Jade Beads & Aquamarine - March's Stone
 

This monthís theme is jade beads and jewelry, plus March's gemstone aquamarine.  Scroll down, or click a link on the html version to go to a certain section.

To go to the MrBead store click here.   For our UK bead shop in pounds click MrBead.co.uk

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Buying Jade Beads
Knotting a Jade Necklace
How to make a simple Jade Bracelet
History of Jade
Types of Jade
Where Does Jade Come From?
Quality of Jade

Aquamarine - March's Stone 
Gemstone Bead Batches
Special 15% Offer

Buying Jade for Jewelry 
To make jewelry, jade is available in loose beads and temporarily strung into strands.  Loose beads are cheaper, but beads on strands will hang better making them best for necklaces.  However, if you plan on knotting your necklace, then loose beads may be all right.  Usually each strand, or string in the
UK, measures 16-inches = 400mm.  So if you are buying 6mm beads, you will get (400 divided by 6) about 66 beads to a strand - or around 50 x 8mm beads.   A necklace will need at least 75 x 6mm beads, allowing it to hang 9-inchs, 18-inches in all.  If you are making a bracelet, you will need about 26 x 8mm beads on average.  Most colored jade is dyed, this is usual, and the color doesnít come off.  So if you want continuity it is best to purchase all you need for a project in one go.  Jade beads are carved into more different shapes than other stone.  Like tiny, fish, bottles, rings, flowers, barrels, hearts, tubes, and many other designs to compliment a necklace or bracelet.     to top 

Knotting a Jade Necklace    
Many of your finer beaded jewelry is knotted because knots keep the beads from rubbing against each other - and if the necklace breaks, beads wonít go flying. Knotting also makes the necklace drape nicely and adds length so you need less beads.  
 

There are a few ways to knot a necklace, but this the easiest for beginners. First, youíll need to choose your cord - usually between silk and nylon.  Silk is traditional, however many complain that it snags and frays. Both come in a variety of colors. They can be purchased on small cards with about 6 feet of cord and a needle attached or, for the serious knotter, larger spools can be purchased with separate needles. They also come in different sizes. The thicker cord is used for the larger beads since the holes in the beads are larger. For the beginnerís technique, two strands are put through each bead, so a thinner size is needed. For 6mm beads, use size 2 for this technique, and try to match the color of the cord with the color of the beads.
 

A very-popular way to start any beaded necklace is with bead tips (clamp shells). The only difference here is that two strands of the cord are inserted through the bead tip instead of one.  Once the necklace is started, string on a bead, and make an over hand knot. Make the knot tight so itís snug up against the bead.  Continue to do this: string a bead, make an over hand knot, string a bead, make an over hand knot. Thatís it.  Finish the necklace as you would any beaded necklace whether itís knotted or not.  This beginnerís way is a lot easier than using one strand of cord, and the results look almost the same.                          top of page

How to Make a simple Jade Bead Bracelet 
To make a bracelet  using elastic, to go with a necklace, only take a few minutes and is a great way to use up the few extra beads left over.  Arrange the beads to form a 7 inch long bracelet as standard.  Once you have your beads arranged take your spool of elastic and string the beads without cutting a length of elastic. This will keep your beads in place.  To finish, a larger complementary bead for the end looks attractive. Pull both ends of the elastic through this bead, and then pull both ends through a small crimp bead. Then flatten the crimp bead with pliers to secure the beads.  to top 

History of Jade          
For 5,000 years Imperial China used the word "jade" as something precious - a
s in English we use gold.  Because the Chinese believe jade has all the attributes most valued in society.  A symbol of purity and serenity, it is delicate, but will not break - is beautiful, but not impermanent, it can be flawed with lines, but still pleasing. It is believed to radiate divine unconditional love and balance the emotions.  Held in the hand it can improve judgment - ancient silk traders often held jade while bartering.  A small piece of jade worn around the neck was said to dispel illness.

Chinese jade first arrived in the West during the sixteenth century, brought from Canton by the Portuguese.  Today jade continues to be a symbol of love, virtue, and status.  With Chinese carvings still reaching the highest value.  The best jade has a waxy, pearly appearance.  Feeling cool and so smooth, it seems soft to the touch.  Yet hard enough that pressure from a sharp knife will not leave a mark.   Every piece of jade has a secret meaning.  Discovering that meaning and the legends behind it is a very satisfying for those who practice this dying art.

