Thursday, August 18, 2011

Know Your Beads

I'm planning my schedule for tomorrow, looking forward to attending a large bead show where I expect to purchase both beads and tools. Over the years, I have cultivated a collection of suppliers from whom I will order via their catalogs or internet sites, but when it comes to beads, I definitely prefer to make my purchases in person.
I want to hold a string of beads in my hand to fully appreciate the color and texture and to explore various combinations that I might use in future pieces. I also appreciate being able to talk to vendors, confirming what the beads are and where they came from so that I can pass that information on to my customers.
I have learned that what I am told by some bead show vendors is not always accurate. When I have doubts, I do my own research to figure out what is what.
For instance, the above beads were purchased from a vendor who told me I was buying orange turquoise. I had my suspicions, but wanted the beads regardless of what they were. I did some internet sleuthing once I got home.
I determined that what I had bought was most likely howlite, a calcium borosilicate hydroxide that was first discovered in Nova Scotia. I don't necessarily think that the vendor was purposely trying to mislead me; he may have been repeating what he had been told.
I only know that I will tell my customers that I believe the beads are dyed howlite.
Orange turquoise or howlite.....they are beautiful beads.

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