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New Arrivals 2010

Notes on New Bead Arrivals

    Each January and February John goes off on a mad buying pilgrimage out west.  Typically he will ship back one of two pallets of used books purchased in Phoenix (largest sale in the country) and other western locations.  He brings back more fragile new pottery, kachinas and other Native American objects picked up in the Albuquerque, Gallup and Acoma area.  But the biggest purchases come in beads, jewelry and gift items from California and the annual shows in Quartzite and Tucson, Arizona.  For three weeks at 44 different locations there were rock, gem, mineral, fossil and jewelry shows all being held simultaneously just in Tucson.  After 7000 miles of travel and after combining with all of the other purchases in Quartzite and in California another six full pallets of precious stuff was shipped to Von’s.  The last truck delivery was in March.  It will take many weeks to get nearly one million dollars worth of wonderful new things checked in and out for sale.  Since the store is so crammed already (more stone beads than any other US retail location) it is easy for the new to get lost among all of the existing merchandise so we decided to try again this year to make a list of some of these wonders.  We will keep updating it as more things make their way into the store.  Note that when in the store, items added in the last three months have color coded new tags on each hank of new beads.


2mm Faceted – Faceted stones in tiny sizes are extremely rare because of the difficulty of working with such small pieces – drilling holes and faceting causes many stones to break while they are being made.  It is a rare company that will invest in the time and hand work necessary to make such strands.  It takes about 200 tiny 2mm faceted beads to make up a normal 16 inch strand.  When John saw these in seven different stones he wanted to buy them all.  The 25 strands each was probably the entire world supply.  He showed restraint and only purchased five strands of each stone, leaving the other 20 for the rest of the United States bead stores.   The stones available are quartz crystal, amethyst, red coral, amazonite, tiger eye, black onyx, and red agate (carnelian).  This is the first time we have seen these in 20 years.  The strands are all specially priced at either $17 or $18 each.  They are hung with the other precious stones at the front of the store.  

Abalone – Since there is only one attractive face to beads made from abalone, it is typical for beads to made by sandwiching two pieces together.  A couple nice new strands of ovals are in the pearl and shell room.

Agate – We are always looking for new agates.  (Remember that agate and jasper are both varieties of quartz.  Agate is often banded, has more translucency and generally contains less colorant impurities.)  There are dozens of named agate varieties and they are virtually all interesting and attractive.  Sometimes there is no specific name such as “Blue Lace Agate” or “Moss Agate” and the stone is then filed at the very front of the bead store before all of the variously named varieties.  Among the most striking of non-named ones is a large long oval.

Agate, Black – Note that black onyx and black agate both describe a treated quartz mineral. When the stone is more transparent or you see brown in it as well as black it is called black agate.  It must be fully solid black for us to call it black onyx.   Some bead factories label beads one way and some the other.  Also note there are other unrelated black stones:  black “jade” is usually a dyed serpentine and black obsidian is a naturally black volcanic glass.  Black agate or black onyx is harder and more durable.  We continue to add new shapes whenever we see them.  New this year are strands of oval drops –longer and more pointy 1 ½ inch ones alternating with shorter ones about 7/8 inch in length.  (This shape is also available in multi-stone, unakite, denim jasper, fossil jasper, paintbrush jasper and red jasper.)

Agate, Black Line – The dramatic appearance of light against dark has made black line agate one of our most popular stones for the last two years.  It remains pricier than many stones but we continue to find amazingly beautiful strands that we can’t resist buying.  Jewelry made from it is always among our bestsellers on the pillar in front of the bead counter.

Agate, Blue Lace
– Blue lace agate is one of the more costly agates.  The color is that of Chalcedony, but there are beautiful bandings from light blue to white.  This year we found the stone in lentil shapes which are quite rare even for more common stones.  (As a bead, the lentil shape is a round disk but it is drilled not straight through the center, but at a slight angle so that one disk partially overlaps the one next to it.  Look for this new shape in the more uniformly colored Blue Chalcedony too.)

Agate, Botswana – Botswana agate comes from Africa and is distinguished by its beautiful banding.  The patterns, usually in grays, are amazing when the beads are made from exceptional material.  Sometimes you want to buy a whole strand of beads just to get a single striking specimen.  This year John found the most beautiful strands he has ever seen.  Virtually every bead is a little work of art.  And to add even more to the appearance, most of the strands have been faceted as well.  The most expensive strand is a large faceted coin or disc shaped bead that retails for $45.  Although many of the beads are hanging with the precious strands at the front counter which are not discountable, most of the Botswana Agate strands are subject to your bead discount card.

Agate, Brazilian – This patterned agate is predominately white with subtle gray and tan and is a little more costly than common stones.  We have had some pendant pieces before and we were glad to find the stone in two bead shapes.

Agate, Colored and Quartz
– Strands of agate blending into clear quartz are beautiful naturally in grays, even more striking in the carnelian (reddish) heated varieties and now there are color enhanced ones in blue, green and purple.  Before you write off any dyed stones take a look at these and also read about dying stones under Enhanced Rhodochrosite written up below.  (These will be hung on the bead wall under:  Agate, Dyed.)

Agate, Crazy Lace – We added three unique Crazy Lace Agate items.  One is an oval in a yellow variety that came from Australia.  The bead manufacturer sorted through all of the beads and selected the ones of like color.  We do not know the country of origin for the other new item – a large gray oval.  (Most crazy lace comes from Mexico, but these two items are distinctly different.)  The third notable addition is large 18mm rounds.  Giant rounds are not too common.  The large size of these is nice in that it can show off the stones lacey patterns.

Agate, Dyed Crazy Lace – Crazy Lace Agate was often dyed by tumbled stone dealers to make a more colorful stone for kids to buy at rock shops.  Although we used to look down our noses on some dyed materials, we have gradually come to appreciate the beauty of ones which have been done well.  We are glad that the process of dyeing crazy lace agate has migrated to the bead field because these new varieties help to broaden the beader’s palette.  We have added a number of new shapes and colors.

Agate, Dyed – If the agate is deep blue, green, purple or pink, it is probably dyed.  (Red and orange are generally obtained by heating.)  We mainly added large oval shapes that are spectacular.  Don’t let any bias against dyed stones keep you from at least looking at these.  They are magnificent.

Agate, Fire, Yellow & Brown – Fire agate made a big splash a couple years ago when it first appeared.  Although it posed as a natural stone it was readily apparent that in finishing, natural agate had been glazed and fired to give the crackle surface.  We’ve been expecting modifications or new variants to come along.  The first we have seen is on some barrel beads picked up in California with a more yellow and brown finish than the past orange.

Agate, Pink Ocean – This stone was actually more apricot than pink but very attractive with some patterns reminiscent of ocean jasper.  We presume that is how “ocean” got into its name.  We saw only one hank and hope more shapes will show up in the future.

Agate, Magic – We believe that most Magic Agate is a more colorful variety of Green Opal that includes more red and brown patterns.  Usually we label it and file it with the other African green opal, but one hank was so colorful in red and brown with minimal green that we have filed it in the agates.  The gorgeous rectangles are big enough to really appreciate the detailed patterning.  If “earthy” browns spiced up with some extra color are to your taste, you might want to take a look at these.

Agate, Montana – We have seen only a single large oval in this stone. Its unique coloration is predominately gray with both light and darker markings plus some reddish browns.

Agate, Red – We don’t know why the term “Red Agate” is occasionally used instead of Carnelian” but the two are both the same substance.  Agate slabs are common in rock and mineral sales but less often seen as beads.  We purchased strands of red agate slabs that have been drilled at both ends so that they could be part of a piece of jewelry.  Each slab is over two inches long and there are usually six colorful slabs on a strand.  (Also see carnelian.)

Agate, Wood – This patterned brown agate may actually be petrified wood.  If you like the stone, also look for many for compatible beads in the “P’s” under Petrified Wood.

Agate, Window - This stone is new to Von’s this year.  The beads have been dyed to give different colors and also heat treated to give a black around the edges.  The result is a colored agate  like a window in the middle of a dark black frame.

Amazonite – Each year we expect to add more strands of amazonite because its appearance varies widely and we are always trying to get every shape and size in every color variant.  Basic amazonite is a pale aqua blue stone.  Black amazonite includes dark matrix patterns.  Black and gold amazonite includes gold as well as black.  Russian amazonite is darker blue green with a more speckled look.  We did lots of additions this year with the most unusual one being large number shaped beads – the digits from 0 to 9 make up a full strand.   

Amber – We bought much less amber this year than in the past because there was almost nothing out there that we did not already have.  New strands have a yellow new tag on them.

