Responding to the question about consistency in semiprecious stone
After years of buying and using semiprecious stone beads, my only
guidance is that the best insurance is to work with a vendor whose
standards are as high as yours. I’ve purchased beads of the same
general description from two or three merchants and observed wild
variation in quality. But among the offerings of a given vendor, the
beads are much more consistent, either good or bad, assuming that the
dealer maintains quality control in buying…
Additionally, beads produced in India seem to vary most widely in
drilling quality. Hong Kong production is generally better. All bets
are off on pearls, though. Hold on to that reamer for pearls; I think
I remember reading in these pages that pearls are sold by weight as
well as by quality so it’s imperative to leave as much material as
possible in them.
Having said that, the only advice I can give is the name of the
dealer whose quality is, in my experience, the most consistently high.
I have no association with these people, wish I did, because quality
does cost more. It is a tiny retail store in Rockville, MD whose beads
I discovered at one of the Greater Washington Bead Society bazaars
when a strand of American turquoise reeled me over to their table.
They are Accents Bead Shop, phone 301-881-2003, URL