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General Information for Beaders

Understanding the Terms and Measurements...

  • 'Findings' is the generic term for metal jewelry components - bar pins, posts, charms, barrette backs, etc.

  • A common unit of measurement that you will find in the jewelry component industry is a gross. This is normally abbreviated GR.  It's easy to mistake GR (gross) for g (gram). One (1) gross (GR) is always 144 pieces (12 dozen), no matter what the finding.

  • One (1) gram (g) is a weight.  Usually, only very tiny findings, such as crimp beads, are measured in grams.  Almost all other findings are sold by the gross.  Some beads are measured in 50 gram bags, with discounts for full kilograms (1 kg=1,000 g).  A 50 gram bag is 1/20th of a full kilogram bag.  Most items measured this way are inexpensive, and somewhat irregular in size, such as 'E' beads.

  • One (1) Mass = 1,200 beads. Czech bead manufacturers normally package their beads by the Mass, so quantity discounts are often available for full masses of one size, color, or type of bead.

  • For 11/0 seed beads, 1 gram is equivalent to approximately 120 beads.


  • Opaque: No light can pass through
    Examples: Pearls, Turquoise, Hematite, Lapis, Malachite.

  • Translucent: Somewhat clear - light can pass through
    Examples: Crystal, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald.

  • Iris: An iridescent coating, usually on dark, opaque beads

  • AB: Aurora Borealis, a pastel multicolored coating on translucent beads.

  • Matte: Not shiny. Matte glass beads have usually been chemically etched (frosted).

  • Ghost: Translucent matte beads with an AB coating.

Commonly used Birthstones

These are the translucent, faceted gemstones. There are many alternate sets of birthstones.
  • January: Garnet (Dark Red)
  • February: Amethyst (Purple)
  • March: Aquamarine (Pale Blue)
  • April: Diamond (Clear)
  • May: Emerald (Deep Green)
  • June: Alexandrite (imitations are lavender-blue)
    The genuine stone is a different color in sunlight than it is in fluorescent light.
    Pearls are often used instead of Alexandrite.
  • July: Ruby (Bright Red)
  • August: Peridot (Pale Green) Pronounced 'Pair-ih-doe'
  • September: Sapphire (Dark Blue)
  • October: Rose Zircon (Pink) or Opal (fiery, multicolored)
  • November: Topaz (natural color is brown;
    Treated blue topaz is more popular)
  • December: Blue Zircon (A bit brighter blue than aquamarine; Synthetics and imitations are usually a bright Turquoise-blue.)
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