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Hi, I just happened across your site while getting ideas for my wire wrap gemstones and sea glass.

The fact that you give away information, don’t insist personal information, has bought my business already.

To add to the joy (yes, I’m prone to hyperbole but I’m absolutely enchanted with your business model), you add stone treatment information rather than burying it somewhere.

It’s very important to me to be able to tell my customers the what’s been done to their stones, the quality, source and composition of the gems they buy.

I believe I’m the only vendor to have the FCC and AGIA disclosure booklets available at any festival I’ve attended.

You have a customer now and, if OK, I will use your page on stone treatments, with proper attribution of course, as a handout at my next festival the end of this month.

Brightest blessings,


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Stone Treatment Codes

(B) block
(C) coated
(D) dyed
(E) enhanced
(H) heated
(I) irradiation
(F) infused
(M) man made - synthetic
(N) natural
(O) oiled
(P) pressed
(S) stabilized
(W) waxed

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Photo Tips

Advice on how to take photos of beads and jewelry

Ky showing off the camera that we use at Magpie Gemstones
We are asked at least once a week how we get such great pictures of our beads. Taking pictures of jewelry and gemstones is not all that difficult with the proper set up.


I use a point and shoot camera, a Canon SX130. I like this camera because it has a manual white balance setting and an aperture setting so I can get the depth without the subject blurring. You can still find these for sale new, second hand, or refurbished online.


I use a photo cube or tent, one of those white tents and daylight florescent lights, one on each side of the photo tent. I got a couple of clamp on light fixtures at Office Depot for this purpose.


The set up we use for taking pictures of beads at Magpie Gemstones

I have the aperture setting at 5.6. I then set the white balance using a white typing paper. I then set the camera on a tripod and always use the macro setting for jewelry and gemstone pictures.


As the pictures are going on the internet, the resolution is set at the lowest setting so the pictures upload quickly.


For cropping and sharpening up the pictures, I then use Irfanview which is a free program on the internet. Here is the link to the web site.


So its really not that difficult. You will need a camera with manual white balance, manual aperture setting, and a macro setting for the closeup pictures, along with the photo cube and lights.


the set up we use to take photos of our beads at Magpie Gemstones


Then start playing! Take lots of pictures, move the lighting around, use different camera angles and backgrounds. Open up some pictures in Irfanview and play there too.


Happy picture taking!

Ky ~wholesale bead store~


I recommend Black and White Photography, by Henry Horenstein for an easy to understand description of aperture and depth of field. Even if you have an all auto camera, you'll have a better understanding of what's going on when you take pictures. It's pretty cheap used on Amazon. The new edition has info on digital. I bought mine in 1992, back in the dark ages!
 (Check out her blog she has some great advice on photography.)
Olympus SP-350 is what I use, it also has manual white balance (well, on
touch WB...where you aim at something white and click) plus a manual
setting to skew it toward blue or red (blue removes yellow tinge). It
also has options to do manual apeture etc. I'm sure it's discontinued as you can probably get it fairly inexpensively on ebay etc.
Mine came with a power adapter so I don't have to run through all the
batteries! Make sure whatever camera you have has a macro/supermacro
setting for closeups as well!

 I have started to use a grey card. Our techs left us a Kodak/Tiffin 
Gray Scale kit for calibrating digital copiers/printers. I just place 
it in the photo (it's getting cropped out anyway) and no matter how 
schizophrenic my white balance gets, I can get back to "close to 
normal" with just a few clicks in Photoshop. What a life and time-
saver that's turned out to be!
It's not perfect though.


Hi Ky.
Thanks for the informative article on photography. I wanted to add some info. I just bought a cool pics Nikon without doing too much research and found out
that the macro setting on it is not very good for jewelry photos. I did some research and found out Canon is better at macro mode. I know this is true from experience cuz my old camera that died was a canon and it did much better than my new CoolPix 12MP  Nikon. SO I am returning it and getting another Canon.
Just thought you might wanna know.
Thanks again for the good info,

Mary Ellen Freundl

**Contributing authors are noted and linked to in the articles they wrote. All articles are copyright. You can reprint these articles as long as the original author is sited and a link to their site and this website is included. The name Magpie Gemstones must be used as the hypertext


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