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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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Ethics and Integrity

Trials of Selling Beads

The funny, frustrating and enlightening emails we receive from people new to buying gemstone beads. This is like the opposite of our "love letters" or testimonial page.

These Aren’t Glass

Gemstone beads at Magpie

We love our clients, don't get us wrong. Yet, as you all know, dealing with the public can always have it's “moments”. Now you all know that this is not about any of you! It's funny questions, responses, and discussions we have with those “other” people.

Most of the time we enjoy them and know they are part of it all and appreciate the opportunity to educate new clients or people new to gemstones.

These are the same questions (or surprisingly similar) that have repeated themselves over the last few decades. Maybe, just maybe, one of “them” will read this first and their question will be answered? It's time to vent in a good way hopefully. Some of the comments we receive from folks are simply amazing. I hope you get a chuckle from them too.


“Your Amber isn’t real, it melted when I lit it on fire and it is way too light in weight”.

Of course, we did our best to educate her that Amber is very very old tree sap and it does melt and it is very light in weight. She assured me that the Amber she had been buying was heavy and mine was inferior. All you can do at this point is nod and refund.

“I can't use these Amethysts they have things inside.”

New gemstone buyers often complain that the beads from me have cracks deep inside or maybe an inclusion. A very common concern is the naturally healed fractures in gemstones. Similar to a break in a bone healing in animals, stones can fracture and heal the fracture during their thousands of years in the ground. These are sometimes surface fractures or within the bead itself. No, they are not eye clear as glass is or as the highest grade of gemstone is that is seldom made into a bead. Often they also assure me they have been buying eye clear Amethyst for $4 a strand and mine are much inferior. "Mine aren't glass".

“How can I possibly design with these low-grade Labradorite. They keep changing color. It didn't show THAT on your website”.

Hmmm, what to say? I really was speechless on this one. She insisted I send her green Labradorites with none of that color changing "stuff". I told her I didn't sell low-grade Labradorite so she would have to return them for a refund and buy them elsewhere. I apologized for the hassle.

“How come your rubies are so expensive? I get rubies for $4 a strand”.

I would buy them all at that price, send me your supplier. What you have there is glass. "How do you know?"

“The hole on the 6mm Sapphire briolette I bought from you has a tiny piece missing on one of the holes.”

Can you imagine drilling holes in those itty bitty beads? I want you to drill a hole in a stone and see how you fare. This is a common occurrence in natural stone and, yes, if the stone is absolutely amazing and the facets are nicely done I will by them with a small chip in the hole. If you want perfect holes in your briolettes, I suggest buying glass or AAA grade quality. Again I am usually assured that the ones they buy have "huge" perfect holes and they are natural Sapphires for $3 a strand. Wonder why they bought mine then?

“I need a necklace that is 18 inches long and you only sell 16 inches, that is frustrating.”

I am sure it is. Once you add a clasp and some other beads you will have 18 inches. Maybe buy two strands of beads and you can then make a matching bracelet and earrings! “You mean I have to MAKE these?” Yep, these are loose beads for jewelry designers to make jewelry from. “Oh well, you should have put that in your listing.” Yes, yes, I think I should. Check out my client's blog and maybe one of the designers that buy from me would love to make you a necklace. "Can't you just do that for me?"

“Your turquoise is too expensive. I can buy big blue and pink and orange and purple nuggets at the bead show for a lot less than your turquoise. Here is a picture of what I bought”.

Wow, very nice dyed magnesite you have there, but it isn’t turquoise. "How am I supposed to know what is turquoise and what isn't?" Check out our articles on turquoise here! Learn About Turquoise, Turquoise Comparison, Turquoise Fire Test.

“What mine does that new Magnesite Turquoise come from?”

The things I want to say are often not what I do say. At least they half know it's Magnesite.

“These labradorite rondelles aren’t 4mm. Here is a picture for you with a 4mm cube next to them and as you see, the labradorite 4mm rondelles are much smaller I am very unhappy”.

I am sorry you are unhappy! Hmmm, if a 4mm rondelle measured 4 x 4, I do believe that would be a barrel or tube shape, not rondelle shape. Do you have a caliper, the diameter is 4mm?  Rondelles, rounds, coins, heishi, discs, donuts, wheels, tires, all those round cuts are measured by the diameter. Sometimes the thickness is given, sometimes not. Figure 30% to 50% of the diameter for the thickness as a general rule for a rondelle. So 8mm diameter, the thickness would be? Yes, this is a test.

“Can you please send me 17 inches of Garnets instead of the 16 inches I ordered?”

Of course, we can but you will have to buy another strand. “Just charge me for one more inch!” Ok, I will just take it off the next person's strand. Um, well no maybe not.

“I need two lapis lazuli faceted 28mm rondelles. Can you have these made up for me?”

Sure, we will call the factory, send them a picture, email them the dimensions, negotiate the grade of the stone, the factory will tool up just to make those two beads for you, then we will import them. They will be a mere 179.00 for each bead. We will need 50% down. We never hear back from them. I don't know why.