Jade was thought to preserve the body after death and can be found in emperors' tombs from thousands of years ago. One tomb contained an entire suit made out of jade, to assure the physical immortality of its owner.  Jadeite is also thought to cure kidney stones and other kidney ailments.                                                             top of page

Types of Jade   

The most famous type of jade carved in China is from Burma, with shades of green, lavender, yellow, white and grey.  Naturally these colors form over millions of years from minerals in the rock.   However, its the emerald green color that jadeite produces so well, that is highly sought after by artwork collectors. This emerald green jade called "Imperial Jade" is colored by chromium. Other colors are influenced by iron (green and brown) and manganese is thought to produce the violet colors.  And today, most colored jade is dyed. 
 

Jade is remarkably tough, used by many early civilizations for axes, knives and weapons.  Because of its smooth even texture, jade was soon carved into ornaments - and it wasn't until 1863 that it was realized that Jade was being applied to two different minerals: jadeite and nephrite.  Jadeite is almost never found in individual crystals and is composed of microscopic interlocking crystals that produce a very tough material. The nephrite variety is composed of fibrous crystals inter-twinned in a tough compact mass.  Nephrite is more abundant than jadeite and has fewer color varieties - usually less intense dark spinach greens, white, browns, and black.        to top 

Where Does Jade Come From? 
Most jadeite today is mined in Myanmar (burma) and carved in China.  However, jade is also found in Central America, Guatemala, the Olmec.  The Mayans and Toltecs also treasured jade and used it for carvings and masks. The Aztecs even taxed jade.  Although neolithic jadeite axes were found in Europe, it is not known where this prehistoric jadeite was mined, although it is possible that the material came from a deposit in the Alps. Nephrite is mined in Canada, Australia, the United States, and Taiwan.                                     top of page

Quality of Jade              
Although most jade beads these days are dyed, chunks of quality jade is usually sold by the piece rather than per carat. Although the overall color is the most important value factor, attention is also paid to translucency, texture, and also to pattern. Certain patterns, including moss in snow, are highly valued. Both jadeite and nephrite are very durable and tough, although jadeite is slightly harder than nephrite due to its microcrystalline structure.
 

The top jadeite jade is usually cut into smooth dome shapes called cabochons. Jadeite bangles are also very popular in Asian countries. Beads are also very beautiful and some important jadeite necklaces made during the art deco period have fetched hundreds of thousands of dollars in auctions in the past few years.       to top 

 

To see all our Jade in the US Store click MrBead.com or in the UK shop click MrBead.co.uk

Aquamarine - March's Gemstone

Aquamarine is Marchís stone Ė a blue-green gemstone from South America, meaning Water of the Sea. The stone of sailors, believing it protects them. Folklore also says that aquamarine protects against gossip, but will pick up spirits. It is an excellent stone for meditation, bringing great peace and serenity.

Aquamarine is the treasure of mermaids, and those legends have it that for aquamarine to be truly powerful, it must be immersed in sea water and bathed in sunlight. The gemstone is also supposed to have powers that reach to land too, helping married couples solve their problems and drive off evil.  Aquamarine is associated with the thymus gland and is very soothing worn as a necklace. It will also help coughs, reduce fluid retention and calm the nerves. The Romans used aquamarine for stomach troubles and believed it could cure liver and throat problems. Aquamarine brings courage, aids quick intellectual response, and gives peace while protecting the aura.

Color ranges from a very light turquoise blue to a bluish green. Darker blue colors are the best with greener being less valuable. Check the clarity of the stone. Because aquamarine has a light pastel color, it is important that it be free of flaws or inclusions. Examine the cut and check light reflects evenly off the surface of the gem and that there are no scratches. Look at the stone from several different angles to be sure.  Aquamarine is usually heat treated and sometimes irradiated. However, it will become paler if left out in the sun. Clean aquamarine in with warm soapy water and a soft bristle brush. As with all gemstones, protect from scratches and sharp blows.

 

To see all aquamarine in our US bead store click here   Or here for our UK Shop                          to top 
 

Gemstone Bead Batches
As many of our beads are natural or made in small quantities, it is important to order all the you need for a project in one go.  Otherwise you will have a problem matching slight variations if we send you the same beads from a different batch.  Color, size and shape can all be different if you don't order at the same time.  Remember, if you want to make a necklace anything longer than a short choker, you will need more than one strand of the beads.

Special 15% Offer !
Sample our beads with 15% off any order from our MrBead bead store, just key in "jade" at the checkout (without the inverted commas) and click "Redeem Coupon".

Offer valid until Thursday 6th March 2008 only - so act now! Only for use in our stores at MrBead.com & MrBead.co.uk and not valid with any other offers or eBay.

To go to our MrBead store click http://www.mrbead.com   or our UK Pound Shop at MrBead.co.uk

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