Amber, Russian – The new strands of large Russian Amber beads are not as clear or “pretty” as most typical Baltic amber, but have a character all their own.  In addition to the regular strands hanging with the amber, we also purchased a number of these beads made into stretch bracelets which would could easily be taken apart and reconstructed for your own bead design.

Amber, Green – Green Amber is also known as Caribbean Amber and is a much younger amber than 80 million year old Baltic Amber.  But at 5 million years age it is still an ancient, beautiful and rare material quite different from the resin copal that might be only 50 to 5000 years old.  This year we added only pendants and no new beads.  The cost went up about 15% this year and we expect this to get only worse next year as the value of the dollar declines.  It is mined in Columbia and other Caribbean countries.

Amethyst – The first thing we have added to our amethyst is a few amazing strands of giant rectangles in chevron amethyst (bands of light and dark often in “V” shapes).  We also found nice amethyst dice (diagonally drilled cubes) for the first time.  Last year we found five strands of gargantuan polished nuggets that sold within the first month of their arrival.  This year we found ten more strands.   There are also nice flat ovals made of the chevron material.  The biggest new addition is in the front counter where you will find several hundred strands of fine amethyst, beautifully faceted.  These are all “Special Priced” to keep this quality as affordable as possible.  There are also new budget strands of nicely colored material that was made into beads in India.  Shapes include small irregular (not perfectly round) coins and irregularly faceted rondelles.

Amethyst, Green – Rock people hate the name Green Amethyst because amethyst is purple and prasiolite is green.  When amethyst is heated, it usually turns to golden citrine, but occasionally a green stone is produced.  Thus the stone is sometimes called “Greened” Amethyst.  Regardless of the proper name, the bead trade uses the term green amethyst.  And wow, did John go wild buying it this year!  There are four trays full of faceted drops and beads in the front bead counter.   

Amethyst, Pink – This light amethyst is still purple or lavender , not pink.  We’ve also seen the coloration referred to as “Rose de France”.  In any case, it is beautiful and a number of finely faceted stones are available in the front counter.

Ametrine – When amethyst is exposed to heat it may change from purple amethyst to golden citrine.  When the material includes both the purple and gold it is called ametrine.  We only rarely see beads made of ametrine that are large enough to show both colors in one bead.  This year we found nice ovals and drop shapes that are now hanging on the wall.  There are also some faceted strands of smaller material in the front bead counter.

Apatite – We added a large amount of apatite this year.  The mineral is usually blue to blue-green and usually available only in small sizes.  Our purchases this year cover the entire color range.  Most beads are on the wall alphabetically except for new drops inside the front counter.  We also added carvings in the rock room from the more massive material found in Madagascar (not made up of large crystals).  See next entry for the most unusual apatite bead we have ever found.

Apatite, Cat’s Eye – Most apatite beads are blue to bluish green.  Cat’s Eye Apatite is new to Von’s and varies in appearance from a clear yellow-green to the more opaque orange brown that is most likely to show the cat eye visual effect.

Aquamarine – One does not often see aquamarine in anything other than rounds, nuggets and costly faceted stones.  We purchased all of the attractive rectangles that one vendor was offering.  Another had dice (diagonally drilled cubes.) Yet another had more clear rounds in the 8 to 10mm range than we had been stocking.  (Both of these groups are more toward the green side of the aquamarine range than the blue.)  Then we found nice quality blue aquamarine rounds in 4, 6 and 8 mm sizes plus faceted stones too.   Then we found some nice rondelles and some nugget sized pieces.  Finally, another vendor had very nice blue ovals, faceted ovals and a few large freeform faceted nuggets.  Let’s just say that there are a lot of new strands on the wall alphabetically and also in with the precious by and in the front counter.

Aquamarine, Moss – This is the first time we have ever seen this color variety of aquamarine.  The stone has a slightly grayer quality to the blue and there are some mossy inclusions within the transparent material.  The beads are beautiful faceted stones and are displayed in the front bead counter.

Angelite – Usually a soft opaque light blue and rarely available, John found a number of new larger rounds in the typical blue with some whitish blue appearance.  Also he found a more crystalline harder variety in one faceted shape plus two round sizes whose color and translucency were more like aquamarine than normal angelite.

Aventurine – Green aventurine is a classic stone bead, predominately quartz with inclusions, commonly green fuchsite mica.  The apricot colored variety is often known as peach or red aventurine.  (Inclusions are likely hematite or goethite.)  There is also a deep blue, almost black that comes from India. The typical glittering flecks included within the stone caused it to be named after a similar appearing manmade glass.  (Aventurine glass has metal flecks within it.) We have had hundreds of strands of aventurine in numerous sizes, shapes and colorations.  We always find a few new things like the giant 16mm rounds we added this time – look for the NEW tags.

Azurite / Malachite – Dark blue azurite is often found with green malachite.  As a matter of fact, over long periods of time, azurite can turn into malachite.  Medieval paintings that used azurite as a pigment for gorgeous blue skies are now looking greenish.  Nonetheless, the two make a nice bead combination. We added strands of drops; two of them would quickly yield an interesting pair of earrings.

Black Stone – Black beads are always a part of most beaders’ palettes.   Black onyx (also the same as black agate) with its high polished appearance is often the bead of choice.  Black obsidian is less hard and less expensive.  Black stone may be the least expensive and can still be the bead of choice if you want a more flat or less glossy finish.  We have added several new shapes.  These include some unusual double ax-heads and square donuts.

Bone – Carved bone beads are certainly not for everyone, but they open up one more direction for the beaded jewelry designer.  There are several dozen additions to our inventory – many only a strand or two of any one particular design.  Wood and bone beads are currently hung behind the entry door to the main bead room although we are looking for a new place to put the wood.

Brass – Add a bright copper or a beautiful Hamilton gold finish to beads made of brass and you have a striking and affordable new addition to Von’s Beads.  We have about 30 different styles in the gold and about 20 in copper.  Many use what is often referred to as a stardust finish. Most are regular beads but there are a few bead caps as well.  We don’t know where their final home will be in the store but they are currently on the end of the table in the bead department.  

Bronzite – Imagine metallic silvery glints or sheen but in brown, not silver or gold and you can come close to the look of what you see in good bronzite.  In nature, the material starts out as hypersteen (which exhibits a fantastic dark silvery sheen) but over time in the earth, hypersteen weathers and turns into bronzite.  We’ve added a number of new shapes and sizes  including an interesting but uncommon cross form.

Carnelian – Despite the fact that we already had nearly 1000 strands of the red agate known as carnelian, we always end up buying more because of the variation in colors.  Some is redder.  Some is more orange.  Some has more clear parts.  To cover all of the color variations, we just keep buying.  Our selection should have just about any coloration you might want.  Note that at some time during its lifetime, carnelian was a more gray agate that has been exposed to heat, either naturally or through man’s intervention.  The color change from heat treatment is permanent.  Carnelian can also be darkened to a black – just for fun we have some carnelian beads with a black eye on the face.  There are also some very dark carnelian fortune beads.  And, we added a dice shape (diagonally drilled cube) plus some very nice faceted rondelles.

Chalcedite – As far as we are concerned this red, brown and gold stone is an agate.  However, it is also known as turtle shell jasper.  We believe it comes from Africa.  We have added only a single small rectangular shape.

Chalcedony – Although we probably have enough clear to pale blue chalcedony, we continue to buy more whenever we see it.  (I don’t think this is an obsession, but just the fear that we may not see such good quality again.  There is a lot of mundane material out there that we do not want.)  New strands of slabs drilled as pendants are now up on the wall.  These appeal to those who prefer interesting natural shapes and patterns to the perfectly symmetric.  There are also new faceted stones both hung with the precious stones and in the counter at the front of the store.  These include small oval and coin shapes.  There are also dice, diagonally drilled cubes.  In addition, we found some in a lentil shape which we rarely see.  (As a bead, the lentil shape is a round disk but it is drilled not straight through the center, but at a slight angle so that one disk partially overlaps the one next to it.  Look for this new shape in the light blue to white banded Blue Lace Agate too.)

Chalcedony, Orange – We found only a couple strands of faceted drops.  They look somewhat like carnelian.

Chrysocolla – Chinese azurite has been replacing chrysocolla when beaders are looking for striking blue-greens at affordable prices.  The quality of chrysocolla is often not up to the stronger colors, nonetheless it has its own character and we have added a couple new small shapes.

Chrysoprase – This beautiful green chalcedony variety of quartz usually comes from the nickel belt in Australia.  We have added some nice new small rounds and rondelles which are hanging on the wall.  In addition, some beautiful faceted beads are in the front counter.

