Beaded necklaces in Tiger Eye or Black Onyx are often bought for and worn by men.
Gemstone beads vary widely in quality. Being a natural product they are reliant on what is dug out of the earth. Many of these stones are relatively soft in nature so don't lend themselves easily to being shaped. This makes the production of regular bead shapes problematic.
A comprehensive description and definition of what constitutes a gemstone can be found on Wikipedia. Briefly, a gemstone is a piece of mineral that has been cut and polished for use in jewellery.
Precious gemstones (diamond, ruby, emerald and sapphire) are created from hard rocks which lend themselves best to cutting and shaping. The remainder are known as semi-precious gemstones.
Some semi-precious gemstones (amber, jet, pearl, coral) are not stones at all but are created from organic materials. They are regarded as gemstones as a result of their use in jewellery making.
Bead necklaces, especially in the case of pearls as well as some gemstones, are graded according to the matching sizes and colours of the individual beads. Not only are individual beads graded in their own right but they are also assessed as part of the necklace as a whole.
There is no universal grading system for semi-precious gemstones in the way that there is for diamonds for example. Sellers of beads adopt their own rating system so what is sold as AA grade by one seller may only qualify as A by another etc. Faceted beads are usually made of the better quality gemstones. Those of lower quality are made into chips and smaller irregular shapes.
I try to source regularly shaped and coloured beads for the necklaces I create but even so there may still be slight variations (0.5mm) in size and sometimes slight irregularity in colour. This is part of the nature of a gemstone bead. The better the regularity in both colour and shape, the more expensive the beads.
The Beads in Astrology Necklaces
My astrology necklaces are created to be affordable items of costume jewellery. At the same time, however, I want them to look attractive.
All the beaded necklaces rely on a difference in size between the 120 smaller beads which make up the background to the chart and the larger beads which represent the planets.
I originally only made necklaces using 4mm semi-precious gemstone beads for the background. This was not a problem as these are relatively easy to source at a reasonable price. The single 6mm beads used for the planets did not have to match anything else so were also easily found at a good price.
A selection of 4mm beaded necklaces
Then one day I wanted to create a bigger statement necklace for myself to wear to a wedding. I wanted to use 6mm beads for the background and 8mm beads for the planets. I managed to find a source of very evenly matched and coloured 6mm Lapis Lazuli beads for my necklace but they weren't cheap!
In the case of the necklaces made up of 4mm background beads, variations in colour are more acceptable and add interest to the necklace.
Why a certain gemstone bead was chosen to represent each planet in the necklace
The gemstone beads used in the necklace to represent each of the planets were chosen with care. Just as each planet traditionally represents certain characteristics and influences so too gemstones have specific qualities and exert certain influences of their own.
When deciding which gemstone bead would be used to represent each individual planet, I carefully considered the qualities of each and tried to find one whose charateristics matched to some degree those of the planet in question. This wasn't possible in every case.
Where the symbolism of gemstone and planet didn't quite match up I matched them using other attributes such as the appearance of planet and bead.
The gemstone beads I chose to represent each planet are as follows:
Mercury - Amazonite
The Amazonite was so called because green stones of a similar colour had been found in the Amazon River. It is doubtful, however, as to whether this stone has ever been found there.It is a form of feldspar which has been found in parts of Colorado and Virginia in the US, as well as in Madagascar, Brazil and parts of Russia.
The Amazonite is associated with helping in matters of communication. In particular it is said to help you tell the truth and to sort out difficult situations. Mercury too is associated with all forms of communication.
Uranus - Aventurine
Aventurine is a form of quartz. It is found in India, Brazil, Russia and Tanzania among others.
This gemstone enhances decisiveness, creativity and a pioneering spirit. In astrology Uranus is also associated with freedom of spirit and a dislike of rules.
Pluto - Carnelian
The Carnelian is a form of chalcedony which gets its red colour from the presence of iron oxides. It is found commonly in Brazil, India, Siberia and Germany.
As a gemstone, the Carnelian is relevant to thespians as it can be of assistance in drama and activities related to theatrical presentations. It also helps provide a stable atmosphere within the home.
It was chosen to represent Pluto for its link with sexuality and attraction. Pluto is the ruler of Scorpio which is also noted for sexual attraction and desires among other attributes.
Jupter - Citrine
This is yet another variety of quartz and comes mainly from Brazil.
The Citrine as a gemstone is associated with Jupiter. Just as Jupiter is astrologically a planet of good things, success and expansion, so too the Citrine is regarded as the bringer of health and prosperity.
Mars - Garnet
The Garnet is a silicate mineral. It has been used in jewellery for hundreds of years. It can be found in other colours although red is by far the most common. The name "garnet" comes from the word for dark red in Middle English.
This gemstone revitalises and energises. In the necklace it represents Mars which is the ruler of the sign of Aries. Aries, regarded as the first sign of the zodiac, relates to drive and going forward.
Neptune - Lapis Lazuli
Lapis Lazuli is a metamorphic rock which has been used in jewellery for thousands of years. It is attractive due to its deep blue colour and is much prized. Most of it comes from Afghanistan and Pakistan although it is also found in Russia, Chile, Italy, the United States, Canada and Mongolia.
This stone is ground into powder to create ultramarine pigment - the source of the very valuable blue colour used in painting.
As a gemstone, Lapis Lazuli inspires creative expression. It also enhances serenity and self-acceptance. It was chosen to represent Neptune, named after the sea god, for its colour.
In astrology, however, Neptune is also the ruler of the water sign of Pisces and is associated with dreaming and creative ideas.
Moon - Moonstone
This stone is made up of two species of feldspar. It can be found in many countries including Armenia, Austria, Australia, Mexico, Madagascar and the United States.
The Moonstone has been used in jewellery since earliest times and has always been associated with the Moon. This made it a natural choice to represent the planet in the necklace.
Chiron - Peridot
The Peridot is a form of olivine and only occurs in green although the shade of green may vary. It is mined in several US states as well as several other countries including Australia, Brazil, China and Egypt.
The Peridot is said to have the power to provide a shield of protection around the body. it can help heal a bruised ego and inspires internal happiness. As such it was felt appropriate to select it to represent the planet known astrologically as the "wounded healer".
Sun - Rock Crystal
The Rock Crystal is a form of quartz. It was chosen to represent the Sun because it is strong and bright and makes a statement. In the birthchart the position of the Sun represents the person themselves.
Venus - Rose Quartz
Rose Quartz is exactly what its name implies - pink quartz. It is known as the "love stone" so is appropriate to represent the planet named after the goddess of love - Venus.
It is said to be able to remove negativity and bring calm and harmony again as well as engendering loving relationships.
Saturn - Tiger Eye
This is a metamorphic rock. It is so-called because its colours resemble the eye of a tiger.
It was chosen to represent the planet Saturn mainly for its appearance which is similar to that of the planet itself as seen in photographs.