I don't know where you came up with the "red malachite"
description you found at Fire Mountain's website, but there's no
link to it from the item I was looking at.
I found it by pointing my browser at their website and typed red
malachite in their search requester box. the search returned 10
items, 8 of which have the quotes.
BTW, I DID google this stuff. Unfortunately, if you google
"red malachite" you get a bunch of links to other bead dealers who
are also mislabeling their products - and aren't identifying the
actual substance. If you look at gemological sites (and I looked
at as many as I could find and comprehend) they don't use the wrong
names, so you still can't identify the bead or cab you've only seen
mislabeled in a picture on a website. In fact, sometimes they use
only proper scientific names so that I STILL can't find what I'm
looking for if it's a common name like "jade" where "jade" has no
actual scientific basis.
Sadly, that's why it's so difficult for so many who want to break
into the gem/jewelry biz without studying. Believe me, I am NOT
apathetic. But if you spend enough time at some of the gemology
sites, it will help. Unfortunately, it is a science with a very wide
curriculum and takes a lot of time. Buying even in person
at a gem show, without the requisite knowledge is difficult. Buying
them from a catalog, sight unseen, is a lot like Russian roulette.
Sheesh! So I'm scouting out other dealers who are hopefully
more forthcoming in their descriptions. From what I can tell, most
of Fire Mountains stuff isn't exactly top quality, or even middlin'
Since I cut a lot of my own stones and studied gemology before I
ever bought finished gems from dealers, I don't have many
catalog-type sources for Rio Grande's Gems & Findings
catalog has a lot of what you may need, but they also have a certain
amount of misnomers, too.
I could be wrong, but I've seen an awful lot of stuff that's
labeled "C" or "D" quality or, even more worrisome, not labeled for
quality at all.
Yeah, that's definitely a problem. Especially so, since "A", "B",
"C", or even "eye-clean", "loupe-clean", and a host of other
descriptions of gem quality give you absolutely no real idea of what
they are selling. I feel for ya there, but the reality is that there
are actual gem descriptions that are accepted by the industry (much
of it standardized by GIA) and most catalog dealers don't use them.
Mostly because they are difficult to understand without at least
some minimal training. For example, I already know that corundum
typically has Type-II clarity, and order one from a supplier that
lists it as 1ct, R 6/6, Excellent (or Extra Fine) ruby, I know
almost precisely what I'll get, and it'll be one heck of a stone,
but you probably have no idea what some of it means. Buying one from
a catalog that says it's "A" grade means absolutely nothing to me,
except that it is the best material they have in stock. Heck, it
might not even be red! Without knowing some basics, buying gems from
a catalog is a crap shoot.
Nothing against Fire Mountain Gems, they have certain items I use,
but never I've never seen a bead or finding in their
catalog that I couldn't find at a gem show, cheaper. Those (gem
shows) are absolutely the best source of gems and beads. However,
you'll find that some of the dealers there are precisely as nebulous
as the catalogs as to exactly what they're selling. You'll need to
shop around to find out who's reputable, and who is not.
Maybe some of the dealers on this list can help you. Maybe some will
read this post and offer their services and wares. I've only bought
from one person on this list, Gerry Galarneau(sp?), and that was
rough, not finished gems. the man was totally forthcoming in his
description, and I couldn't have been more satisfied. Hand-cut, made
in the USA gems from individual lapidaries will NOT match the price
of Fire Mountain Gems, or any place else whose wares are
manufactured overseas, but you will get what you pay for if you deal
with reputable people.
Sorry I don't have an easy answer,
James in SoFl