Agate Beads, Mother's Day & Diamonds - April's Stone

This month is Mother's Day, Agate Beads and April's birthstone diamond. Scroll down, or click a link on the html version to go to a certain section.

For the HTML version with color pictures click
To go to the MrBead store click here. For our UK bead shop in pounds click

Agate Beads
Mother's Day Beads
Diamonds - April's Gemstone
Man-made Diamonds
15% Offer

Agate Beads - The Creative Gemstone!

Agate has made a big comeback this year as a fashionable gemstone for jewelry. We find at MrBead we are selling increasing amounts, especially spider web, fire, and cracked agates. Its natural pattern and color create very interesting pieces. No gemstone is more creatively striped by nature than agate.

Agate is really chalcedony quartz forming in concentric layers in a wide variety of colors and textures. Each individual agate forms by filling a cavity in its host rock, resulting in round nodules, with bands like the rings of a tree trunk, looking like eyes. Agate comes in many different forms, one of the most common being Sardonyx - derived from the Greek word "Sard" meaning reddish brown, and "onyx": veined gem. Sardonyx usually contains white and brownish-red bands. Roman soldiers wore sardonyx talismans engraved with figures of Hercules or Mars, believing that the stone would make them braver. During the Renaissance, public speakers thought sardonyx helped them talk more forceful.

Another type of agate, Dzi, is one of the most mysterious of all gemstones. These shiny beads usually from Tibet, patterned with mystical eyes are among the most treasured in the world. "Dzi" in Tibetan means: "shine, brightness, clearness, and splendor. Dzi beads are often brought on the number of "eyes" an individual bead shows - the more eyes the better.

Agate was highly valued as a talisman in ancient times and has been used as a traveler's amulet for centuries. It's believed to bring good fortune, health, wealth and long life, as well as quenching thirst and preventing fevers. Persian magicians used agate to divert storms and athletes to increase vitality. Shia Muslims wear an agate ring on the right hand, engraved with the name of Allah. Others' swear that wearing these beads can heighten the spiritual consciousness and balance the body's physical and mental states. Agate is also thought to cure scorpion stings and snake bites. Some call its strange patterns 'cosmic caterpillar tracks'. Pagans believe agate brings love, clears thought, and is lucky in card games.

To see all our Agate beads in our dollar store click here or in our pound shop here
Our ready-made Agate Jewelry in dollars here or in pounds here

Mother's Day Beads

Apologies to our UK customers, as the special day for your mother has passed! The earliest mention of Mother's Day goes back to spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. During the 1600's, England celebrated "Mothering Sunday" on the 4th Sunday of Lent (the 40 day period leading up to Easter). Then, many of the England's poor worked as servants for the wealthy. As most were employed far from their homes, the servants would live at the houses of their employers. On Mothering Sunday the servants had the day off and encouraged to return home and spend the day with their mothers.

In the United States Mother's Day was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe as a day dedicated to peace. Then in 1914, Ana Jarvis from Philadelphia, with the help of the church, managed to persuade President Woodrow Wilson to make the second Sunday of May a national holiday in honor of the anniversary of her mother's death. However, many countries celebrate Mother's Day at different times throughout the year - except Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, and Belgium who also celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May.

What would mother like on her special day? Beads of course! Make a special necklace or bracelet as a gift for your mother and mother-in-law this year & or purchase one already made. Jewelry is always appreciated, and gains sentimental value with age allowing Mother to always remember who it came from. Pearls are great, but any pink or warm-colored stone jewelry would be appreciated! Mother's Day for 2008 in the the US is on 7th May.

Diamond - April's Gemstone

April's birthstone is the diamond. Diamonds are a wonder of nature. Their cold sparkling fire has held us spell-bound for centuries with myths of romance, power, greed, and magic. Ancient Hindus, finding diamonds washed out of the ground after thunderstorms, believed they were created by lightning bolts. Today, the diamond is a symbol of enduring love.

Diamonds are the rich cousins of graphite, both crystalline forms of pure carbon. The enormous difference in their properties is a result of the way that carbon atoms are bonded together. In graphite, carbon atoms are arranged in sheets that easily slide past each other, making them ideal as lubricants. Diamond crystals, are a tight-fisted network of carbon atoms securely held in four directions, making it the hardest naturally-occurring substance.

Man-made Diamonds

Up until a few years ago De Beers controlled all the worlds' diamonds - by stockpiling tons at a time, they greatly increased the value of a relatively-common crystallized rock. However, it is now possible to artificially grow diamonds, the same way they are formed over millions of years. Using high-pressure and high-temperature in crystal growth chambers, the size of a washing machine. Within each chamber, a tiny sliver of natural diamond is bathed in a molten solution of graphite and a metal-based catalyst at approximately 1,500 °C. Slowly, carbon precipitates onto the diamond seed crystal. A gem-quality, 2.8-carat rough yellow diamond grows in just under three-and-a-half days. This can then be cut and polished to give a gem larger than 1.5 carats. (One-half carat is equal to 100 mg of diamond & about the size of a kernel of corn.).

To say these "cultured" stones are not real diamond is false. Chemically they are identical to mined diamonds, but they do have different growth patterns and a lack of inclusions that would draw suspicions to a qualified a jeweler. However, those bits of minerals that are enclosed in a natural diamond as its forms are regarded as flaws; a lack of inclusions is actually a good thing. For a jeweler to tell for sure, De Beers has designed a machine for around $10,000.

Cubic Zirconia

A much cheaper way of making a stone that "looks" like diamond was created by Russian scientists. Cubic Zirconia is a dense clear material through which laser light can be reflected. When melted at high-temperature and an incredibly-high electrical current sent through it, the compound crystallizes, forming chunks similar to rough diamonds, which are then be cut and polished to exact specifications. Using the naked eye, even a trained jeweler can't detect the difference between good cubic zirconia, genuine or cultured diamonds. And even diamond experts have been fooled between cubic zirconia and a five-million-dollar diamond - concluding that both were fakes! All are fully faceted, cut and polished the same.

To see our cubic zirconia rings click here

Special 15% Offer

To get 15% off (before shipping) on anything in our MrBead bead store, just key in "agate" (without the commas) at the checkout and click "Redeem Coupon". Cannot be used with any other coupon.

Offer valid until Thursday 3rd April 2008 only - so act now. The more you order, the more you save! Only for use in our store at the checkout and not valid with any other offers.

To go to our MrBead store click
To go to our UK MrBead shop click