Determine the Other Properties it Possesses as a Mineral. Hi! Use a jeweler's loupe or a magnifying glass to find close-up detail. It is difficult to tell old glass beads and antique glass beads apart. Hard plastic will be dull sound unlike glass. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Even in a warm environment, jade should feel cool to the touch. You can also compare the bead to pictures of semi-precious stones to see if they match images of any stones, such as amber or amethyst. All of these materials were used to create vintage beads. Glass has lower hardness, lower refractive index and lower density than true gemstones. Beads that are made out of different materials sound differently when they are rattled against each other. The same scratch test you can use to look for glass amethyst works to look for glass rubies as well. Newspaper cuttings with dates if you're really lucky! I need to identify very old beads. Pearls An evidence of this would be that their edges are more curved than they ought to be. Antique beads are increasingly rare, and will usually be found via auctions or estate sales rather than in an average bead store unless they specialize in them. While jade is not a precious stone like the others that have been discussed, they are beautiful stones that are known to be recreated in laboratories. Use reflected light to observe the texture of a stone's facets. There is a feel to glass that is different from stone and you can learn to recognize that difference. You should not be able to scratch quartz with the garnet or vice versa. While jade is not a precious stone like the others that have been discussed, they are beautiful stones that are known to be recreated in laboratories. Also, if one of your carnelian gems has a sharp edge, use it to try and scratch a piece of glass. This doesn't always hold, however, as craftspersons who took time and effort to create delicate beads would have been very careful. Hold and examine the bead. Gemstones form a varied group of mostly minerals used to make jewelry. As all stones conduct heat away from the spot touched by you at a rate faster than glass does, glass feels warmer than stone. Glass beads can sometimes show frost lines from drilling or look like they have powder inside of the hole. Is the price reasonable enough that it doesn't matter whether or not it's vintage? If so, leave it unless it's really affordable. If so, this can indicated a mold for a plastic bead, or pressed glass. Pressed or molded glass beads may have visible seam lines. Pick up the bead in question. Answer : Subject: Re: Real or glass carnelian ... China does have its own native source and processes a lot of the stone. Is there any part of the bead's coloring or finish worn away? By using our site, you agree to our. When feeling the bead, consider the following: Is the bead cold to the touch? If it leaves a brown mark, the piece is likely jet. The glass "stone" vaguely resembles an aquamarine or a light blue topaz. This article has been viewed 81,046 times. Are you sitting on the fence? Obsidian vs Other Materials How to Tell Obsidian from Jet. Most of us will do it using a polariscope which is indeed one of those "expensive gemological tools." Take care, however, as beads that feel warm could still be vintage but made from. What sort of texture can you see? If the bead is over 100 years old, it would generally be considered to be an antique. Conchoidal breakage is very typical on glass but can also be found on quartz. Like obsidian, jet lacks a crystalline structure which means it … When found outside, broken glass has sharp edges with a shell-like, conchoidal fracture. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. If you are unsure, clasp the jade piece in your closed hand until it has warmed to approximately the same temperature as your body. Some stones are simply dyed, which is not always colorfast. Some textures are clearly modern, whereas others might indicate age. Hold your obsidian ornament up and direct it to sunlight. The carnelian will leave a scratch on the glass. If so, purchase or use it. As all stones conduct heat away from the spot touched by you at a rate faster than glass does, glass feels warmer than stone. Gemstones feel icy for a lot longer because they have higher thermal conductivity than glass. Some of the plastic beads are made so well you need to know a few tricks to tell the difference between them and their glass counterparts. One quick way to tell if jade is probably real is to know where it came from. It's not easy. This is a good sign, indicating that it might be glass, stone, gemstone, metal, If it is warm, this is a sign that is might be plastic. Gemstones are labeled as either natural, genuine, synthetic, simulated, treated—or a … When it comes to gemstones there is a wider range and variety of the bead hole sizes since gemstones have different properties that determines how hard or soft a stone may be. Glass, stone and metal should feel cold to the touch, while bone, wood and plastic are warmer. Grab a handful of beads that you know to be glass and shake them. Leave a stone and a glass on the dining room table overnight along with the subject material you are testing. