Many stone beads on the market, especially blue topaz, are color
enhanced. The blue topaz stones often are a very pale blue (an
icy-white) without the addition of dyes. The first clue to
enhancement is the color of the temporary strand thread. The thread
color not only enhances the color of the stones but also hides the
fact that dye is used. Second, use a jeweler's loupe to closely
view the stones. You usually can see where the die enters in
fissures, cracks, and chips and along the bead hole. The stone
tends to magnify even a small amount of dye. Third, dip one of the
beads in full strength household bleach, if you are still not sure.
If you bought the beads from a bead store (not a lapidary store),
the identification of the stones usually is lost in the retail mix.
Stone beads are in one section of the store and glass beads in
another. The clerks, and sometimes the buyer, identify the stone
beads by color only and these folks often do not know the codes for
natural, heat treated, or color enhanced (dyed). That is, all sky
blue transparent stones are called topaz. If you bought the beads
directly from a supplier, carefully read the descriptions and codes.
If enough is not provided, go elsewhere. I have always
liked Fire Mountain Gems, www.firemountaingems.com, because the
stone descriptions are very clear. And, they will refund your money
if you are unhappy with your order for any reason. Nancy