Chiastolite – Most people won’t remember this name so we have filed the beads under the other term often used to refer to this stone:  Cross Stone.  Chiastolite is a naturally occurring brown stone with a black cross in it.  We added a new drop shape.

Cinnabar – Cinnabar beads are not made from the poisonous mineral cinnabar, but their color is the same.  Some are carved from many layers of a lacquer while others are made in a mold from a resin.  Some of our selection is now on the stone wall under cinnabar, but others, particularly those not in the traditional reddish color are behind the door with other resin beads.

Citrine – Often what is sold as citrine is so pale that the orange thread through it is responsible for most of the color.  This year we found spectacular deep colored rounds in a variety of shades.  There also small dark colored drops. The most spectacular pieces we purchased were two strands of large beautifully faceted nuggets.  Most has been hung regularly along the wall, but you will find the faceted nuggets at the front with the precious stones. There are also a few small stands of faceted pieces in the front bead counter.

Conglomerate, Indian - A conglomerate stone is typically a sedimentary one where various gravels have been cemented by nature into a new stone, often with a mix of colored ingredients.  Look for red, brown and ivory as the main constituents of this new bead material.

Coral – With thousands of strands of coral, we didn’t expect to add anything, but there always seems to be a reason to add a few more.  John found a good buy on some rounds plus he bought some other chips and small pieces because he thought they were a deeper red than those we already had.  Note that almost all coral is dyed.  The natural red Italian coral costs a fortune.  Also new are some faceted 8mm rounds and a new drop shape.
Cross Stone - Also known as chiastolite or andalusite, this stone has a naturally occurring black cross through the middle of the brown stone.  We have had it before, but we have added more of this unusual stone.

Dice – Cubes drilled diagonally are usually referred to as dice.  Some people hate them and others love them.  (This is true of Jane and Jerry here at Von’s)  Nonetheless they are not all that common so John picked up the shapein amethyst, carnelian, rhodonite, tiger eye and silver leaf jasper.  The beads will be filed under the individual stones and they are priced at $12-$14 per strand.

Dumortierite – This attractive royal blue to blue black stone looks a little like sodalite.  In Dumortierite one is more likely to see black areas while in sodalite we often see white matrix areas.  We added only a couple strands of roughly oval  large freeform shapes.

Fluorite, Yellow – We are most used to clear, green and purple fluorite.  Some purples are almost red.  Some blues are possible but virtually never seen as beads.  Yellow is another rare color for fluorite.  We have added banded strands which are predominately yellow but clear, green and lavender bands may also be seen.

Fossil Coral – The attractive patterns in fossil coral have moved this stone into greater popularity and we are now seeing more and more of it.  (If you have seen a sample of Michigan’s state stone, Petoskey Stone, you have seen one variety of fossil coral.)  The basic stone is usually some variety of tan but orange versions are also often seen.  The tiny detailed patterns are best seen in larger beads and are quite distinguishable even in rounds.  (Take a look at our new 12mm rounds as one example.)  The patterns are best seen in larger flat pieces and we are now seeing a lot of pendants.  Watch for them on the top of the bead table.  Color enhanced versions in many colors will allow for a variety of more uses of this stone.  

Gabbro, Indigo – Gabbro is an igneous rock that cools and crystallizes inside the earth.  The bead material can vary considerably in darkness so you should hand select what most appeals to you.  Note that there is some similarity in appearance to blue rhyolite, another igneous rock but one that is formed when magma has been extruded from the earth.  Both make nice additions to the beader’s palette.  We suspect that most of the indigo gabbro bead material comes from Madagascar because we have been purchasing carved shapes of the stone from there for several years.

Garnet – Giant rounds are rare so we grabbed what we could and added them to our already huge garnet selection.  Watch for many exquisite faceted strands which are in the front counter.  There are nice new large rondelles too.  (Remember that garnet is a family of minerals with varying composition and varying colors.  Read about other types immediately below.)

Garnet, Green – The more rare and costly green garnet has been added in a variety of round sizes with clear color variations from green to greenish brown.  This new purchase worth over $5000 should have almost any color variety you would like.  We consciously took hanks in every color variety we could find.  There are also a few strands of both small coin shapes and little rectangles in a more opaque green.  We have added huge quantities of green garnet.  Most are on the wall, but some faceted beads are in the front counter.

Garnet, Hessonite – John has a weakness for the various garnets that are not the standard red we are all used to.  Hessonite can be very clear in gold to brown. He added some inexpensive small faceted beads and then some more expensive strands of finely faceted ones that are in the front counter.

Garnet, Red & Green – This mixture of two colors of garnet is sometimes called Christmas Garnet or Holiday Garnet.  It is interesting, but don’t expect bright Christmas red and green.  The colors are more subdued as one would expect with garnet.

Garnet, Rhodolite – This rarer raspberry garnet has a richer, more purple color than traditional almandine.  Look for a hank of some nice little faceted stones.

Glass – The best way to look for new additions in glass is to look for the yellow NEW tag which represents items added in March.  (Every month we pull old tags and start a new color for the current month of new additions.)  Notably there are new small white chevrons (with black “v” and gold ends) from China.  There are a large number of Chinese transparent glass in a variety of colors and shapes that have a silver edge.  (They look like a little colored window in a silver frame and most are $6 – all under $10 per strand.)  There are new India glass beads with a rose design inside,….  

Glass – Hand-cut Crystal – One large new glass selection in a number of colors and sizes deserving its own mention is the hand-cut Chinese Crystal.  We had already added a lot within the last year but saw more than ever before at various Tucson shows.  One story going around Tucson was that the Austrians had sold old equipment used in making Swarovski Crystal to the Czechs about three years ago.  Then last year the Czechs resold the equipment to the Chinese who set about both using it heavily and duplicating it so that the quality of their own crystal has jumped exponentially.  Maybe true – maybe just an intriguing story.
Goldstone, Blue – This glittery material is manmade but has long been treated like natural stone beads.  Originally only a golden brown variety was available but now both a deep almost purplish blue is growing in popularity.  A dark green variety also exists.  Von’s has added some new drops.

Howlite, “Turquoise” – Five years ago, the major substitute for turquoise was dyed howlite.  Now most turquoise imitations are dyed magnesite.  We still find some nice beads in howlite and have added a couple new hanks that are filed on the wall with the howlite – not with the turquoise as we do with the magnesite.  Natural white howlite with grayish lines is quite attractive on its own.

Hypersthene – Also known as hypersteen, this black stone has a very striking silvery metallic sheen.  In nature it can weather to the more common and less expensive brownish bronzite which also exhibits a metallic sheen.  We’ve added several new shapes including an unusual large cross shape.

Impression Stone - This is an attractive light blue green material with a tan background.  We are still not 100% sure that this is not just another name for African Blue Opal. The names Aqua Terra Jasper and Sea Sediment Jasper are also used for stones of the same appearance.  To add one more question mark, the stone also looks like one called Australian Blue Snakeskin Opal.  (It can’t be both African and Australian.)  In any event it is an attractive addition to the beader’s palette and we added several new hanks including nice 6 and 8mm rounds plus small rectangles.

Iolite - We have added a number of striking faceted strands of blue-gray iolite as well as some inexpensive little coin shapes.  The faceted material is in the front counter.  (As an interesting side note, iolite is also known mineralogically as cordierite, but not in the bead trade.  When looking one direction through a single crystal of this peculiar material it appears to be grayish blue, but when looking through the crystal from another side it looks yellow brown.)

Jade - We already have a large supply of true nephrite jade, but we found a hank of differently colored 10mm rounds that were too striking to pass by.

“Jade”, Burnt – This dark brown serpentine has been growing in popularity.  (It is not one of the two true jades – nephrite and jadeite.   As a reminder, we again mention that when we use quotes around a word it indicates that the substance may be called by that name but it is name only and not correct in a mineralogical sense.  The terms “jade” and “quartz” are used too freely in the bead trade.)  We added large new faceted drops in burnt “jade” which are in the front counter.  Other new shapes are hanging on the wall.

“Jade”, Chinese – We added a few new styles including drops and a large coin shape in this green and white speckled serpentine. There is also an unusual large square donut.  (Remember that when we add quotes around a stone name it designates that that is what the stone is called but that it may not be mineralogically what it is named.  
    There are two true jades in the mineral world:  jadeite and nephrite.  Both of these are considered jade.  Both are rare and very tough.  Both have been used for carvings for ages and were often not distinguishable.  In recent times another more common green mineral, serpentine, has been sold as “New Jade”.  Most other “jades” are different varieties of serpentine including such things as Russian “Jade” and Olive “Jade” as well as Chinese “Jade”.

