If you google http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7ztc
you will see
that various natural stones are being turned into beads and marketed
from Hong Kong worldwide at 2-3$ per bead. That is hard to beat.
As Ted Frater noted this is "labour intensive". From researhing it
so far I would agree. You have to cut the stone into tiny cubes and
then feed it into another machine for rounding.
I liked the idea of stringing Bucky C with nanochains for
nanocustomers. Maybe the ants who mine "ant hill garnets" (another
Orchid posting) would be interested but it might also appeal to
others to coat it on beads. If it is as costly as I last read, I
would not throw it away.