Bead Naturalness, Coral, & 10 Reasons To Buy Beads

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See us in Wadebridge tomorrow, Sunday 6th Sept 11am to 4pm at the Cornish Bead Fair. In the Goods Shed, right next door to the left of John Betjeman Centre, as there’s a problem with their floor. Along Southern Way, Wadebridge PL27 7BX.

Free entry, refreshments & gifts – just ask! Many new semi-precious beads arrived April 2020 in a 700 kg shipment of 30 boxes. Our first show since lockdown – Social distancing & other measures will be in place for your protection. Free face masks!

Two weeks later, we’re in London at the Highgate Bead Fair on Sat 19th Sept and the next day at Great Bromley Village Hall in Essex. Both confirmed by the halls as on!

For our new bead shop click

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Bead Naturalness
Coral, The Gemstone From The Sea!
Ten Reasons To Buy Beads
Autumn Bead Fairs
New MrBead Shop
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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 CORAL at checkout now, as offer ends Friday 11th September 2020. Use at


I’m always getting asked ‘are these natural’, ‘are they dyed’? Everyone wants the best. However, in reality most beads have always been dyed or treated in some way. Otherwise they wouldn’t look so good. Few are sold in their natural state.

Semi Precious Beads
Ideally, semi-precious stone beads should be studied before buying. If you can’t get to a bead show, understand what you’ll be getting online.

Natural beads should have imperfections in pattern, shape, size and colours. Many will have ‘inclusions’, which are foreign matter, bubbles, or other irregularities in the makeup of the stone. Sometimes these can be the bead’s main feature.

Google or get a good book on minerals and semi-precious stones – well worth the investment. See our site Gemstone Properties.

Most semi precious beads will be treated in some way, usually dyed. This is normal, makes the stone look more uniform or attractive, and has been done for hundreds of years. Usually the colour won’t come off. Dying of pearls, coral and jade is routine and acceptable too.

As well as colour enhancing, some beads are heat treated. Turquoise can vary dramatically in price depending on it’s treatment. What you pay gives a clue to the naturalness of a stone: the best turquoise won’t be sold under £40 a string.

If the market for selling your jewellery can’t handle these expenses, howlite beads are an ideal substitute.

Reconstituted & Synthetic Beads
To make affordable, many expensive semi precious beads are man made. This allows beautiful designed jewellery to be offered at a price that will sell.

Our amber beads are an example of this. Despite looking genuine, the’re only 1/10 the price of natural.

Pearl Beads
Pearls are usually freshwater cultured, unless they cost well over £50 a string. Except for plastic and faux pearls of course. Cultured means they are 100% natural, but are ‘farmed’ with the help of man, rather than growing in the sea.

Expect to find irregular sizes, shapes, and grooving in these pearls. Otherwise they won’t be genuine, unless very expensive. Size quoted by the seller is the largest in the string – this means that only a few in the strand will be that size.

Metal Beads
Metal beads come in all shapes and sizes – silver, gold, copper, round, square, etc. Popular metal beads include Thai Hill Tribe Silver, Bali Beads, and Tibetan Silver. Thai Hill Tribe Silver is 98.5 to 99% silver: more pure than the usual 925. However, Tibetan Silver is not really silver at all.

In ancient Tibet, jewellery was made by hammered the back of coinage-silver plate, to create a design in relief on the other side. Today, Tibetan Silver still has an antique silver finish like pewter – but is an alloy of copper and tin, with no actual silver. Hence the great value of these type of findings. They make very attractive jewellery.

Like all beads: purity depends on price. However, metal beads, including silver, will tarnish – brightened with silver cleaner. Best to use genuine silver beads sparingly so you can sell your design at an affordable price.

Lampwork Beads
Lampwork beads can be used as jewellery centre-pieces. They can be dramatic, large and look fantastic!

Originally lampwork beads are made with a torch and heated in a kiln. Painstakingly by glassmaking professionals in a Venison island – we were there the other year, where a single bead can cost €10! However, these days they are made by a more mechanical process, lowering the cost more than 10-times.

Like most things in live: you only get what you pay for! Don’t believe what you’re told: if the string’s less than £20, it’s unlikely to be 100% natural.

However, there’s nothing negative about dyed or treated beads – they shouldn’t be looked down. If you buy beads to make jewellery to sell, then the price of the beads will depend on how much you can sell the finished design.

See our site Gemstone Properties


Coral is a natural water-related bead that will sex-up your summer jewellery!

What Is Coral
Coral is not a true gemstone, but a product of marine life – the outer skeleton of sea polyps, made of calcium carbonate. However, it’s been used as a gem since prehistoric times.

Coral is one of the seven treasures in Buddhist scriptures – and has long been a strong talisman protecting against evil spirits and hurricanes. It’s also said to reduce blood flow, help anemia, and is thought to give wisdom and prevent madness!

Coral For Jewellery
Many coral beads are quite rustic, with the original shape of the coral branches. Perfect for creating ethnic jewellery. But since they are also porous and soft, they can be colour enhanced and carved into lovely shapes, allowing them to fit nicely in higher-end designs too.

Coral usually ranges from white to red, and it grows in branches that look like underwater trees. Red, pink, and white corals are usually dense, while sponge and blue corals have small air pockets and interesting spotted patterns.

Most coral for jewellery comes from the China Sea off Japan and Taiwan. Coral reefs in the South Pacific like the Great Barrier Reef grow a different species.

The price of coral remains low only because of stockpiles from up to 30-years ago. However, due to over-harvesting and environmental damage, coral is becoming rarer, and natural red coral is very expensive. Most red coral sold today has been dyed. It’s quite easy to tell this on bold red coral beads, but the pink and blue corals are often colour enhanced as well.

Fossil Beads Fossil coral, or agatized coral, is an alternative to coral if you like your beads to be more subtle. This is ancient coral that has been replaced by agate so slowly that the flower-like patterns of the original coral remained intact.

Though it will not make a bold statement like the red corals, fossil corals have their own charm. They are mostly beige; but the greyish flower patterns may have subtle hints of pink, blue, and other colours.

Click to see Our Coral Beads
Our Fossil Beads


Now’s the time to start making your Christmas jewellery! Red coral beads look fantastic over the festive season and makes a much-appreciated Christmas present.

A little overpowering on its own, so mix with black and a few spacers.

Picture on the online newsletter version, is beads from MrBead, made and designed by The Bead Queen. See her full collection at
Click to see all our Coral Beads


Beads are more than bricks to make jewellery:
  1. Beady eyes keep a happy mind – it’s a great hobby. Cheaper than drugs and more fun than psychiatric care!
  2. Buying beads is not immoral, illegal or fattening. It calms the nerves, gratifies the soul and makes us feel good.
  3. To make money or investment.
  4. A bead keeps without refrigeration. You don’t have to cook it to enjoy it, and it never needs feeding, changing, or walking.
  5. Buying beads keeps our economy going. It is our patriotic duty to support bead stores.
  6. Beads are a proven aphrodisiac.
  7. Beads don’t argue or get crabby. Like women and wine: beads get better with age.
  8. Bags and tubes of beads tightly packed make an excellent insulation for the home.
  9. At any moment the employees of a bead factory might go on strike and limit the availability.
  10. We are participating in a contest. The one with the most beads wins.


These shows are all confirmed on by the halls – but in these uncertain times, please check on our website before travelling: Bead Fairs 2020.


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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 CORAL at checkout now, as offer ends Friday 11th September 2020. Use at


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