Use of dyed beads

Hello all, Just an alert from my own experience. I recently bought
some aquamarine carved beads (noted as having been dyed). They were
quite pretty and I made some up into a long necklace with FWP and
gold beads. Displayed it under glass at an outdoor art show, where
it was exposed to sunlight. In the afternoon, I noticed that the
aquamarine was no longer blue… it had become colorless. I removed
it from sale! When I contacted the supplier, they pointed out that
the stones were dyed.

I’m returning the remaining beads and some amethyst which is also
dyed. Apparently dyed stones aren’t necessarily color-fast. This
problem has not occurred before, and I’m wondering if anyone else has
experienced such fading.

This sharing of experience is so valuable. Orchid forever!!

Judymw in KS Judy M. Willingham, Consumer Pollution Prevention
Specialist 237 Seaton Hall Kansas State University Manhattan KS
66506 (785)532-5418 FAX (785) 532-6944

This is very common. I used to sell bead jewellery at craft shows
years ago and I quickly learned to shade my rose quartz and amethyst.
I never did see rose quartz beads that didn’t fade.

Judy - I’ve run into the same problem. I bought some dyed agate cabs
from Brazil because I liked the bright pink color - I usually don’t
buy any dyed stones. After wearing a bracelet with the stone in it,
I noticed some fading…not colorless, just a paler pink. But I
don’t put that stone in any work that I sell to others. Gini

I have heard that the gemstone beads are dyed in Rit—and in fact
will wash off if submersed in water. I feel that this is a real
ripoff. Many stones are dyed or treated in some fashion to enhance
the color----but, one expects that such treatment should be permanent.
Suppliers should inform jewelers that the treatment is
temporary----and not expect us to absorb the loss. Hope you were able
to send yours back for a full refund. Alma, in gorgeous Oregon.

Hi Judy,

You have been the victim of a practice which I, as a Lapidary, find
reprehensible. The practice I refer to is the use of temporary dyes

  • dyes which for any reason will not stand up to normal wear - to
    change the colour of a gemstone. This is not an acceptable practice;
    and the fact that the seller told you that the stones were dyed does
    not excuse it.

The seller may have been equally unaware of the nature of the
dye…so I wouldn’t assume bad faith on his part. I would however
expect a full refund! If you purchase dyed stones I recommend two
things: Soak them in warm water overnight to be certain the colour is
not water soluble…and place them in the sun for a few days to be
certain the colour is lightfast. (There are some unenhanced
gemstones…Kunzite and Vivianite for instance…which are
naturally sensitive to light. I don’t recommend that second test for
those stones. :slight_smile: )


Some quartz-type stones will also fade in the sun, even when not
color-enhanced. Amethyst, for example, will fade after several hours
of exposure to sunlight.

Dyed beads are never colorfast! Don’t let anyone tell you that they
are. FWP that have been laser-dyed appear to hold their color,
although I’m continuing to test that. Any other dyed beads are not
worth anything unless you eventually will be happy with white or
colorless beads. If you’re not sure, ask if they’re dyed. If the
color is too vivid, definitely ask!

dyed rocks & beads: if the beads are cut from quartz/agate & are from
brazil they are dyed before the geods are cut. the miners know from
experience that a certain mine or part of one produces 'blah’
agate/quartz material so that pop the geodes into a chamber thingy
with dye (no ‘rit’ in brazil), seal it shut, pump in a lot of air
until the dye is forced through the skin & into some of the
agate/quartz - not all of the material will absorb the dye so you
will get rings of dyed crystals. dyed material is not sun or light
fast & buyers should be aware of this. when i chided a rock seller on
ebay about not stating in his description that all of his agates were
dyed, he snapped back ‘i didn’t tell them they WEREN’T dyed!’ &
threatened to report me for bothering him! also, amethyst is notorious
for fading if left out - ive