Common cuts of beads
Flat ovals always lie well when worn. Check turquoise beads before you buy for cracks and damaged drill holes. Not all turquoise beads are natural; check for reconstructed or imitation material.
These emerald rondelles are evenly shaped, well drilled and well polished. This is good-quality material for beads.
Briolettes like these are often called “tubbies” because of their shape.
These stones have a good cut and shape – the translucent chalcedony suits that flat cut.
Cheaper diamond beads such as these are usually cut as faceted buttons in order to maximize the sparkle. These stones have been laser drilled with very small holes that are uneven in size, making them difficult to string. Diamond beads have sharp edges, so a strong thread or fine cable is needed.
Large irregular beads such as nuggets have become very popular. This heavy type of bead needs to be checked for cracks and surface abrasions.
Ruby-in-zoisite faceted drops. The lapidary has used the natural patterning of the gemstone to great effect in this beautiful and imaginative row of beads.