Journey of the Stone Bead

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Let me tell you of the journey of the stone bead from the mine to the string. Firstly the interpret miner discovers a likable stone. He then gets some equipment and start to dig the stone by hand or machine.

Most of the African stone is dug by hand. They can't be dynamited because the stone would get so badly fractured and this would make it unsuitable for making beads. It is then transported to the market place by vehicle and boat to the factories.

At the factory the workers will cut the stone in slabs. Each slap is then cut into slices, the slices are then cut into cubes. The cubes are then facetted or made round with varying degrees of polishing stones. The process of getting a high polish from a stone might involve 3-4 different polishing compounds and a week or two in time.

The stones beads are then classed and drilled and strung. There are no mass production such as with glass or plastic beads. There are no quick processes. It always takes time. That is why stones are treasured above all else. Good stone are scarce and supply is also limited. Stone supply can be erratic.

Stone is bought in lots and then exported to the stone factories. When a container arrives there might be a lot of this stone in circulation for a while and then the supply dries up as the stone is all worked into beads. The best stone always command a high price. Kunzite, charroite and other rare beads are sold by gram and can be very expensive.

 

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