“Jade”, New – New “Jaded” is the most common true jade substitute and it had been around a long long time.  It is actually composed of the mineral Serpentine.  As always, we pick up a few new shapes or color variations and even if our label says Serpentine, we file it with the other New “Jade” beads after the true jades.

“Jade”, Olive – This stone is not true jadeite or nephrite jade but a variety of serpentine.  Drops are one of only two new shapes we added to our existing large selection.  The other new one is a large square donut with a very large donut hole in the center.  This shape bead is fragile.

“Jade”, Russian – Again, this stone is not true jadeite or nephrite jade but a variety of serpentine found in Russia.  We added a couple new shapes of this green stone with very fine black patterning.
Jasper – There are so many specific jaspers, it’s strange when we find one that belongs in just plain “Jasper”.  One such addition was an attractive assortment of gray, tan, ivory, brown and reddish jaspers in a round 8mm size.  As a reward for reading all of this material, you can have these strands at less than half price ($3 instead of $8) if you mention that you read about them in this Notes on New Arrivals handout.

Jasper, African Map – Last year we found a few strands of African Map Jasper mixed in with a huge closeout lot of stone beads that we had purchased.  When we tried to look it up we couldn’t find anyone selling more of the beads but did find a few pieces of jewelry made from the stone.  This year we found only a single dealer offering this unusual stone in four more shapes/sizes.  Coloration is a patchwork of gray, tan, pale orange and brown.  The name may come from the small different colored “patches” looking like little countries on a map.  It reminds us of the rough rock Mexican fire opal in porphyry.  It also looks a little like septarians.  It is probably best for you to look for yourself.  We especially liked the small 8mm coin shape.

Jasper, Autumn – Only one new shape was added:  some nice narrow drops.

Jasper, Birdsnest – This stone may go under any number of different names.  It first showed up as a tumbled stone out of India about 15 years ago.  The brown stick-like or grass-like patterns gave it its original name. We welcome the stone to our bead collection in several different shapes.  If it appears that a newer name is sticking, we mayhave to relabel this one later.

Jasper, Brecciated, Green – In the past when we referred to Brecciated Jasper we always thought of the red jasper also known as poppy jasper.  (A brecciated stone has been broken up and recemented back together by nature.  Pietersite is really a brecciated tigereye.)  Now another brecciated stone has surfaced in Africa, but this time a green one.  Description is difficult – this is another one that you should just come in and look at.  This is another stone purchased from the Chinese factory mentioned elsewhere that specializes in extraordinary quality in less usual stones.  They seek out unusual stones not just from China but from Africa, South America and especially Australia.
We purchased beadsof this stone in 11 different sizes and shapes – coins, ovals, rectangles, diamonds and teardrops.

Jasper, Brecciated Fire – As mentioned immediately above, Brecciated Jasper was a red jasper that was also known as Poppy Jasper.  We have added some large coin shapes in a red brecciated jasper that had the word “fire” added to its title.  It may come from a different location or it may just be a better or more fire-like color but we aren’t really considering it any different than the version without “fire” in the name.

Jasper, Cedar – This banded stone does look like cedar complete with attractive wood grain.  The reddish color would also go well with some Imperial jasper.  A number of new large shapes  were added that show off the “grain”.

Jasper, Conglomerate, Green to Aqua – This material seems to have been created when nature cemented smaller broken pieces back together in a conglomerate.  It appears to have been color enhanced with a green dye.  The color caught our eye and we added a half dozen different sizes and shapes.  It is filed in the jaspers under Conglomerate.

Jasper, Denim – The only new shape we added this year in blue and black denim jasper was drops.  We found strands of about five different stones that were made up of alternate short drops (about 7/8 inch long) with longer ones (about 1 ½ inches long).  We bought all of the different stone varieties available:  red jasper, fossil jasper, paintbrush jasper, black agate, unakite, and multi-stone.

Jasper, Dragonblood – This Australian stone May never become very abundant because we are unsure that there is much of the rough material.  We first saw a few pieces of it set in silver to make finished jewelry pendants.  We also saw the Australian mineral dealer selling small labs as mineral specimens.  Then last year we found two sizes of round beads that had been cut by an Indian factory.  Our biggest find this year was a Chinese factory that had purchased a large amount of the rough stone and formed it into numerous standard bead shapes.  We bought all the shapes they had.  Like traditional bloodstone, the material has small patches of red in a green background.  Unlike the usual Indian bloodstone’s very dark green, the Australian stone is a lighter more emerald green.  We suspect that most people would strongly prefer the Dragonblood Jasper.  Incidentally, the term “jasper” may be a misnomer as the stone looks more like agate to us.  (Remember that agate and jasper are both quartz but agate tends to have fewer impurities and more translucency.  We usually expect the highest polish from agates and this stone certainly meets that requirement.)  We added 11 different shapes and sizes including round, oval, coin, square, rectangle and teardrop.

Jasper, Fancy – With over 100 hanks already on the wall it was hard to find anything unique until we ran into some tiny little coin shaped beads.  Looking into the thin translucent disks reminds us that even though this stone is named Fancy Jasper it is really an agate not a jasper.  (Occasionally it is sold as Indian Agate rather than Fancy Jasper.)  We also found some lovely multicolored twist shapes in two different sizes.

Jasper, Flower, Bamboo – How many Flower Jaspers can there be – and don’t count Poppy Jasper?  A material long available and known as flower jasper is mainly tan but had pale other coloration as well, notably a light reddish cast but also sometimes gray.  Then there was the black stone with either red or green spots of color (flowerlike?)  Now there is also Flower Bamboo Jasper or Bamboo Flower Jasper.  The “Bamboo” makes sense as the light greenish lines radiating in this black stone do look like a lot of bamboo stalks seen from a distance.  We have added both assorted sizes of pendants (on the table top) and some large coin shaped beads (hanging with the other flower jaspers.).

Jasper, Flower, Black – We have added only one large new shape of this black stone with red and green spots.  (See previous entry for more info on “flower jasper”.

Jasper, Fossil – This brown stone is also known as Bamboo Jasper and Insect Jasper.  “Brown stone” is an inadequate description of this patterned stone, but we think it best if you just look at it on your next trip to the store.  We don’t have much and were glad to add a new shape – short drops (about 7/8 inch long) alternating with longer and more pointy ones at about 1 ½ inch in length.  We also added a rectangle.

Jasper, Harvest – We’ve added an attractive oval shape in this attractive orange, brown and white stone.

Jasper, Imperial  - One of the more mildly expensive jaspers is Imperial Jasper which is mined near Sonora, Mexico and shipped to China to  be formed into beads.  The stone often has bands which one usually associates with agates.  (Jewelry cabochons are sometimes cut so that the bands become eyes on the face of the cabs.)  The reddish brown varieties sometimes look like wood grain.  The color is quite varied with many reddish browns that include very light to darkly colored varieties.  There are also light greens that are slightly grayish. We have added a number of new shapes including some quite affordable small nuggets and some particularly attractive ovals.

Jasper, Lemon – This stone looks much like lemon “jade” but beside the yellow it has a lot of gray.  We added a small coin shape.

Jasper, Mookaite – Mookaite Jasper from Western Australia has long been a favorite with its variation from ivory through gold, mauve and red.  There was some indication this year that the material may be running out.  Many sources had increased costs by 20-30% from previous years’ offers.  Fortunately John found a number of new shapes/sizes in oval, coin and rectangle that will still be at the old prices.  He also replenished our 5x12mm rice at the old price.  However, the outlook is for higher prices next year.

Jasper, Mookaite, Brecciated – A new variety of mookaite has surfaced as the old begins to run out.  The new is only in jewelry cabochons so far but may show up in large flat beads.  There is no red but the traditional ivories and golds have been broken up and reformed (brecciated) with the smaller segments cemented into a mosaic by nature.  Look for it in our jewelry pendants but don’t expect much yet in beads.  We have only two strands of ovals.

Jasper, Muddy – The rich dark to golden brown of muddy jasper takes such a high polish we think it might be more properly considered an agate.  (Both agate and jasper are predominately quartz but the jasper has more impurities and is usually more opaque.  Agate is more translucent and is often banded.)  We have also seen this jasper referred to as Earth Jasper, perhaps a prettier name for an attractive brown stone.  Several new shapes/sizes were added to our already extensive selction.

Jasper, Ocean - We have spoken to the mine owners from Madagascar and it is becoming much harder to find good Ocean Jasper (also known as Orbicular Jasper and Fish Eye Jasper).  Whenever we find existing hoards of the more colorfully patterned material we grab them all.  Expect prices to go up next year unless there is another find.  Among our favorites this year are some large coin shapes and some small squares.  There are also three strands of some large flat freeforms.  The faceted tear drops are also very fine.

