14kt gold is the solid gold standard in the United States. It contains 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts non gold metal, making it 58.3% pure gold.
19.25kt gold is the gold standard in some parts of Europe, including Portugal. It contains 19.25 parts pure gold and 4.75 parts non-gold metal, making it 80.2% pure gold. High karat gold is generally more yellow than lower karatages, and is also softer.
22Kt Gold Plated Sterling is a Sterling Silver base product electroplated with 22kt gold plating. Electroplating coats the base product with an extremely thin layer of gold. 22Kt Gold Plated Sterling items have the yellow brilliance of high karat gold at a fraction of the cost; yet, the product is of much higher quality than plated base metals since the 22Kt Gold Plated Sterling base is Sterling Silver. Electroplated items are not lifetime products, the metal coating will wear off eventually depending on how often the product is worn and how well it is cared for.
Bali Beads "Bali" style beads use designs that are not actually exclusive to Bali. These designs are hundreds of years old and have appeared throughout the middle east and Asia. The word Bali started being used to describe the style because tourists commonly bought silver jewelry items while vacationing on Bali beaches.
Bohemian-This word is traditionally used to describe products from the Bohemian region of Europe, more specifically the Western Czech Republic. Bohemian glass is highly sought after because of its quality and wide variety of creative designs.
Canework is a general term used to describe the technique of using slices of glass cane cross sections in a piece of glass art. Canes come in thousands of colors and designs, therefore there are many looks one can achieve through cane use.
Casting is the complex process used to make many metal jewelry components. Cast items must be made using a series of molding and finishing steps. A master die maker first makes a rubber, or metal mold for an item. These molds are used to make wax replicas of the final item. These wax pieces are then assembled into a "tree" which is placed in a container and filled with a holding material. Molten metal is then poured into the container, which melts away the wax and fills the spaces remaining. These rough metal pieces then must be broken apart and polished, sometimes for many days, before they are finished.
Cubic zirconia is a high quality synthetic stone that is very hard and mimics the appearance of diamonds. It is much more reflective than glass or crystal and therefore sparkles more brilliantly. Cubic Zirconia is not a naturally occurring substance, it is man-made.
Cut Glass Cut glass items are manufactured using precision cutting machines to literally cut facets onto the surface of a glass bead, much like the process of cutting gems.
Diamond Cut Diamond cut finishing is an effect used to give metal items a flashy appearance. Manufacturers use lasers, or diamond wheel cutting, to cut tiny wedges out of the surface of an item. These cut surfaces are highly reflective and catch the light with even the slightest turn.
Die-Cut Die-cut items are manufactured by feeding a strip of metal sheet through a machine press that stamps out shapes between dies. Master tool and die makers craft these dies to the exact specifications of a product design.
Electroplate Electroplating is a process used to coat a base product with a very thin layer of another metal. Electroplate finishes must be cared for with extra attention in order to prolong the life of the product. Electroplating will eventually rub off, as it is not a lifetime product.
Eye Beads Eye designs originate from thousands of years ago in the area between the Middle East and North India. Dozens of cultures in this region used eye designs to ward off the "evil eye" and guard from sorcery.
Fire Polish Fire polish beads are faceted glass beads that are usually machine cut and then polished or tumbled to round the edges of the facets so they are less sharp. This gives the bead a slightly softer appearance while still maintaining the flashy, light-catching properties of cut glass.
Foilcore Foilcore beads are lampwork items that include a thin layer of foil embedded in the center of the bead. Silver foil is made from some grade of precious silver, while gold foil is usually made from 18kt gold, or higher. Since the foil is inside the glass, it will not wear away or fade.
Gauge A unit of measure used to describe the diameter of a slender object (such as wire or a hypodermic needle). Please see our Product Information section conversion charts for conversions of gauges into inches and millimeters
Gold-Filled Gold-filled is a United States layered gold product that is gaining popularity throughout the Americas, Asia and Europe. It is a quality material that is common in all types of jewelry. The product is easy to care for and will maintain its golden shine for a lifetime.
Gold-filled is constructed in two or three layers. The core metal is jewelers brass. A gold alloy is then bonded to one or both surfaces of the brass core with heat and pressure. The bonded raw material is then sold as sheet or wire to jewelry manufacturers for use in designs.
Gold-filled is legally required to contain 5% or 1/20 gold by weight. This 5% is then described by the karatage of the gold alloy. Most gold-filled is 12kt or 14kt gold-filled. It is most accurately labeled with the karatage, the "/" symbol, and then 20 to reflect this construction. Products are identified as 14/20 Gold-filled or 12/20 Gold-Filled; alternatively, 14kt Gold-Filled or 12kt Gold-Filled are also acceptable.
Heishe Heishe is a type of small disk bead that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Heishe beads were originally made from shell and stone thousands of years ago in a labor intensive process of cutting and grinding. Today, metal heishe is usually cast. Heishe beads can be used to make necklaces with a heavy roped appearance, or they can be used individually as spacers to create a variety of effects.
