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All About Gemstones



Many experienced Rosary Makers love to create Fine and High-end Rosaries using Sterling or Gold Parts and Genuine Gemstone Beads, and other Specialty Handmade Beads. While this list cannot include all the lovely gemstones to be found, these are some of our favorites.



African Jade

Aventurine   Often mistaken for jade, aventurine is a granular green or blue semi-translucent to mostly opaque quartz stone with mica flecks that cause a slight metallic iridescence.

 Bloodstone    A variety of chalcedony that is dark green red spots resembling blood.

 Carnelian  A translucent red or orange variety of chalcedony, sometimes banded red and orange like an agate.

Cat's Eye    Any of a variety of gems, such as chrysoberyl and some forms of chalcedony, that are chatoyant when cut in a rounded shape.

Chrysanthemum Stone

Coral   Coral is a form of calcium carbonate, (like aragonite or marble), secreted in long chains by coral polyps, who live in colonies under the ocean.Coral comes in colors from vivid orange, red, and white, to salmon and pale pink (called angelskin coral). Imitation coral is made from glass, porcelain, or plastic

Crystal   A fine, high-quality glass invented in 17th century England. In order to be considered crystal rather than simple glass, the product must contain at least 10% lead oxide. The lead oxide is attributed to providing the glass with extraordinary qualities of brilliance, sound and a suitable texture for cutting or engraving. There are about 200 kinds of crystal.

Cultured Pearl    Created through a painstaking process of mimicking the natural pearl process in live mollusks. A pearl is formed as a result of implanting a piece of mantle from a mollusk into another host mollusk.

Freshwater Pearl    An irregularly shaped pearl formed naturally by a mussel living in a lake or river. 

Mother-of-pearl   Hard, iridescent substance that forms on the inside layer of a pearl-bearing mollusk.

Hematite   Iron ore consisting of ferric oxide in crystalline form, hematite is silvery, shiny opaque stone that becomes a red powder when ground down. It manifests in splendent rhombohedral crystals that are very heavy and cold to the touch.

Howlite Howlite is soft and takes on rich hues of color when it's dyed, it can be an inexpensive alternative to more costly stones. Its natural color is like snow softly falling. Dyed, it looks like lapis lazuli or cherry red coral .


Jade   An opaque semiprecious gemstone which is usually found in shades of green, but can be also be found in lavender and rose shades

Jasper   From the Hebrew word "yashpheh", meaning "glittering". Jasper is an opaque, impure, cryptocrystalline variety of quartz that may be red, yellow, or brown. It breaks with a smooth surface and can be highly polished like marble.

Leopard Jasper 


Lapis Lazuli   A royal blue opaque semiprecious stone with white veins or patches of calcite and a few gold-looking metallic flecks of pyrite. Lapis can be dyed to enhance the color.

Lilac Stone

Malachite   A hydrous carbonate of copper, malachite is an opaque green stone characterized by bands of light and dark green which have very pronounced contrast and are often concentric.

Metallic  There are two basic definitions. A material composed of metal is "metallic", but the term is also used for beads displaying a reflective, shiny, lustrous appearance, like a metal would, which may be made of some other material, such as plastic. Beads come in a variety of true metals, such as sterling silver, and 14 carat gold. 

Moonstone   A transparent, slightly iridescent, milky white variety of feldspar with white or light blue opalescent spots.

Onyx   A semiprecious variety of chalcedony quartz that is a used often in jewelry. When chalcedony is variegated with with spots or figures, or arranged in differently colored layers, it is called agate; and if by reason of the thickness, color, and arrangement of the layers it is suitable for being carved into cameos, it is called onyx.   Black Onyx can appear opaque or translucent.

Opal   An amorphous non-crystalline variety of silica which is softer and less dense than quartz. Opals are known for their distinctive iridescent luminous qualities which are actually inclusions that can refract light in a rainbow of colors, called "fire", that change with the angle of observation. Opals contain a large amount of water and susceptible to cracking.


Quartz - Rose Quartz   The family name for crystals composed of silica or silicon dioxide occurring in hexagonal crystals.  The crystalline varieties include: amethyst, ametrine, citrine, rose quartz, and smoky quartz.

Rhodonite A rose-red to pale violet variety of pyrope garnet

Snowflake Obsidian



 Tiger's Eye   A semiprecious variety of quartz found in South Africa. It may be yellowish-brown, bluish, or red in color with bands of darker and lighter shades across its surface. It has a silky luster, and catches the light causing the changeable luster due to the way it reflects light

Tortoise Shell    A mottled, nutty brown shell material with a spotted, striped, or sometimes even speckled pattern.  There are very close plastic imitations of tortoiseshell. One technique to differentiate tortoise from its imitators is to touch the surface with a hot pinpoint. Tortoise will give off a smell like burning hair, while plastic will emit an acrid chemical odor.

Turquoise    A hydrous aluminum phosphate colored by copper salts found in desert regions throughout the world and used by the natives who live there. Different colors of turquoise, varying from sky blue to nearly green occur in untreated turquoise. Brown or grey streaks in turquoise are caused by the "matrix", or "mother stone", from which the turquoise is mined. Interesting matrix patterns are considered to add beauty to the stone.  Modern turquoise stones that appear very shiny and absolutely flawless are man-made.

Unakite    An opaque stone composed of pink feldspar, green epidote, and quartz. 



Sadly enough, some vendors will sell imitation Gemstones without letting you know. Imitations are very beautiful, but when sold as the real thing, its highway robbery!