Jasper, Ocean Fossil – This material was only available in a single small oval.  It is primarily tan with lots of fossil patterns throughout the stone.  It is on the wall with the other fossil stones, not with the jaspers.

Jasper, Painbrush – Also known as Artist’s Stone or Artistic Stone this jasper often has “pictures” that one can see in its patterns of mainly black against tan and brown.  The most spectacular examples of the stone are back in the rock room where 4 ½ inch long oval shaped pieces have been mounted in stands as little works of art for about $22.    There are already about 50 sizes and shapes of this stone as a bead so the only new bead variety added was strands of drops (about 7/8 inch ones alternating with 1 ½ inch ones).

Jasper, Picasso – One interesting new addition to our selection is a tiny square with black lines in a white background.

Jasper, Picture – The traditional American Picture Jasper is in tans with darker brown bands.  In recent years a banded variety known as Chinese Picture Jasper has appeared with more stripes and the shades vary from tan and brown through greenish and reddish colors as well.  Because of the coloring, some people consider it best for fall jewelry, but we think it is a stone everyone should at least take a close look at it.  This year it was sold as Indian Picture Jasper.  Wherever the origin, it is an attractive stone and a dozen new sizes and shapes have been added.  Additional shapes have been added in the American Picture Jasper as well.   An unusual triangle and some long thin ovals drilled in a way you would not ordinarily expect are among the new additions.

Jasper, Porcelain – This stone was found a couple years ago near Sonora, Mexico.  It does have a porcelain “look” with subtle pastels showing ivory and gray with an interesting lavender tinted pink plus maroon and light and dark matrix lines.  We added only a couple new shapes including two strands of large freeforms which we may break up later and put out on the tabletop as individual focal pieces.  The classic 5x12mm rice shape was also very appealing.

Jasper, Rainbow Hickoryite – This stone has agate like bands but in less glossy colors of red, brown, reddish mauve and buff.  It may be the same as Cedar Jasper.  If you like the stone you should also look at Wood Jasper.

Jasper, Red – This brick red stone has been a staple of beaders for many many years.  It has been somewhat upstaged by newer and more colorful finds, but it will always be around with its consistent classic bead color.  Only one new shape this year:  strands of 7/8 inch drops alternating with 1 ½ inch ones.  This shape is also available in Denim Jasper, Paintbrush Jasper, Black Agate, Multi-Stone, Unakite and Fossil Jasper.

Jasper, Red Creek – Part of the excitement every year is finding new stones that are being made into beads.  This year John found a new japer that we hope will be around for a long time. Most people were calling it Red Creek Jasper.  Others called it Rainbow Jasper, but that name has been used for years for a predominately red jasper that has been in the market for many years.  This new stone is more rainbow like than the old one, but it deserves its own new name and we will call it Red Creek Jasper.  It is tough describing it.  There are reds like other red jaspers.  There are also ivories, tans, grays, greenish grays and goldish and other browns.  For us, the best part of the stone is that there are lined patterns in it too.  This description cannot do justice to the stone.  We hope it is enough to make you come in and take a look at it for yourself.  The first sizes and shapes have just started coming out.  More are to come.  (Also note that for something new, unique and this beautiful, it is also very reasonably priced: $6 for a strand of 6mm round beads.)  We hope that there is a large supply of the stone because we hope this becomes a permanent part of everyone’s stone bead selection.

Jasper, Red Stripe - This is a predominately gray stone with dark red (almost maroon) stripes.  We only found and purchased a single shape – small squares.

Jasper, Silverleaf – The dice shape (diagonally drilled cubes) was the only new shape added this year.

Jasper, New Silverleaf - Silverleaf Jasper has always been a stone that you need to see when buying because it varies in color.  While typically tan brown and gray, it occasionally had a reddish tint.  This year a variety has been introduced that is slightly greenish and is being called New Silverleaf Jasper.  We purchased several different shapes.

Jasper, Silvermist – This is a new stone for Von’s Beads. The color is a greenish gray with black patterns- subtle, yet striking.  (Is that a contradiction?  We don’t think so for this stone.)  We do not know its country of origin.  It is more expensive than most jaspers but not inordinately.  We don’t yet have a sign on the wall but it is in the “S Jaspers and will be labeled soon.

Jasper, Snakeskin, Green – Another of our bigger new finds was this green and dark brown patterned jasper which we believe comes from China.  The exceptional quality of the material and the extremely high polish led us to buy this stone in 18different shapes and sizes.  This is definitely another stone you should look at even if you think the color is more suited for fall.  Don’t just look at the small sizes.  Take a look at some of the larger beads that can really show off the pattern.

Jasper, Spider – We only added a single new shape in this black stone with light greenish web-like patterns.

Jasper, Striped – Surreal jasper is a banded tan and reddish brown stone that is beautiful on its own.  However about a year or two ago someone in China discovered that the tan could be colored dark blue, turquoise blue or emerald green and three new “Striped Jaspers” entered the market.  We have been looking for more of the dark blue variety which sold right away last year but find that it is just not around.  We did add more of the turquoise blue plus a new lime green variety that looks great with the natural reddish brown stripes.  Conveniently, since they both begin with “s”, Surreal Jasper and Striped Jasper are hung side by side in the jasper section of stone beads in the card area of the store.

Jasper, “Sugilite” – We have added many additional shapes in this purple dyed stone.

Jasper, Surreal – We only made one new addition to our stock of this attractive banded tan and reddish brown stone.  It is a large, roughly freeform, somewhat triangular shape.  Don’t ask me what to do with it?  It was just interesting and affordable and we had to have it.

Jasper, Thunder – This is a stone we never really expected to see in beads.  The Australians have sold mineral specimens and polished slabs at high prices for years and we thought it would be too expensive as rough to chop up into little beads.  It looks more like an agate than a jasper – often with bands and it takes a high polish.  There are grays, but the predominant colors include reddish and golden tans.  Again this one is best seen to really appreciate.  We did not find small sizes but did get beautiful pieces in five or six oval, coin and rectangular shapes.

Jasper, Tiger, Red & Yellow – This is the second stone we carry that is named Tiger Jasper.  The first is more gold and brown.  The red and yellow stripes in this one could have caused it to be named Sunset Jasper too, but the classic Sunset Jasper is darker than this stone.  We only found two shapes: a 10x14mm oval and a 10x14mm rectangle.

Jasper, Wood – If it’s brown and especially if it has bands like wood grain the stone is going to have a woody name.  If this is your cup of tea, you should also check out Cedar Jasper, Rainbow Hickoyite Jasper and Woodstone.

Jasper, Zebra, Classic – Some factory names almost any new stone with stripes Zebra Jasper.  The Classic Zebra Jasper from 15 or more years ago was a dark green (almost black) with closely spaced almost silvery stripes.  This material has been virtually unavailable for the last few years.  This year at Tucson, two companies offered a stone that is probably related to Classic Zebra Jasper even if the material is not quite identical.  The green seems lighter and the bands are more widely spaced.  With thicker line widths, it was especially attractive in larger pieces.  We added very large ovals and rectangles.  We may later break these up to go out as single pieces on the table top.

Jasper, Iron Zebra – We found only a single shape of this beautiful banded ivory, tan and brown stone with occasional silvery bands of hematite.  (Hence “iron” because hematite is an iron oxide.)  This stone is so attractive that you ought to take a look at it on your next visit.  It’s not shiny; the colors aren’t super bright or gaudy, but nonetheless we find it truly striking.

Kiwi Stone – This stone is sometimes called Sesame Jasper.  It has been dyed a blue green to make it more colorful than its natural light blue-green with black spits, but now the bead manufacturers are experimenting with other colors.  Take a look at the new red coin shape we added this year.  There is also a purple.

Kunzite - Up front with our precious and semi-precious stones you will find some kunzite rounds.  They tend to be either a very pale peridot green or more commonly a pale pink – sometimes with a hint of lilac.  This year John found some larger flat nuggets that were more opaque but just as beautiful.  These nuggets are all more toward the lavender tinted pink range with none of the pale green.