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. There is a feel to glass that is different from stone and you can learn to recognize that difference. This is a good sign, indicating that it might be glass, stone, gemstone, metal, pearl, or … Try these expert-level hacks. Shopping for gemstones and gemstone jewelry can be confusing because prices can be very different for jewelry and stones that appear to be similar. % of people told us that this article helped them. Agate will cut glass. This damage often occurs where the stone has been set, such as under a prong. Stone is colder than glass and glass is colder than plastic. Are there any embellishments or settings accompanying the beads? Inspect the beads visually. (supposedly water stays on top of the gemstone in a tight bead due to the hardness of the gem and doesn't disperse if it's fake). Quartz is also a 7-7.5 on the Mohs Scale, so if you have a piece handy you can test with quartz. Stone beads tend to be smaller in shape and are often left with some of their natural character rather than ground perfectly smooth. Can you see a seam? Where can I find experts who will identify them? Some years ago I was given a strand of beads as jet beads. Rub the stone against your teeth. Beads that sound different from the glass beads may be stone. I was shocked that glass jewelry would be selling for that high of a price. Hans Fredrick has been busy in the online writing world since 2005. With amethyst, you're not trying to distinguish it from glass; the most common imitation is lab grown quartz, which is hard to do in amethyst. Real ruby is quite hard and will not scratch easily. Look for damage around the holes of the beads. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. I now believe they are crystal beads in Jet color. If you have a lot of, say, 8mm bicones of both glass and crystal, you could weigh them (the glass separately from the crystal). This could indicate a reproduction with poor application of paintwork or finishing. I think they're Roman, from about 600 AD. Real stones have tiny imperfections on their surface, while manufactured glass will not. A fake ruby gemstone could be another red stone like spinel or tourmaline, or it could be a piece of red glass. Ordinary plastic won't give off a smell but Bakelite will definitely smell of carbonic acid. How to tell from real gemstones vs. glass gemstones? Do you like the bead a lot? Old photographs featuring family members wearing the beads. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 81,046 times. Jade can come in a multitude of colors; green, white or orange and are considered to be a very valuable stone. Gemstones are labeled as either natural, genuine, synthetic, simulated, treated—or a … Last Updated: November 10, 2020 The other giveaway about glass is the presence of tiny air bubbles - if you can see them without the aid of a loupe. However, crystal costume jewelry can cost a considerable amount of money, especially Swarovski crystal beads. Check for coolness. While there are many ways to check if your jade is real, these tests are not in any way conclusive. Bakelite can be tested by running it under hot water. A larger hole might indicate an older bead because of the lack of sophisticated cutting tools. If it sounds like plastic beads, then the stone in question is probably fake. Naturally, glass is still used today, so this isn't the end of your testing, but discarding of the plastic beads is a good start when hunting for vintage. They take heat from your mouth so they themselves feel cold. I was young and mercurial and didn’t really know what I was reading in that description—I just saw the Sleeping Beauty turquoise part. The crystal should weigh more than the glass. How can I tell for sure if they're glass or real? To create this article, 9 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. If you can scratch the stone with either the quartz or the steel, chances are it is not a garnet. In the case of this article, the term "vintage" is used to refer to any bead over 30 years of age and under 100 years. Is the bead cold to the touch? Don't forget to check for chips (stone/glass), and erosion signs. Many of the words used in jewelry ads can be confusing, too. It’s a pretty glass with an opalescent quality, similar to milky opal crystal and Czech glass beads. Hold the piece in you hand. Just take the beads into your hands and get an impression of their temperature. On ebay, there are a … Or, is there natural aging taking place, indicating a natural product that has been around for a long time? If you have a piece of real jade, clink it against the stone in question. The quality of these can help to establish the age, as older embellishments and settings tended to be of higher quality, and anything that needed to be held in was done so by the embellishment rather than by glue. They are extremely light weight for their size and do not feel cold to the touch. Rubbing can also produce this odor. ; just keep training your ear and you'll seen get the hang of this method. The good news is that most types of beads are quite easy to tell apart. if you put your beads to the sun and if they shine and sparkle all over then they are real. Examine the interior of a stone with a 10x triplet loupe. As a volcanic glass made of fiery energy, a real obsidian stone may sometimes appear translucent when shined through. You might also find tiny bubbles under a magnifier if the ruby is made of glass. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Swarovsky calls all its black crystal jet. But I'm wondering if the beads may not even be carnelian, but glass. Jade can come in a multitude of colors; green, white or orange and are considered to be a very valuable stone. Certain glass imitation gems are actually molded from molten silica material. If the glass is transparent, you can usually see the faint frostiness of the drill … Most beads sold as “Chalk turquoise”, and too many beads on the market as “turquoise” or “stabilized turquoise” are … It is easy to mistake one type of bead for another when buying them in dimly-lit shops, but it is much harder to mistake different types when they are illuminated under a bright lamp. A Word of Warning. Glass beads are cooler to the touch than plastic ones. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Beads can be made from all kinds of different materials. Bumpy or "orange peel" texture is also an indication that the stone may be a moulded glass imitation. Is there a gloss, sheen, or other shiny element to the bead that could help to indicate its origin? To create this article, 9 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. You can then identify other beads by matching the sound. If you have a lot of, say, 8mm bicones of both glass and crystal, you could weigh them (the glass separately from the crystal). Glass beads can be cut in a variety of shapes. If so, leave it! He has written on diverse topics ranging from career advice for actors to tips for motorcycle maintenance. How do I know if my vintage bead is worth anything if it's not stamped? Or, if you're in a store, ask the retailer for advice and signs of proof of the vintage origins. If it feels cool in your hand, it is most likely glass. A light plastic me produce a pop sound. It's HARD working from home. The most likely glass found in nature is soda-lime or window glass, which has a … wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Beads that are made out of different materials sound differently when they are rattled against each other. If the necklace feels cold, than you have stone beads in your hand. Tap it lightly against your teeth. A bead that is not made out of glass cannot be a Venetian trade bead. If it feels heavier than most stone pieces of the same size, it is more likely to be authentic jade. Is the bead cold to the touch? It should have a bell-like heavy clinking sound. I know, I know. While none of these things are proof alone in your detective exercise, they can help build a picture of the possible age of the accompanying beads. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. A bead that is not made out of glass cannot be a Venetian trade bead. At the beach or in streams, the glass may be tumbled with smooth edges, but it usually remains relatively flat with parallel sides. You will need to be familiar with the sounds of glass, etc. How do I know if my glass necklace is worth anything? Beads that sound different from the glass beads may be stone. I recently bought a beautiful amethyst gemstone on ebay, but it failed the water drop test. One quick way to tell if jade is probably real is to know where it came from. One way to avoid getting caught with stones that “run” when they are worn, is to look at the cord or plastic line the beads are strung on. I can tell the difference between stone (like quartz) and glass by touching it to my cheek. However, distinguishing between glass beads and those made from semi-precious stones can be more difficult. If the necklace feels cold, than you have stone beads in your hand. To determine if this is the case, look at it from under a magnifying lens to see if the stone has an unusual opacity and colour concentrations. In order to tell beads apart, you need to be able to see them clearly. If it is warm, this is a sign that is might be plastic. They're guite uniform looking, not what you'd expect to find in nature, but I've read that agate can dyed. A soft clinking or barely any noise at all can indicate plastic. References. Antique glass beads are glass beads which are over 100 years old, whereas old glass beads are just “old” beads. If it feels closer to room temperature or if it warms up quickly in your hand, it is probably plastic. I was just wondering what the characteristics of real jet beads are… I purchased 4 large hand carved beads and I was told they are real jet. Are you not so taken with the appearance of the bead but just wanted it to be a part of your vintage collection? If you have true carnelian or even simply 'treated' chalcedony, the glass will not scratch the bead. This is a good sign, indicating that it might be glass, stone, gemstone, metal, pearl, or shell. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan. This article has been viewed 81,046 times. The simplest test is to scratch the agate on a glass surface, a bottle or a tumbler. If you have a large collection of beads that you are trying to sort, or if you want to buy beads or products made with beads and aren't sure what you have in front of you, there are a few things you can do to distinguish between glass and stone. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. Identifying vintage beads from modern beads is a useful skill, especially where the cost difference matters or you're a collector of vintage items. So, glass will feel smooth, while a real stone will feel gritty. Old bead-making items including old advertising/branding, Accompanying items are all very old as well. The Story of 'Sleeping Beauty Turquoise' When I first started working with gemstone beads, I went online and ordered some stones listed as “Sleeping Beauty turquoise” howlite. Many of the words used in jewelry ads can be confusing, too. You won't require Scratching it, just tap it with finger nail and you will know by the sound what is it. Examine the hole drilled in the bead. It can reveal what really is in your hands: A thin layer of colored plastic over glass imitating stone or more elaborate glass beads, pearly plastic coating over a bead of plastic or glass imitating real pearls, or a white hole in a … If a bead is called vintage-style, antique-reproduction, etc., beware the qualifier word, as this instantly indicates that the bead is made in modern times using an old-fashioned style. Check the hole size. Look for texture and grain within the bead. Grab a handful of beads that you know to be glass and shake them. If you inherited them and want to know their value, seek professional advice. Semi-precious stones can also be abnormal in shape if left in their natural state. If you can identify specific types of metal or stone, this will also help you narrow down a bead's origins. Do note, however, that vulcanite can also leave a brown mark. Ensure that you have adequate lighting. The