Lampwork Lampwork beads are handmade by skilled artisans who work molten glass around a wire or mandrel to shape and add color and design components. Since they are handmade, each bead is a unique work of art. Variance in size, color and shape should be expected in lampworked items.
Liquid silver (and Liquid Gold) Liquid silver is the phrase used to describe small tubular beads that are commonly strung together on multi-strand necklaces to give a very soft look, like cascading water; hence the name "liquid silver." The original use of the product was in Southwestern and American Indian jewelry designs in combination with turquoise, coral, and fetish beads. Liquid silver is commonly sold by the ounce to make it easier to price necklaces made using this technique by weight. However, today's designers also use liquid silver beads individually as design components or crimps in countless ways.
Memory Wire Memory wire is a stainless steel product that holds its round shape after countless days of wear. Memory wire is made in necklace sizes, bracelet sizes and ring sizes and is usually sold by weight. Designers cut the coils of memory wire into individual pieces to be strung with beads and finished with end caps or 1/2 drilled beads. Memory wire is extremely easy to work with and quite inexpensive.
Millefiori Ornamental glass produced by cutting cross sections of fused bundles of glass rods of various colors and sizes
Pewter Pewter is a high quality, low cost alternative to precious metals. Our manufacturer uses gold, rhodium (silver colored) and copper plating to achieve the various color effects available on our pewter line. The color descriptions of these products pertain to the metal plating applied over the pewter base. Jewelry pewter must be at least 90% tin with the remaining content consisting of typical pewter components such as antimony or copper.
Pressed Glass Pressed Glass beads are made by pressing molten glass into a mold or through a shaping plate (like a play-dough machine). Pressed glass beads often have faint seams from the molding process, but are very regular in shape and design.
Rhinestone Rhinestones are synthetic jewels made from either glass, or higher quality crystal. Rhinestones are usually chatons with no hole and a foil back to increase reflectivity.
Seed Beads Seed beads were originally made thousands of years ago by drilling naturally occurring seeds and pods for stringing. Today seed beads are very small, round (seed shaped) glass or plastic beads that are generally sold by weight or volume.
Smartbeads Smartbeads appear like any plain or corrugated round from the outside. However, their unique design allows them to slide into place on most stringing materials and stay in position. They can be used to hold other beads in place, or alone to create illusion necklaces and interesting spacing patterns.
Stardust Stardust is a type of metal finishing effect created by etching a surface with a laser. The laser treatment roughs up the surface and causes it to catch light in a different way than smooth polished metal. The appearance is a frosted look.
Sterling Silver Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver (.925) metal. This standard is used to assure consistent quality among sterling products. Silver that is not described as "sterling" or ".925" has less pure silver content and will often be darker in color and less shiny. Sterling is 92.5% pure instead of 100% pure in order to achieve the requisite hardness and stability to resist wear and tear, and hold its shape.
Trade Beads Trade beads are made using designs that are hundreds of years old and originate from European regions. These beads were used as currency for trade between nations and colonies. "Antique" trade beads are extremely expensive (and rare) and originate from this period. However, many newly manufactured trade beads are fraudulently sold as antiques around the world. If a price looks too good to be true, it is, don't be fooled.
Trailing A glassmaking technique where a lampworker "trails" designs on the surface of the bead using a contrasting color of molten glass. This creates a raised line or pattern on the bead.
Venetian Glass The term "Venetian glass" is used to describe three distinct things as described in detail below: Raw material glass made in Venice, glass beads/art using designs originating from Venice, or glass beads/art made of Venetian glass in Venice. Venetian glass refers to glass and glass cane manufactured in the region of Venice, Italy, one of the cradles of world glass making. Venetian glass is some of the finest glass available in the entire world. Frequently, manufacturers from other renowned glass bead-making regions buy Venetian glass as a raw material. These beads are accurately described by stating where they were manufactured and using what type of glass material, in this case "Venetian."
Beads made in these other regions may also use Venetian trade bead designs that are very old and not the property of any particular manufacturer. The word "Venetian" is not protected like the word "champagne," for example. Again, these beads are most accurately described by disclosing the origin of the bead and stating that it is in a Venetian "style."
Beads made from Venetian glass in Venice are typically described as Venetian Glass beads made in Italy. These beads frequently originate form an island off of Venice called Murano where many glass factories and artisans reside. A few manufacturers also operate on the Venice mainland. Venetian glass beads made in Italy are some of the most beautiful beads in the world. Glass artisans in Venice often come from generations of glass working talent and have unparalleled skills in beadmaking. The quality of Venetian glass and the originality of the work are why these beads are priced at such a premium.
Vermeil An industry product may be described or marked as "vermeil" if it consists of a base of sterling silver coated or plated on all significant surfaces with gold, or gold alloy of not less than 10 karat fineness, that is of substantial thickness and a minimum thickness throughout equivalent to two and one half (2 1/2) microns (or approximately 100/l,000,000ths of an inch) of fine gold.