Kyanite – For the first time ever we have seen kyanite prices start to come down.  We purchased kyanite in a variety of qualities, sizes and shapes and it all seemed to be more affordable than in the past.  It will take a while to get all of this material sorted, priced and put out for sale.  Maybe when it is all done we can get Raine and John to make it a bead of the week at 40% off.  There are varieties of it that vary from a beautiful blue through blue grays and even greens.  We added numerous strands with lots of color variation in a variety of qualities.
Labradorite – This was the best year ever for labradorite.  Not only was the stone showing better “fire” in the mineral specimens, but the beads had much more life.  In the past one always found strands which had a few beads which would show the vibrant characteristic reflective labradorescence as light reflected back from the spaced layers within the mineral.  Usually most of the beads were drab and plain with little iridescence or no life. This year the number of excellent beads was vastly greater.  We especially were struck by the beauty of some faceted stones.  Look for a wonderful new selection in the front counter as well as checking out the strands hung on the wall.  There are lots of additions in both places from ordinary rounds to little squares that have been drilled in a variety of ways to give the beader more options.

Lapis Lazuli – There are always rumors that the lapis supply is running out.  Most comes from Iran, Afghanistan or Chile.  We are always glad when we find more beautiful material.  We bought ten pounds of what we believe to be natural (undyed) lapis in rounds, ovals and other shapes including some especially large ones.  The deep blue color of lapis comes from the constituent mineral, lazurite. The gold seen within the blue is pyrite.  Perhaps our favorite of the new shapes is an affordable ($21) coin shape that would be perfect for bracelets or other jewelry pieces.

“Lapis” Magnesite – We have added a huge number of strands of this new colored magnesite.  The color is a beautiful lapis blue.  The color was so intense we worried about it being colorfast, so we washed these in vinegar to help set the color and then rinsed in water.  To be sure they don’t bleed, you may want to rinse them again yourself. Usually we hang all of the dyed magnesite beads by the turquoise since that was the original color to which the stone was dyed.  However, since these were so like lapis but at such a low cost we decided to hang them by the lapis lazuli so they would be convenient when you are looking for that blue.

Larimar – This rare and beautiful light blue / aqua stone is only found in the Dominican Republic.  Jewelry from it is always costly.  We thought we had a great deal last year when we were able to offer 16 inch larimar chip strands at $8, $12, $16 and $24 depending upon quality.  This year we found a factory that had made a small amount of round beads and sorted them by quality.  We negotiated for the quality that was closest to our $24 chips and were excited to get about a dozen strands total that will sell with our precious beads as specials from $24 to $30 for 7, 8 and 10mm rounds!  We hope they may do this again next year, but it is likely a one time only purchase.  

Lava Stone, Brown – Black lava stone has been a popular and affordable large and light weight stone during thelast few years.  A medium reddish brown variety mined in Indonesia is also available and we have just added a half dozen new sizes/shapes.

Magnesite – Magnesite is the most common substitute for turquoise when dyed blue.  It is attractive in its natural white form with brown or black lines.   Many colored versions are now available, but all are filed in the T’s by the turquoise, not in the M’s under magnesite.  More write up below under “Turquoise” Magnesite.

Magnesite, “Lapis” – The deep rich blues of this dyed stone are very striking.  They were so deeply colored that we were concerned about the dye not being fully set so we washed them in white vinegar to help set the color and then rinsed them twice in cold water just to make sure that the color didn’t bleed.  Still, be careful with this one.  For now, we have filed it over after the “turquoise” magnesite in the video area although we are considering moving it nest to the natural lapis lazuli.

Marble, Green – This is a new stone for us and we have added in several shapes.

Marble, Picasso – Although Picasso Marble as been around for years we don’t often see much of it.  Its colors are subtle and there are many more flashy stones.  The predominant color in Picasso Marble is gray – light to dark to full black lines and patterns.  Ivory, tan and brown are also part of the stone.  (Red Picasso Jasper is a completely unrelated stone.)  We added a small oval with the best polish we have ever seen on this stone.

Marble, Red – This is yet another new stone for us.  We have added what few shapes were available.

Mookaite – See “Jasper, Mookaite”.

Moonstone – This bead is a staple of the Indian dealers and we always buy some because it is attractive and affordable.  It may be white or gray.  The peachy tan to orangish versions are sometimes called Chinese Sunstone.  (See below.)  When white moonstone shows a rainbow reflection from its surface, the stone is called Rainbow Moonstone.  We did add some rounds, rondelles, and heishi (disks) of irregular thickness in the rainbow variety.  There are also some very nice plain and faceted drops now in the front counter.

Moonstone (Chinese Sunstone) – There is a color variety of moonstone that is sometimes referred to as sunstone or Chinese Sunstone because it is not the usual white or gray and is a bit more peachy tan or flesh colored.  If you have a better color description, please share it with us.  True sunstone is more orange.  Both are feldspar minerals.  So far we have added only a large irregular rectangle with a twist.  Many more basic shapes were added last year.  Perhaps we will find even more as we continue to check in beads.

Morganite & Aquamarine – Beryl is the mineral that is known as Aquamarine when colored with iron.   (Emerald is beryl colored with chromium.)  Morganite is the pink variety colored with manganese and named after the gem collector and banker, J. P. Morgan.  We found two strands of lovely irregular ovals of alternate aquamarine and morganite.  They are specially priced at $20 per strand and are hung with our single hank of morganite rondelles in the precious and semi-precious area at the front of the store..

Multi-Stone – Whole strands of a single stone are always the most common, but occasionally we can’t resist buying the wonderful and colorful combinations of a single shape but in a variety of stones.  New additions include square crosses, giant rounds and some drop shapes.  We also liked some nice 8mm faceted rounds.  These are filed alphabetically in the M’s under Multi-Stone.  There are also strands of beautifully faceted material now displayed in the front bead counter.

Muscovite – This mica mineral can be white but is seen in beads in the somewhat mauve or maroon variety with reddish silvery mica glints enclosed.  We added a big drop that would make quite an earring as well as a couple other new shapes.

Number Beads – We saw several stone strands carved into beads in the shape of the numbers from zero to nine.  Each number is about an inch and a half tall.  I don’t know how they will be used but they were so unique that they struck a chord and we purchased these strands in all three stone then available:  green and black Kambaba Jasper, Olive “Jade”, and Peace Stone (also sometimes called Peace Jasper or Peace Jade).  They will be filed on the wall by the appropriate stone.

Obsidian, Chinese Snowflake - Normal snowflake obsidian has white flake-like crystal growths of cristobalite within the black volcanic glass.  In the last couple years another material has entered the market with greenish spots or flakes within the black background and is marketed as Chinese Snowflake Obsidian.  We don’t really know much about the stone, but we have been adding new shapes whenever we see them.  John brought back three more from Tucson and California.

Obsidian, Coffee – We have added a few new shapes in this brownish grey stone.  It is not as red or dark as the brown in mahogany obsidian.

Obsidian, Golden – Obsidian is basically a volcanic glass that is usually a dark black and good less expensive substitute for black onyx.

Obsidian, Mahogany – We have only found one new shape of this brown and black stone to add to our collection:  an elongated narrow oval drop drilled through the top of its approximately 1 ¼ inch length.  

Opal – The new strands of opal sandwich beads that we bought this year are so unique you should ask to see them on your next visit to Von’s.  The beads are formed by sandwiching a layer of colorful opal between two layers of black onyx.  They are hanging at the front with our precious strands.

Opal, Green – We thought we bought so much African Green Opal we would not have to buy more, but what do you do when you see beautiful beads in shapes you didn’t already have?  If you are not already familiar with this stone, it is predominately brown and green – sometimes much more brown than green.  Remember that opal is primarily quartz with water molecules incorporated into its structure.  Thus it is related to all of the quartz minerals such as chrysoprase and agate.  We actually see green opal also marketed as Green Magic Agate.  We purchased this stone from several vendors to get the variety we now have.  We were especially pleased to find an exceptional new source - a Chinese factory that specializes in less common quality stones and then does a superior job of bead making.  Their polishing was extraordinarily good.  They only bring their products to the United States once per year for the Tucson show.  We especially liked some material with more interesting highly polished browns.  Incidentally, if you like predominately green stones, make sure you take a look at Dragonblood Jasper and Green Brecciated Jasper and all of the new Green Garnet as well as the growing selection of Prehnite.

Opal, Pink -  Pink opal comes from Peru and may be pink or peach or even so pale as to be almost white.  The lighter versions are often color enhanced (aka dyed).  We added a huge selection in a variety of shapes in both pink and peach.

Opalite – This is a usually clear to white material that reflects light in a somewhat opalescent manner.  It is now also available in a pink color too.  With 50 or more shapes and sizes already in the store it is surprising that John found some new shape –including a large twist diamond and several faceted shapes.  Remember that opalite is a manmade creation like goldstone.  Both of these have long histories of being used with stone beads although they are glasses.  