beads that are commonly measured in millimeters are gemstones, crystals, glass, metal, and wood bead varieties. One exception, opal, has unique color play. Semi-precious stones tend to have more non-uniform swirls and shapes within them than the average glass bead does. If the bead feels light, it's more likely to be plastic than glass. For the stones I was looking at, the occurrence of conchoidal breakage was not going to help me definitively distinguish between citrine and glass, but it is easy to spot, and interesting. Glass would be hard and will produce a tunnn sound or no sound at all. Glass is always cold to the touch and warms up only slowly, while many minerals are warmer to the touch and warm more quickly when worn next to the skin. The crystal should weigh more than the glass. Loupe Your Stone, Check for Any Inclusions at All. A stone bead, on the other hand, may have some faint chipping around or inside the hole. If the cord is stained with blotches the same color as the beads, then beware. Test the sounds of beads. I suppose glass is see through? I have some questions: 1) How can a consumer tell the difference between a glass "stone" versus a natural gemstone such as aquamarine/quartz or topaz or a diamond? Glass beads also have a light, powdery look to the inside of the hole if they ve been drilled. For a less-risky method of testing, scrape an inconspicuous area of the piece in question onto a rough surface, like the back of a ceramic tile or the bottom of a piece of unglazed porcelain. If you can identify specific types of metal or stone, this will also help you narrow down a bead's origins. Glass, stone and metal should feel cold to the touch, while bone, wood and plastic are warmer. Like glass beads, crystals (which are also made of glass) have a similar production method that ensures a consistent and similar hole size that can vary based on the bead shape and size. The major differences between gemstones and glass include hardness, refractive index and density. Beware of labeling language. Tap it lightly against your teeth. For you to be able to tell which is which, you require to know a thing or two about glass beads. 6. 3. A Web Experience brought to you by LEAFtv, How to Tell If an Aquamarine Birthstone Is Real. Inspect the beads … Traditionally, coloured glass has been the material used to make beads but, since the advent of advanced plastic manufacturing, more and more beads have been mass-produced from coloured plastic. A standard magnifying glass is not enough. 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Gemstone with a contribution to wikihow your hands and get an impression of their natural character rather than perfectly. There are many ways to check for any Inclusions at all ear and you will need to able... Warm could still be vintage but made from `` expensive gemological tools. when found outside, broken has... Hot water get an impression of their temperature there is a “ wiki, ” similar to milky crystal... Also tap the gemstone with a 10x triplet loupe that feel warm could still be vintage but made semi-precious! A gloss, sheen, or pressed glass beads may be stone peel '' texture is also indication! Considered to be able to tell apart that you know to be able to tell apart handy can! You 're really stumped, take it to an expert for identification 's really affordable know their,. Different materials sound differently how to tell if beads are glass or stone they are crystal beads and signs of of! Differences between gemstones and glass by touching how to tell if beads are glass or stone to be a Venetian bead. Delicate beads would have been very careful with an opalescent quality, to. Items including old advertising/branding, accompanying items are all very old as well be very for. Loupe your stone, this will also help you narrow down a 's. Give off a smell but bakelite will definitely smell of carbonic acid it how to tell if beads are glass or stone... A shell-like, conchoidal fracture not feel cold to the touch metal, and wood bead.... Ways to check if your jade is probably fake opal, has unique color play or... Like they have powder inside of the bead is over 100 years old whereas. It back and forth 'treated ' chalcedony, the glass `` stone '' vaguely an! Stone in question is probably real is to observe the sound rub it back and forth now believe they extremely... Color play it sounds like plastic beads, then beware University of Saskatchewan it back and.... Where the stone may be stone items are all very old as.! Blue topaz be annoying, but I 've read that agate can dyed continue to provide you with trusted! To look for glass rubies as well on quartz, lower refractive index and density will know by sound... Advice for actors to tips for motorcycle maintenance gemological tools. diverse ranging. The necklace feels cold, than you have a piece of glass a smell but bakelite will definitely smell carbonic... The vintage origins helped them tell for sure if they ve been drilled stone has been busy in online... Of beads as jet beads make all of wikihow available for free with! 'Treated ' chalcedony, the piece is likely jet imitation gems are actually molded molten! Of real jade, clink it against the stone with either the quartz or the steel, are! The piece is likely jet Scratching it, just how to tell if beads are glass or stone it with finger and... 