Faceting, Prayer Beads & September’s Stone

To see the web version of this newsletter with photos click http://www.beadnewsletter.co.uk/september-2020

See us in Wadebridge on Sunday 6th September at the Cornish Bead Fair. Our first show since lockdown – Social distancing & other measures will be in place for your protection.

I’m sorry to postpone Beads Up North at Haydock to spring 2021 – because many exhibitors pulled out for late November. Guess it’s for the best!

However, we’re confirmed on at London Highgate Bead Fair on Sat 19th Sept and the next day at Great Bromley Village Hall in Essex. For up to date fair info click here.

The new MrBead shop is doing well. We’re having problems with the old UK shop, but it should be back soon.

For our new bead shop click https://mrbeadshop.com.

Have Fun Following Us

Tweet a link to this newsletter to all your followers - just click here
Join our 15,000 followers on Twitter!
Follow us on Twitter MrBead@UKMrBead and follow Nigel at Nigel@NigelMckay
Follow us on Facebook and Instergram
Follow Nigel on his personal site at NigelHayMckay.com

The Art of Faceting Beads
Mala & Prayer Beads
September’s Gemstone
Chalcedony Beads
New MrBead Shop
Join Newsletter


Try the new shop with 15% off all orders over £20. Shipping is free too on orders over £30 – under this UK P&P is just £2.50. International shipping from £5.

Can only be used at the NEW shop, & only once!

To get the discount Key FACETED at checkout now, as offer ends Friday 28th August 2020. Use at https://mrbeadshop.com.


Facets on a bead make the stone much more interesting and valuable. They catch the light producing a sparkle to attract attention, and the texture adds depth.

Sometimes the cut of the stone is just as important as the type of gem itself. Most beaders have no idea how much work some people put into cutting gemstones. Close up, the sharp tiny cuts of a multi-faceted bead look awesome.

At one time all gemstones were grafted in cabochons. Facet cutting began in European jewellery around the late 13th-century. The aim is to cut the gemstone to maximize its brilliance by balancing the light reflected both internally and externally – along with bringing out the ‘fire’ of the stone: brightly coloured flashes of light.

Although mass-produced faceted beads these days are cut using a computer operated machine, there is still a thriving community of gem cutters who practice the art as a hobby. It takes patience. Some gemstones can be cut in an hour, but others take many hours, depending on the stones hardness.

A used small faceting machine will set you back at least US$1,000 on eBay. These work by mounting the gem in a dowel, adjusting the position, and touching the gem to an abrasive disc of diamond dust bonded to a motor-driven plate. First the top, called the ‘crown’; then the bottom, called the ‘pavilion’. Water cools the process.

The most common faceted gemstone shape today is called the Round or Brilliant cut. It has 58 facts divided equally all around the stone, cut to give the maximum brilliance possible.

Pictures show faceters’ at work at the Harrowgate Gem ‘n’ Bead Fair. These guys take a pride in showing off their work, admired through a jeweller’s loupe, and for all to see in a glass cabinet.

Click the Facet Cutter’s Guild homepage
Click For Our Faceted Beads

Norfolk Mineral & Lapidary Society

You can learn about faceting and minerals at your local lapidary club. If you live in East Anglia, they will show you how to facet at the Mineral & Lapidary Society – details on their website at http://norfolkminandlapsoc.homestead.com. Members are young and old and from all walks for life – so don’t be shy visiting! Meetings are at 7.30pm on the first Tuesday of the month in the Catholic Church Hall, Churchfield Green St.Williams Way, Thorpe St.Andrew, Norwich. But in these uncertain times, check if it’s on.


The word ‘bead’ derives from the Old English noun ‘bede’, meaning a prayer. Beads have been used to count prayers for almost 2,000 years.

Rosary Beads
However, Rosary beads only date back to the 12th and 15th centuries, for meditation and prayer to Christ and the Virgin.

Then during the 16th century, the Protestant Church condemned worship of the Virgin Mary an act of heresy, encouraging the Catholic Church to support the rosary.

As Catholic missionaries spread in South America and the Philippines, the significance of rosary beads intensified. Since then the rosary has always been a symbol of rebellion.

Mala Beads
A mala is a string of beads used to meditate and count mantras. Traditionally they’re 108 beads, plus a ‘guru bead’.

The Tibetans used to carve skulls into each bead to remind them that all life must come to an end.

They can be made from many materials like sandalwood, amber, ceramic, seeds – and a new trend combines the energy of semi-precious gemstone beads.

People have asked us for Mala end beads to make their own necklaces, so we brought some on our last buying trip – they are listed under our Mala Beads below:

Click to see All Our Chinese Mala Beads


Sapphire is the birthstone for September, and is chemically and structurally the same as ruby, an aluminum oxide. However, where rubies are only red, sapphires come in every color but red: blue, golden yellow, reddish-orange, or violet.

We have some sapphire beads at our bead show, but generally Sapphire is too expensive for most crafters, so a great alternative for September is blue chalcedony – which can look similar at a fraction of the cost. Chalcedony is a very fine-grained variety of quartz with a waxy luster with a compact fibrous structure.


Natural chalcedony is usually grayish blue and sometimes with hints of pink, however it can be colour enhanced to light blue. It’s said chalcedony was used as a sacred stone by the Native Americas, promoting stability within the ceremonial activities of the tribe.

Chalcedony is thought to augment emotional balance, vitality, stamina, endurance, kindness, charity and friendliness. It also supposedly alleviates hostilities, irritability and melancholy.

Click For Our Chalcedony Beads


If you haven't visited our new bead shop yet, go to https://mrbeadshop.com.

Simplified Shipping
Everyone hates paying shipping! So the new shop has a flat rate of £2.50 for UK orders under £30, then FREE. No need for any code. International shipping from £4.99 – click for details here.

New Order Facilities

Key Controls

Use On Smartphone


Try the new shop with 15% off all orders over £20. Shipping is free too on orders over £30 – under this UK P&P is just £2.50. International shipping from £5.

Can only be used at the NEW shop, & only once!

To get the discount Key FACETED at checkout now, as offer ends Friday 28th August 2020. Use at https://mrbeadshop.com.


To see all old newsletters click here