Peace Signs – We bought a large number of stands of stone peace signs.  Rather than file them under the individual stone, we have decided to group them together alphabetically under “Peace Sign”.  We have done this before in the case of stone flower and leaf shapes which are filed in the F’s under “Flowers and Leaves”.  We will do the same with skulls.  We have done some grouping of crosses and stars, but most are still under the individual stone.  If you want a stone heart, look under the desired stone, not under “Heart”.

Peridot – We added two affordable hanks of somewhat oval shaped nuggets plus a few more rounds.  There are also irregularly faceted rondelles. There are also a few nicely faceted strands now in the front counter.

Petrified Wood – We added a couple new shapes in the banded brown variety.  There was no sign of the reds that come from near the Petrified Forest area that we found last year.  Nonetheless, our new brown ovals are quite nice.

Pietersite – This stone that comes mainly from one location in South Africa and another in China is a kind of brecciated Tiger’s Eye.  (The tiger eye based stone was broken up and then reformed in the earth.)  Color is predominately brown or dark blue to brown but may include flashes of gold and even red.  Several new additions have been added to the wall including some nice tiny drops.

Prehnite – This usually clear light green stone is gaining in popularity and is becoming available in more and more shapes and forms.  Prehnite can also be yellow-green to yellow.  It can be cloudy and it also often contains needles of black tourmaline passing through it.  Von’s has added more shapes including a giant 20mm round version and some tiny faceted coins.  Also, in the front counter we have a number of superior quality faceted beads.

Pyrite – Take a look at the quality of all of the shiny new gold pyrite beads – ovals, coins, rounds.  There is much less black than often present in pyrite.  More striking faceted ones are displayed in the front bead counter.  Also some rough giant cubes drilled diagonally.  (If the two strands of giant cubes don’t sell as strands, we may break these up and put them out singly on the table.)  There are also large 14mm rounds.

Quartz Crystal – Von’s already has a huge selection of plain and faceted quartz, but a couple notable additions to the selection are both large rounded and faceted nuggets of unusual clarity.

“Quartz”, Blueberry – This manmade glass (not true crystalline quartz) was greatly increased last year.  We only found a couple new shapes including some short strands of big faceted rondelles and some large rectangles.

Quartz, Cat Eye – This naturally occurring gray cat eye stone is also called Eagle Eye Quartz.  That is where the strands are filed on the wall.  Look for several new shapes including small drops.

“Quartz”, Cherry – We must have over 100 hanks of this manmade glass but we found some faceted ovals, faceted eggs, a vertically drilled drop and a coin shape, about the size of a dime, that we didn’t already have.  We have them now.

Quartz, Crackle – Numerous cracks can be caused to form in Quartz crystals when heated and rapidly cooled.  The crackle appearance adds interest to what could have just looked like clear glass without the cracks.  Then to go farther, the stone is dyed to one of several pastel colors.  The new additions to our selection are strands of quartz points that have been treated in this manner.

Quartz, Dyed, Blue – In the past, much blue topaz came out of India as a color enhanced or dyed product.  It was quite clear and colored only a pale blue.  Apparently in their effort to keep costs down, the Indian factories have shifted to dyeing clear quartz instead of clear topaz to get nearly the same result.  Frankly, we can’t tell one from the other – we have to trust our suppliers as to whether the material is blue topaz or blue quartz.  This year we found virtually no budget priced topaz from any supplier we could trust.  We did buy a number of hanks of the blue quartz.

Quartz, Dyed, Purple – We added a number of different shapes in a purple dyed quartz.  After many year of having little in purple but amethyst, charoite and lepidolite, lots of attractive dyed stones are coming to market including dyed crazy lace agate and dyed magnesite as well as this quartz.  This variety is quite opaque – not at all like the transparent material mentioned above as a substitute for blue topaz.

v“Quartz”, Fire Cherry – This manmade glass starts much like cherry “quartz”, but then adds swirls of a fiery orange to the typical pinkish red of cherry “quartz”.  We have added a couple new shapes.

“Quartz”, Green – Cherry “Quartz” was the first of the manmade “fruity” glasses and its popularity led to Blueberry “Quartz”, Pineapple “Quartz”, Green Apple “Quartz” and more.  We’ve added several new shapes with green swirls, but they differ from what we had been calling Green Apple “Quartz” so this one will merely be labeled Green “Quartz” without the “Apple”.

Quartz, Lemon – We are seeing more of an attractive yellow variety of quartz.  Sometimes it is mixed with smoky quartz.  It usually shows up only in jewelry and in faceted beads.  Look for lemon quartz with most other quality faceted materials in a tray in the front counter

Quartz, Rose – With several thousand strands of rose quartz, we were not expecting to add much new.  The one notable new addition is a group of briolettes made in India.  Most are smooth drops, but a few are faceted. Judging by the superior quality of the material, we suspect the rose quartz came from Madagascar.  These are displayed inside the front counter.

Quartz, Rutilated – When tiny needles of red or gold rutile grow through clear crystal quartz, the resultant material is known as rutilated quartz.  Since we already had several hundred strands of rutilated quartz on the wall, we added only a few special faceted strands which are on display in the front bead counter.

Quartz, Seaweed – This was a favorite new material from about two or three years ago.  Clear quartz with gently curving lines of green throughout made an attractive new addition to the beader’s palette.  We have added only a single new twist shape to our extensive collection.

Quartz, Smoky – Our biggest additions in smoky quartz are in magnificent faceted stones which are mainly in the front counter.  Out on the wall you will find new hanks of tiny drops and inexpensive roughly rectangular shaped beads cut in India.  Most India cutting is by hand and the budget strands are often very irregular while the nicer faceted stones can be spectacular.

Quartz, Yellow – We keep adding new things whenever we see them This year we notably added giant 18 and 20mm rounds.

Rhodochrosite – The only new addition in natural rhodochrosite is full 32 inch strands of good quality chips at $16.95.  We also added a large nuber of cabochons, but these re not yet out.  The biggest news in rhodochrosite is in the “enhanced” material discussed below.  

“Rhodochrosite”, Enhanced – Virtually all rhodochrosite comes from a small area in Argentina.  There are a few crystals that are found in Colorado and other places, but the bead, jewelry and carving material all has come from Argentina.  The beautiful banded pink patterns and rarity have made it a costly stone.  The word is now out that a find has been made in China, but the stone is so pale that all of the bands are virtually variations on white.  However the Chinese have “enhanced” (dyed) this new find so that it is similar to the material from Argentina – the pink is a deeper red.  We first saw jewelry that must have been made from this material in Quartzite and then in Los Angeles.  Then when the Tucson shows started we found one Chinese dealer that had bead strands at half the price of the Argentina material.  Plus, they even had the material in shades of blue and of yellow. We only brought back a single strand of yellow for illustrative purposes but picked up more of the blue and lots of the reddish pink.  Some of the pink was less banded and more clear like the very most expensive natural material.  The clear rounds are unique.  When we went back to California we found that more of the material had just arrived and included some rounds that were clear to translucent.  If made from clear red rhodochrosite crystals from Colorado these beads would cost $10 to $20 per bead!  It was these clear beads that made us start to wonder if the material which so imitiated the Argentina find was really rhodochrosite.  Note that the much more common calcite (calcium carbonate) closely imitates rhodochrosite (manganese carbonate).  They both have the same crystal structure.  They both have the same optical properties.  They both can form stalactites and stalagmites, although rhodochrosite was only previously found this way in Argentina.  Because this new material so much resembles calcite stalagmites, we are labeling it with quotes around the word “rhodochrosite” to indicate that is what it is being called, but it may, at least in part, be calcite and not pure rhodochrosite.
    About dyed  material – There are “natural purists” who want no dyed material, but we have come to appreciate that some of these materials are truly wonderful.  Consider all of the clothing we wear.  Consider black onyx which is a basic in jewelry and beading from a time over 800 years ago when the Germans in Idar Oberstein learned that agate could be permeated by a sugar solution and that when then soaked in sulfuric acid the hydrogen and oxygen were pulled out of the sugar molecules as water leaving opaque black carbon behind.  Presto:  black onyx, a wonderful dyed material that most people think of as 100% natural.  If it is done well, dying can be a plus.  

Rhodonite – Pink or sometimes pink with black lines, rhodonite is another manganese colored mineral like rhodochrosite.  One new shape we added this year was dice (diagonally drilled cubes).  A twist shape is also knew. There are also some browner colored nuggets.  

Rhyolite, Blue – “Blue” is somewhat of an exaggeration.  Compared to the regular rhyolite (also called Rainforest Jasper) which is quite green, this stone is bluish in part, but the blue is more a pale gray blue most closely resembling some chalcedony.  We added 8mm rounds and a couple other shapes.  We will continue to build our selection as we find more of this stone.

