Flashy tea


I am coming down to deadline on a very ambitious sculptural piece for
Mobilia Gallery to show at SOFA Chicago in their “Teapot
Re-envisioned” exhibit. (I’ll post an image when I have one.) Part
of it is a life-size teabag, which will be made out of copper mesh. I
want to fill it with tiny stones with a lot of flash, because that is
what will make it look good through the mesh. It will take two to
three teaspoons of stones to look right. I’d love to use diamonds,
but I can’t afford to, unless somebody can steer me to (or sell me)
ones that are fractured or the like, so they have little value, but
are still flashy.

I am also open to other options. I won’t use CZ’s or other
simulants. Synthetic is ok. Can be almost any stone, any color(s),
as long as it is flashy. Mixed colors might be fun.

I have only about two weeks until this is supposed to be shipped.
Can someone help me out here? Somebody got a stash of melee with
problems that are pretty worthless for setting? Other ideas? HELP!

I humbly thank you,

Noel, Have you thought about Swarovski Aurora Borealis Crystals?

Noel, How about glass - the dichroic variety is very flashy looking
… or does that count as a synthetic?


    I am also open to other options. I won't use CZ's or other
simulants. Synthetic is ok. 

Um…actually, CZ is a synthetic, not a simulant.


Hi Noel - Your sculptural project sounds very cool!

I’d like to recommend Swarovski crystals. They add a lot of flash
and sparkle, and are relatively inexpensive. They come in a variety
of shapes and colors which could add convincing detail to the piece.
For the most sparkle and flash, use beads that are Aurora Borealis
(AB) coated. They coat one side of the bead with this and it adds
just an extra zing of flash. They also make other interesting
coatings, but for the quantity you’d need, the AB is the best buy
because it’s the least expensive coating, as well as the best for
the purpose.

This place has good prices and a lot of colors and shapes, with a
minimum purchase of $75, plus discounts on quantities:


Another place with a good selection and good prices, with a better
color chart, and I’m not sure about a minimum, or if they even offer
wholesale pricing:


Also look at pages 193 and 194 there, also.

Let us know what you decide to use.

Have you considered Swarovski AB crystal beads? They are gorgeous
and very flashy! I like the #5025 - triangle faceted roundish ones
because they have the most flash. I use them when I want lots of
sparkle like a very expensive diamond since I can’t afford the
diamonds. :slight_smile: Even if you don’t use the triangle faceted ones, they
all of great sparkle.

-Dee Dee

James, CZ is both a synthetic and a simulant since it is man made and
is used to simulate diamond. Although it is not a synthetic diamond
it is a synthetic material. Jerry in Kodiak

Have you considered Swarovski AB crystal beads? 

Thank you for the suggestion. No, I haven’t, for the same reason I
won’t use CZs. To be consistent with the rest of the piece, I need
to use something “real”, i.e. stone, to convey the “value” of tea in
the eyes of the tea-lover. That is why I would really like to find
a batch of broken or fractured faceted diamonds (since, evidently,
“chips” don’t exist ;>) ). I’m willing to spend on this, but there’s
no sense, in my mind, to putting good quality stones into a copper
mesh teabag on a silver sculpture, where they’ll barely be seen and
never worn. I figure somebody out there may have a little stash of
assorted (or not) chipped stones too small to justify recutting if
there’s another use for them…

Here’s hoping,


I know Mobilia Gallery well, and CZ’s won’t work for what you are
trying to do. Call Stuller and ask them if they could donate the
diamonds for some PR exchange.

I will be in Chicago during SOFA for a SNAG board meeting. Any
chance you will be there? I will look forward to seeing your
teapot. And congratulations, Mobilia is an excellent gallery.


According to the definitions I learned through GIA, CZ is a simulant
and it is not a synthetic – a simulant being any stone, natural or
man-made which is used to imitate another stone. As CZ is used to
imitate diamond it is a simulant, but so is white zircon or any other
white natural stone when it is used in lieu of diamond. A synthetic,
on the other hand is a man-made version of a particular NATURAL stone
– man-made white sapphire, then is both a simulant and a synthetic.
CZ would only a synthetic if cubic zirconia occurs in nature, which
it does not. Moissanite, is both a synthetic and a simulant, as it
is reported that, silicon carbide occurs in nature, though rarely and
not in cuttable form.