“I wanted to make earrings from a pair of the hand carved elephant beads you sell for 99 cents but one elephant's trunk is a half a millimeter longer than the other, I want my money back”.

These are hand carved stone elephants for less than 50 cents each. Tell you what, make the earrings, put them on and see if you can tell the 1/2mm difference in the two hand cut beads. If you can then head over to another supplier and buy plastic ones and I will give you your money back. You can keep the beads.

“I want you to make a tutorial on how you made the necklace you posted on your jewelry website and I need it now since I have to make a necklace for my daughter's wedding next week”.

Sometimes these include a threat of wanting to buy the beads but they won't unless they also know how to make the necklace. It usually also includes an "I am a BIG client and I will buy a LOT from you if you do this". Never mind I have a business, family, and a home to take care of too. I will drop whatever I am doing and get right on it for you. My Russian friend used to say “Do you want me to shove a broom up my butt and sweep the floor while I am at it?” That saying, only said in my head, of course, makes me giggle.

“The 8mm rondelle big hole are too small and the holes are not BIG”.

I think you wanted an 8mm hole in an 8mm rondelle? Well, I’m real sorry about that. Maybe you were looking for HUGE hole beads and you are not familiar with gemstone cut measurements. Trust me, an 8mm rondelle that you can get leather through is a BIG hole bead, in fact, a 1mm hole as stated in the listing.

“I want my money back, I put the Emeralds on memory wire and now they are breaking.”

Wow, you got a memory wire through those emeralds? That is too cool. Yet probably the bending back and forth of that wire might be the culprit. Emeralds are very brittle. "Well let me know when you get better ones in." 0_o

“I want my money back, I bought 4mm garnet rounds and I can't get them on my memory wire (leather cord, yarn, 16 gauge wire, etc etc) These are horrible beads! It's not worth the cost of mailing them back as they were only $1.99 and the shipping would be more than that”.

Sigh. How about a store credit, and in the future, you might want to only buy from the Big Hole Beads Page.

“These beads are NOT 3mm. They are tiny!”

Pictures on the internet are deceiving I know. 3mm, I assure you is a tiny bead. There are 25mm to an inch. Here is a handy dandy chart to check sizes. If you flip over the business card sent with your order there is also a ruler and a picture showing bead sizes on there! Do you have a caliper to measure the ones you got? We might have sent you the wrong ones but if we did they would be bigger than 3mm since that is the smallest we carry.

“Your sterling hook clasp are inferior. Every time I try to open them to put it on my necklace they break. I tried with three and they all broke. I want my money back.”

The listing says they are soldered, that means they don't come apart. “ How am I suppose to put them on the necklace then?” Check out this tutorial on how to string jewelry.

“I am a big designer (oh-oh) and I need 400 of those turquoise cabochons # __. They all have to match. I see you have some for $12 each. I need them for $3 each. Also the need two holes drilled in the front so I can use them as buttons. I am in a bit of a hurry, I need them in two weeks.”

You really don't want to hear my response. It took 3 hours to explain the whole turquoise supply, how turquoise is formed, how cabs are made and why a custom order would actually cost more. I am pretty sure she thought I was lying.

“Your beads do not have holes in them. All the other beads I have bought from reputable dealers had holes. How am I suppose to use these? It is useless to me.”

Can you give me your order number and I will check on the beads you bought? Oh, what you bought was cabochons. “Well I am sending them back and I want you to put the holes in.”

“I use to buy from you then found beads cheaper elsewhere. Many of them have broken, dyed my neck, or just don't look like what they show in the pictures. I am back and I want you to know I really appreciate your beads and your integrity.”

Oh, I love hearing this one! Luckily we hear this or a variation of way more often than all the others combined.

“I buy a lot of beads and I want to know who your suppliers are so I can buy from them directly. I will give you $20 for the name.”

Lets see we have spent the last 20 years developing relationships with these folks. Many have large minimum and others refuse to take on new clients. One of our suppliers fired his difficult wholesale accounts as he is in semi-retirement. All I would have to do to get canned by him is to refer others to him. There is a reason they don't do retail. Read the questions above. At this point they usually attack me saying I am anti-capitalist and shouldn't be scared of competition.


Relationship development is important to us and we put effort into this aspect of the trade. From our many clients who got through the learning curve to our suppliers. It pays off when a supplier says “take a look at this box” that is sitting under a table full of goodies and closes it out to us and we pass the price on to you. We won’t jeopardize these relationships. At the same time, we often suggest where to look for something that we don’t stock from other suppliers we know to be reputable. Of course, for every one of these experiences, there are many many more of you who appreciate the way we are. We can’t please everyone yet we still try. Some folks just want to be unhappy I guess.

Oh, the thickness on an 8mm rondelle would be 2.4mm to 4mm most of the time.[grin]

I LOVE my client's, even the ones that ask these questions!



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