Millefori: Spring Beads, Lava Beads, & Diamonds - April's Stone

This month's theme is Millefioro - Spring Beads, Lava Beads, and April's birthstone diamond. Scroll down, or click one of the links below on the html version to go to a certain section. If you have any suggestions for the future, please e-mail me at To unsubscribe click the link at bottom of page.

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Millefiori - Spring Beads
Volcanic Lava Beads
Diamonds - April's Gemstone
Man-made Diamonds
Cubic Zirconia
15% Off Offer

Millefiori - Spring Beads
Millefiori, translates from Italian to "thousand flowers". Traditionally, each bead was handmade under the flame, using glass rods to produce a colorful mosaic effect. They were first crafted in Venice as far back as the 15th century, but it was not until the 1920s that they were produced in quantity.

First glass rods are made like candy rock with multiple colors throughout. The colors at this stage are only viewable from the cut ends. The bead maker then cuts thin slices off while the glass is still hot and press them down to form mosaic patterns.

This labor intensive process attracted a high price for the beads. However today, the millefiori technique has been applied to polymer clays which are pliable and do not need to be heated and reheated in order to fuse. This makes it much easier to produce millefiori patterns than with glass. There are hundreds of thousands of different designs of Millefiori beads, making them great to collect.

To see our new millefiori category click here

Volcanic Lava Beads
Beads of volcanic lava are very popular right now. Lava rock is an igneous volcanic rock produced in intense heat conditions. A stone of strength and fertility. It provides stability in times of change, and helps to dissipate anger and provide guidance and understanding as it assists one in "bouncing back". A very grounding stone, black Lava will strengthen our connection to Mother Earth.

Rock melts at very high temperatures - between 600-1200 degrees Celsius. However, even deep within the interior of the Earth, most of the rocks are solid, not molten. This is because both pressure and temperature together determine whether a rock will melt. Also, different rock types melt at different temperatures. Beneath active volcanoes the pressure and temperature are just right to melt the rocks. When these molten rocks erupt at the surface they begin to "freeze" almost immediately at the very cool temperature of our atmosphere.

Lava flows are streams of molten rock that ooze from an erupting vent. Lava flows destroy everything in their path, but most move slowly enough that people can move out of the way. Fluid basalt flows can extend tens of kilometers from an erupting vent. They can travel as fast as 30 km/hour on steep slopes but they typically advance less than 1 km/hour on gentle slopes. Everything in the path of an advancing lava flow will be knocked over, buried, or ignited by the extremely hot temperature of lava.

Beads from these rocks make very unusual jewelry. Used as pendants or parts of a necklace, these black beads ooze quality and mystique, as well as drawing attention and questions whenever worn.

To see all our lava beads click here

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. Many new beads this month, see here
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Special 15% Offer!
Sample our beads with 15% off any order from our MrBead bead store, just key in "lava" at the checkout (without the inverted commas) and click "Redeem Coupon".

Offer valid until 5th April only - so act now! Only for use in our store at the checkout and not valid with any other offers.

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