Barbara W. Smigel, PhD.

Noel Yovovich wrote I would *really* like to find a batch of broken
or fractured faceted diamonds 

This may help: “The value of a diamond declines dramatically when it
is chipped, regardless of the size or location of the chip. When an
insurance company pays to replace a diamond that has been chipped,
the damaged diamond becomes the property of the insurance company.
In an effort to reduce their losses, many insurance companies
frequently allow jewelry stores and cutting houses to purchase their
"insurance salvage” for pennies on the dollar."

Daniel Kamman

Hi Noel I don’t have much in the way of broken diamonds (not chips)
lying around. :slight_smile:

Would real colored stones suffice? I’d be willing to contribute
some amethyst (bergamot for Earl Grey, anybody?) and check to see
what else might be available in my “Stash”.

Pam Chott
Song of the Phoenix

Noel, OK no crystal, so here is another suggestion. Visit Pawn Shops,
they frequently have a supply of melee removed from rings and things
they sell off for gold weight. I have a friend who uses this as a
supply for created jewelry.

I recently made an incredible find under exactly that situation, now
I have to come up with the money, Teresa

Kist a thought, what about white sapphire, close to the same RI, a
natural stone and pretty cheap, would look brighter and have more
life that ugly smashed diamonds IMHO

Hi Noel, Why not break up some clear quartz beads or crystals (you
could even use Herkimer “diamonds”). And if you want something
ritzier but still relatively inexpensive, try white sapphires.


Okey dokey, here we go. Cubic Zirconia is a naturally occurring
mineral, but it is extremely rare to find it of a size suitable for
faceting a gemstone. Therefore, all CZs found in manufactured
jewelry are synthetic. Yes, they are used as diamond simulants, but
they are also used to simulate practically any transparent colored
gemstone, as well. I was wrong to say “not a simulant” in my
previous post; a heinous crime for a G.G., no?

Noel, your project sounds way cool. If you’re looking for broken
diamonds, there was a thread recently about whether or not the term
"chips" was acceptable in reference to pieces of diamond. One poster
recommended the original poster call around to jewelers who purchase
a lot of estate jewelry and ask them for items known as “breakout”.
That sounds like the perfect solution for you. Good luck in your
search. Best, James

Noel, I have a ring that I make, using a transparent crystal opal
with 1/2 carat of diamond melee behind the opal. I tried different
sizes and qualities of diamonds, and considered using CZ’s. I am now
using either .01 ct rose cuts or .01 ct round brilliants. The size of
the stones mattered…they have to look like “diamond sand” behind
the opal. Have you considered what size stones will look best in your
tea bag? I also tried really low quality diamonds, figuring that no
one would notice. Unfortunately, the just don’t twinkle like the real
thing. My guess is that you will probably be looking for diamond
melee in the $300 - $350 per carat range. They should be at least SI2
and not top white but not yellowish. They don’t need to be perfectly
cut. If you are looking for larger melee, why not use white
sapphires? Stuller sells white sapphires as small as 1.25mm for only
$40 per carat.

I did this at first just for fun, thinking that no one would really

want to buy a ring with diamonds that they could barely see. I was
surprised to discover that they are selling as fast as I can make
them, at $1500 to $2000 retail.

When you get this project finished, please post a photo. 

Douglas Zaruba

Noel, How many chipped diamonds did you say you needed? I know I
have a few around the shop that I would be willing to donate.
Anybody else out in orchid land have some for Noel?
Send me your snail mail address. Janine in still hot Redding CA

Hi, Janine, That’s a pretty generous offer! I’m not sure exactly how
many I need–pretty much the amount of tea in a teabag. But things
are coming together bit by bit, with the help of people like you. I’m
at 2112 Grant St, Evanston, IL 60201 where it is prematurely chilly
today --Noel

Hi Noel, how are you? OK, this probably the weirdest one, but why
don’t you buy a little mirror and use your hammer on it? My wife has
a little one, which can be used on the two sides. Well, it would be

Best, Will