• The printable Resource guide contains a shopping list for sources, color names, and materials at

• Diagrams show you how to make bezels for stones in a variety of shapes at

• View all projects available online at BeadAndButton. com/projects.

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Get crystal clear about crystals by Julia Gerlach

The term "crystal" brings to mind many things — natural rock formations, fancy glassware, whimsical figurines, new age ideas, and, for headers, some of the most beautiful beads available in the marketplace. As such, it's no wonder that there is some confusion regarding crystal beads. What exactly are they? What are they made of?

One common misconccption about crystal beads is that they arc cut from mineral crystals that are mined from the earth, but that's not true. In rock formations, the term "crystal" refers to the specific crystalline structure found in quartz crystal and some other minerals.

Crystal beads are manufactured using the same materials that make ordinary glass, that is, sand (silica), soda ash (sodium carbonate), and limestone (calcium carbonate) transformed by heat and water. The magic ingredient that gives crystal extra clarity, weight, and sparkle is lead oxide. Most products called crystal (including glassware, figurines, and crystal beads) contain 10-35 percent lead oxide.

Several different terms are used for crystals in their myriad forms. For example, crystal stones arc sometimes referred to as rhincstoncs, Strass, pastes, or diamantes. The different stone shapes have their own names, like rivoli

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