Ruby – We have added some new mauve colored rounds.  Also there are new things and some unusual shapes in the precious stone area at the front of the store – both on the wall and in the counter.

Ruby Apatite - We have ruby beads and ruby zoisite and ruby fuchsite.  The latter two have red ruby spots in the background greenish to brownish zoisite or fuchsite minerals.  Now for the first time ever we have found beads made from the blue Brazilian apatite with red ruby included.  No one has made beads before because this variety of apatite does not take a good polish.  One enterprising Chinese company purchased a container of the material, polished it as far as possible and then varnished it to give a glossier surface as is done with Chinese Azurite.  The result is a gorgeous new addition to the beader’s palette with red ruby in blue apatite.  If you are looking for something unique that no one has ever seen before, check out this material.  We purchased it in every shape and size we could get – a total of 12, mostly oval but also coin, drop, tube and rectangle.

Ruby Fuchsite – We added a couple new shapes of red ruby in a green fuchsite base.

Septarian -  Septarians are found in Utah and in Madagascar.  The stone is made up of three different minerals.  A gray siltstone which formed cracks or crevices which later filled with two different varieties calcium carbonate - a yellow calcite and a brown aragonite.  We’ve seen bookends and carvings in the past and are now glad this stone has entered the beader’s world.

Seraphinite – This rare stone comes from Siberia.  The silvery green feather-like pattern probably gave it its jewelry name as someone thought of angel wings.  Chemically it is known as clinochlore.  Although we did add some nice new tiny rectangles and some coin shaped beads, John was most excited about some large slabs of seraphinite that will be going into our rock collection.  He also picked up some tumbled stones.  

Shell – Shiva eye beads may have some mystical significance but John bought these Silvermouth Shell beads because of their appearance.  Three different size/shapes are hung just to the right when you enter the stuffed animal room.  Another new type of shell bead added to Von’s was Mother of Pearl that had been imprinted with a design – leopard skin, grids, …  Because these looked like fun, John added a few to see what you would think.  They are also located just to the right as you enter the stuffed animal room.

Skulls – We bought quite a few strands of colorful beads shaped as skulls – not as many as peace signs, but still enough to consider filing them as a unit.  In the past we have usually placed most shapes on the wall by stone.  We did move all flower and leaf shaped beads to the stone wall alphabetically under “Flowers”.  So now, we are also creating a section for skulls in the “S’s”.  Bone skulls are still with bone beads.  Some very large stone bead skulls are sold separately and are in the case predominately featuring stone animals and rock and mineral specimens at the front of the store.

Soapstone –This is a relatively soft stone that is often used for carvings but rarely for beads.  Since we want to have everything we grabbed these when we saw them.

Stromatolite – This brown stone with black lines is a form of fossilized algae.  We have had pendants in the past but this is the first time we have had beads.

Sunstone – We added only a couple new strands of this fiery orange stone.  Most comes from India, although sunstone is also the state stone of Oregon.

Tanzanite – It is a shame that beautiful blue tanzanite is rare and hence costly.  We have added several beautiful new strands including some nice ovals and some faceted stones.  Not all are out yet.  They will be hung at the front with ruby, emerald and other precious stones.

Tektite – Tektites originate from meteor strikes.  Originally people thought they were part of the meteor but later realized they were formed from melted sand and earth created when the meteor struck.  Moldavite is the green one found in Czechoslovakia.  Most tektites come from Thailand and are lumpy black pieces.  This was the first year we ever saw them made into beads.  Of course we had to add a few strands.  

Tiger Eye – With our already huge selection of tiger eye it was surprising that we found more that we could not resist.  The large golden rectangles were the most striking visually that we had ever seen.  We also added superb quality in several sizes of squares and rectangles that were made up of alternately red and gold tiger eye.  There is also a faceted irregular hexagon slab shape that we have had before, but bought again because of better quality.  In addition we found dice (diagonally drilled cubes) and a tiny little donut complete with hole in the middle.

Tiger Iron – We added a few new shapes including a very nice new small coin shape.  The “iron” in the name comes from the silvery bands of hematite (an iron ore) within this predominately red stone.

Topaz, Blue - Budget priced strands of pale blue topaz have been coming out of India for years.  The stone is virtually always dyed and strung on blue thread to make it look bluer.   We are now seeing blue dyed quartz more often than the dyed topaz.  We did find some small ovals this year that we believe to be topaz, not the quartz substitute that seems to be a substitute that is replacing topaz from most Indian suppliers.

Tourmaline – As usual, John always looks for more of this colorful stone.  Multicolored strands are always added, but this time he also purchased many single color strands including pink, green and even yellow.  Many are on the wall but others including some nice drops and faceted ones are either hanging by the front counter or are in trays inside the front counter.

Turquoise – Although we have huge amounts of turquoise, most of our oval nuggets were quite large.  John purchased 30 attractive smaller ones in true Chinese Turquoise (not “Turquoise” Magnesite which is primarily what is coming out of China and being sold as if it were turquoise.)  These will be hung in the video/record area under Turquoise.

“Turquoise” Magnesite – Blue dyed magnesite is now the most common substitute for turquoise.  Many dealers were selling this product as real turquoise, but it is a totally different chemical.  It is much more affordable than real turquoise and looks like the real thing.  Ours is always labeled with the word “turquoise” in quote marks to distinguish it from the real thing.  We already add several thousand strands but did find a square shape that is new to Von’s.

“Turquoise”, Green (Magnesite – Another dyed variety of magnesite which has been typically a more gaspeite or lime green color is now also showing up in a more typical green.  We added strands of ovals and of a large pear shaped drop just to name a couple.  Look for the colored NEW tags.

“Turquoise”, White (Magnesite) – What is commonly known as “White Turquoise” is not chemically related to turquoise at all.  It is magnesite, an entirely different mineral, and we refer to it as “White Turquoise” Magnesite to both describe and name properly.  Visually this mineral is white with dark veins similar to those in much turquoise and it is very attractive in many jewelry designs.  It is often dyed blue as a substitute for true turquoise.  You will also find versions in a variety of other colors, but John prefers the natural white.  Another plus is that it is often quite affordable – much less costly than turquoise - comparable to most inexpensive stones.  John purchased numerous new shapes and sizes.  It is filed in the record and video department after regular turquoise.

Unakite – This stone made up of green epidote and pinkish orange feldspar has been around as bead material for many many years.  .  The color combination may not be for everybody since guys seem to respond to it more than gals.   In any event, we continue to add new shapes when we see them.  This year it was only strands of oval drops – longer ones, about 1 ½ inch long were spaced with shorter ones about 7/8 inch long.  We also added this shape in red jasper, denim jasper, paintbrush jasper, multi-stone, black agate and fossil jasper.

Vessonite – This green bead is formed from a variety of garnet.  The story goes that about a dozen years ago a pocket of the material was found by someone named Vanson and the material was sold as Vansonite or Vansuanite.  We wonder if the story is apocryphal or if Vessonite is just a corruption of the earlier name.  At any rate, if you like the stone, check in the bead shop on the wall in the Garnet section as well as in the record and video department where Vessonite falls near the end of the alphabet.

Zirconia – Laboratory grown zirconium dioxide crystals are commonly known as cubic zirconia or CZ.  (Zirconium silicate is the mineral zircon.)  Growing crystals is not an easy job since it takes a temperature of 2750º C to melt CZ.  However, the process was perfected by Russian scientists in 1973.  It has been the best diamond substitute since commercial production began in 1976, however recently synthetic moissanite is now also being used.  Zirconia is very clear, very hard, very heavy and takes coloration beautifully.  (Note that it is almost six times as heavy as water, more than one and a half times heavier than diamond and disperses light more than diamond.)  When buying stones by weight, we often wish they were not so heavy.   It doesn’t take a very big bead to start weighing quite a few carats.  (A carat is 1/5of a gram, thus 5000 carats per kilogram.)  We purchased over 5000 carats of faceted beads in a variety of sparkling colors.  Jessica wants the purple.  Raine was nearly blinded by the fiery orange.  John loves the greens.  The pinks were so sparkly and feminine we think even Steve’s masculinity will not allow him to handle them.  Paula could only say “Shocking”.  Nancy’s eyes grew big as she started thinking what she could make with them.  Jane wanted to know when we were going to have them ready so they could be purchased.  Allison probably went right to the computer to see how they were grown and how stable was the crystal structure. Erica, Hannah and Kristina have not yet seen them.  Jerry just shook his head and said, “John, you have no self control when it comes to buying beads.”  It is true.
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