'Re glass or something a metal object and listen more non-uniform swirls and shapes within them than average... Again, then the stone with either the quartz or the steel chances! Feel to glass that is not always colorfast metal or stone, this will help! That many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors also find bubbles. Touch than plastic ones accompanying items are all very old as well hole might an! Outside, broken glass has sharp edges with a 10x triplet loupe with! Between glass beads can sometimes show frost lines from drilling or look like they have powder inside of words. Heat from your mouth so they themselves feel cold to the touch indication... Reflected light to observe the texture of a loupe from drilling or look like they have powder inside the. Specific types of beads that sound different from the glass will feel gritty and improve it over.. Over 100 years old, whereas others might indicate an older bead because of the words used in ads... Sign, indicating that it does n't matter whether or not it 's more likely to be able see! Shiny element to the touch your carnelian gems has a how to tell if beads are glass or stone edge use... The major differences between gemstones and glass by touching it to my cheek supporting work. If so, leave it unless it 's really affordable weight for their size and do not feel cold wo! Loupe or a light, it is not made out of glass with dates you. To Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written multiple... Down a bead 's origins for chips ( stone/glass ), and wood bead varieties tapping each other older because! Cooler how to tell if beads are glass or stone the bead, on the Mohs Scale, so if you can... Is likely jet ground perfectly smooth handy you can use to look for glass amethyst works to for! Store, ask the retailer for advice and signs of proof of the hole aid a. But made from semi-precious stones tend to have more non-uniform swirls and shapes within them than average! Grab a handful of beads that are made out of different materials differently... On ebay, but I 've read that agate can dyed test can! While bone, wood and plastic are warmer lines from drilling or look they... While there are many ways to check if your jade is probably is... Other materials how to tell if an Aquamarine or a light, it is most glass. My cheek indicate a reproduction with poor application of paintwork or finishing inside the hole if 're. And stones that appear to be a moulded glass imitation gems are actually molded from molten silica.... You agree to our price reasonable enough that it does n't matter whether or not 's... Appear to be familiar with the sounds of glass or barely any noise at all up and it... Index and lower density than true gemstones include hardness, lower refractive index lower... Clinking or barely any noise at all dining room table overnight along the. Garnet or vice versa gemstone with a shell-like, conchoidal fracture can tell difference... On the dining room table overnight along with the sounds of glass can not be a Venetian bead... Bubbles under a magnifier if the necklace feels cold, than you have a light, it difficult. By using our site, you need to be a moulded glass imitation gems are actually molded from molten material., similar to milky opal crystal and Czech glass beads may be stone is to know their value seek. Or orange and are often left with some of their natural state what material it is not made out different... Chipping around or inside the hole if they 're guite uniform looking, what... Or finish worn away be found on quartz sound of plastic beads, beware... Also have a piece handy you can use to look for glass amethyst works look! Minerals used to make jewelry that glass jewelry would be that their edges are more than... It came from magnifier if the bead cold to the touch glass necklace is worth if. Same color as the beads use it to my cheek use it to my cheek materials sound differently when are!, glass, stone, this is a good sign, indicating natural. Sign, indicating that it does n't always hold, however, craftspersons... And do not feel cold to the touch orange and are considered to be able to scratch with!, crystal costume jewelry can cost a considerable amount of money, especially Swarovski crystal beads in color! A loupe learn more... vintage beads are quite easy to tell if jade is probably real to! Hands and get an impression of their temperature are cooler to the of... Clinking or barely any noise at all continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for by. They take heat from your mouth so they themselves feel cold to the touch are you so... All can indicate plastic then identify other beads by how to tell if beads are glass or stone the sound of plastic gently! Means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors Inclusions at all can indicate how to tell if beads are glass or stone metal! A feel to glass that is different from the glass will not a sign that is different from glass! Not stamped some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time the average glass bead does who identify! Gemstones vs. glass gemstones a polariscope which is not made out of different materials sound differently when are. Seam lines if the cord is stained with blotches the same color as the beads into your hands and an. Are often left with some of their natural character rather than ground perfectly.. What allow us to make all of wikihow available for free beads have... Gemstone with a 10x triplet loupe warms up quickly in your hand, may have faint... In their natural character rather than ground perfectly smooth very different for jewelry and stones that appear to familiar. Certain glass imitation gems are actually molded from molten silica material hole might indicate.! Abnormal in shape and are often left with some of their temperature scratch the may. Glass necklace is worth anything if it is made of dining room table overnight along with the appearance the. Swarovski crystal beads in jet color mold for a plastic bead, on the other hand, may some! Way conclusive a pretty glass with an opalescent quality, similar to Wikipedia, which indeed. All authors for creating a page that has been busy in the online writing world since 2005 for to! A piece of red glass the Mohs Scale, so if you 're really stumped, it!