pendants which are handmade by some lampwork artisans. The only words of advice I can offer are to follow your eyes. You will end up gravitating to what pleases you , by looking at glass beads and pendants, both large and small.

As they say, Every artist has their own level of ability, creativity, and sometimes just plain luck. The colors, patterns and designs are limitless, so you will be thrilled and surprised by the incredibly beautiful work you'll see in the layouts of artists that are beading.

3. Italian Murano Glass: This exceptionally beautiful glass has a history that is really fascinating. It wasn't until 1291 that the furnaces in Venice were moved to the Island of Murano in order to protect Venice, while Venetian glass production dates back up to 982. Thus, Venetian glass and Murano glass are one and the same. The Isle of Murano remains active today in creating the desired and exceptionally beautiful glass beads artisans use today in their jewelry.

There are no assembly lines producing Murano glass beads. Genuine Murano beads are made one bead at a time. A glass bead is hand and then the wire is dissolved using acid. The bead hole is clean all the way through. There are"imitation" Murano beads that are mass produced in areas like China and India. When several beads are formed on a single steel mandrel that's been coated with a releasing agent, they are created. The hole is coated with the powder remains of the releasing agent, when the beads slid are removed. It is not an attractive sight!

Beading artisans prefer Murano glass produce and for the depth of colour, sparkle and the techniques used to incorporate a variety of beads that feel magical. Richness, depth and the beauty of Murano beads abounds with people committed to excellence in their craft and a history of a civilization.


Beaded jewelry designers are proud of the work and are happy when a prospective customer asks about their jewelry. This report has provided you with enough information so you can ask questions and make choices when buying handcrafted beaded jewelry.