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Clarify terms: earth mined, unheated, natural etc

Bonsai

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 11, 2019
Messages
102
I'm buying some beads/ stones online. Without trying to pester the seller To death, I dont understand the terms.
For example I bought some cornflower blue sapphire beads noted as unheated.
The orange sapphire from the same seller is noted as "earth mined".
What is the difference?????
Also anytime a seller uses "natural" are we to assume its natural as in not lab created or natural as in unaltered?

It seems to me like these terms are thrown around but really more or less one in the same?
 

Mekp

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
87
My understanding is:

Unheated = has not had standard heat enhancement (vast majority of sapphires are heat treated and sapphires without this treatment usually carry a premium price). A stone may have received only heat treatment or it may have received additional treatments as well.

Earth-mined and natural would both mean it was not made in a lab. A stone can be earth mined/natural but still may have undergone a variety of treatments, so it's important to ask about that if it isn't disclosed.
 

marymm

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
4,147
Technically, the terms are not the same, yet it is true that different vendors/people may use the terms interchangeably.

Generally speaking:

"Earth-mined" means the stone was harvested from the earth (as opposed to grown in a lab or created/assembled).

"Unheated" means that no heat was used on the stone by humans (yet keep in the mind if the stone was pulled from the earth, it may well have been heated by the earth itself). Note: even if the stone is unheated, it may still have undergone other treatments (radiation, oiling, sealing/coating, fracture filling...).

"Natural" when it comes to gemstones I understand to mean "from the earth" or "occurring in nature" (as opposed to being grown in a lab or produced artificially) but the stone could still be so heavily treated as to virtually unnatural (if you know what I mean).

If you have concerns or requirements as to whether a stone is earth-mined or created, or whether a stone has any kind of treatment or not, I recommend you ask specific questions of the vendor.
 
Last edited:

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
4,229
It’s hard buying gemstone beads.
Often times the “photo” is representative and not the actual strand you will receive. Check that first.
No one is going to “test” individual beads so it’s just the sellers words as to the treatment or lack thereof with gemstone beads.
Keep in mind that if the rough had been decent they would have faceted it or cabbed it. So mostly gemstone beads are made from the lowest grade / quality of gemstone rough.
Some sellers or eBay and Etsy are selling dyed material as “sapphire” or “emerald”. The material is earth mined but it’s heavily treated. I’ve bought such beads myself. Pretty colour but that’s it.
Be aware that sometimes coloured quartz or glass is sold as tourmaline. Made that mistake too. Pretty but not real.
Moonstone beads can be natural or a made material called opaline glass.
So the term earth mined doesn’t mean guarantee it’s the gemstone described or that it’s untreated. Likewise “natural” doesn’t guarantee It’s not treated to the nth degree.
What you want to read is “natural, mined from the earth and untreated” even then, are you going to spend $$$$ getting every bead tested? No. And they know that.
So buy from reputable sellers and for quality gemstone beads, expect to pay a good price.
Beads like garnet, amethyst, citrine, pale beryl, Ethiopian opal are more likely genuine, beads that are sapphire, ruby, Emerald might be natural but likely treated.
 

Bonsai

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 11, 2019
Messages
102
It’s hard buying gemstone beads.
Often times the “photo” is representative and not the actual strand you will receive. Check that first.
No one is going to “test” individual beads so it’s just the sellers words as to the treatment or lack thereof with gemstone beads.
Keep in mind that if the rough had been decent they would have faceted it or cabbed it. So mostly gemstone beads are made from the lowest grade / quality of gemstone rough.
Some sellers or eBay and Etsy are selling dyed material as “sapphire” or “emerald”. The material is earth mined but it’s heavily treated. I’ve bought such beads myself. Pretty colour but that’s it.
Be aware that sometimes coloured quartz or glass is sold as tourmaline. Made that mistake too. Pretty but not real.
Moonstone beads can be natural or a made material called opaline glass.
So the term earth mined doesn’t mean guarantee it’s the gemstone described or that it’s untreated. Likewise “natural” doesn’t guarantee It’s not treated to the nth degree.
What you want to read is “natural, mined from the earth and untreated” even then, are you going to spend $$$$ getting every bead tested? No. And they know that.
So buy from reputable sellers and for quality gemstone beads, expect to pay a good price.
Beads like garnet, amethyst, citrine, pale beryl, Ethiopian opal are more likely genuine, beads that are sapphire, ruby, Emerald might be natural but likely treated.
Thank you that is helpful regarding the terms.

But IDK I've seem some pretty high priced beaded jewelry. The GemBee on Etsy sells some stuff that appears real high end.I got quite a bit of beads from her and I will say I can say they are noticeably different, or better than the usual.
Some of her gems are GIA certified, the bead strands I mean. I think I saw some turquoise and maybe a few others.

I got some emerald shaped focal beads from Druzydesign on eBay and they are said to be untreated. I would believe this is probably true looking at them.
Their beads appear to be quality as well.

That said I do notice inclusions in the beads, well some of them so I assume this could be why they weren't made to stones for rings, etc and kept for beads where they will serve an interesting purpose.

I don't think I 'd believe stuff from either of them is dyed or anything. But I always ask and some cheap sellers said theirs is dyed or treated heavily.
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
4,229
I myself have an emerald bead necklace and a ruby bead necklace that are “older” and of fine quality.
And certainly jade bead necklaces have sold for literal millions!
I make gemstone dangles, it’s a hobby of mine. I’ve just found that most “new” loose beads are not fabulous quality and often misdescribed. I’m meaning smaller ones, the focal bead size tend to be better quality.
 

Bonsai

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 11, 2019
Messages
102
I did notice the larger they got the better quality like the smooth rounds 4-6 mm much better than the faceted 3 mm but more pricey also
 

LilAlex

Shiny_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 3, 2018
Messages
358
I think I would run away from anything described as "earth-mined." That is not a selling point. "It's not even fake!! How about that?"
 
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