Know Your Arizona Gemstones and Jewelry Terms

Know Your AZ Gemstones and Jewelry Terms

Glass Beads:

The most luxurious crystal beads are generally considered to be Swarovski Crystal. These beads have excellent clarity, beautiful colors and come in a large variety. The Austrian-based Swarovski company is known for its glass items. A more cost effective alternative to the Swarovski Crystal beads are Czech Glass Beads which have a similar luster and shine.


Jewelry is often composed of precious metals like gold, silver, copper or platinum. One of the more popular metals is fourteen carat gold. Apart from being used to create jewelry on its own, it is also used in conjunction with other metals. Some jewelry is made by taking a cheaper metal, like brass and then pressure bonding a layer of fourteen-carat gold to its surface. This type of product, known as gold filled, is resistant to tarnish and is superior to gold-plated materials because the layer of gold is much thicker and will not rub off.

Another useful metal for the jewelry industry is Rhodium, a white precious metal. Rhodium is most often used to plate other metals, giving those metals a hard, platinum-like sheen. However, one of the most common metals in the jewelry industry is Sterling silver, silver that is more than 92.5% pure, because it is easy to clean and wearable, even for people who are sensitive to metals.

The highest quality metal beads are made in Bali, Indonesia and are known as Bali Beads. Individually hand-crafted from silver by bead artisans, these beads have slight variations in size, form, hole width and oxidation. Bali silver is less than 92.5% pure, so these beads are not sterling silver. Despite this, they have become so popular that other countries are beginning to produce similar looking beads; these beads are known as Bali-style beads.

Another unique silver product is found in the neighboring country of Thailand, where ethnic minorities from the northern mountainous regions, create silver beads and pendants. The products, known as Hill Tribe Silver of Thailand, are beautiful and unique to the region.


Gemstones are a vital part of the jewelry industry. They come in many different colors and shapes and have a range of durabilities. The Mohs scale was developed to measure a substance’s hardness; the higher the number, the harder the substance. Diamonds, one of the hardest substances in existence measures a 10, Rubies measure a 9 and Amethysts measure a 7. Below is a discussion of some of the popular gemstone choices for jewelry.

Agate is a stone with a high degree of variety in both form and color. It is a chalcedony, a variety of quartz, often found in volcanic lava; the distinct banding in the rock differentiates it from chalcedony. Onyx, a type of chalcedony that ranges from semi-translucent to opaque, comes in a variety of colors: reds, oranges and browns. Black Onyx is another type of chalcedony, which has been dyed black.

Amethyst is a type of purple quartz whose shades range from light to dark. Aventurine is a type of green quartz that contains flecks of mica. Another quartz variety, Rose Quartz, ranges in color from pink to deep red. Smoky Quartz, a popular jewelry choice, is a stone that ranges from tan to a rich smoky brown.

Aquamarine is a type of beryl with shades of blue or turquoise. Hematite is composed of iron oxide which creates an opaque and iridescent surface. Rhodolite, a member of the garnet family, has a brilliant purple coloring. It is a durable stone that rates a 7.5 on the Mohs scale. Turquoise, a stone with a wide range of colors, is considered to be lucky. The highest quality turquoise stones are an intense blue, while lower quality stones have a yellowish-green color.

Stop by one of Private Pawn’s 9 valleywide Arizona locations to view our inventory of jewelry!

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Private Pawn

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Private Pawn Scottsdale – 85257
7841 E. McDowell Rd., Suite 911
Scottsdale AZ 85257

Mesa Locations:
Private Pawn Mesa – 85207
8151 E. Apache Trail‎, Suite 911
Mesa AZ 85207

Private Pawn Mesa – 85210
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Mesa AZ 85210

Private Pawn Mesa – 85204
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Mesa AZ 85204

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Private Pawn Chandler – 85225
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Chandler AZ 85225

Phoenix Locations:
Private Pawn Phoenix – 85043
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Phoenix AZ 85043

Private Pawn Phoenix – 85022
14601 N Cave Creek Rd., Suite 911
Phoenix AZ 85022

Private Pawn Phoenix – 85019
4135 W. Indian School Rd., Suite 911
Phoenix AZ 85019

Apache Junction Location:
Private Pawn Apache Junction – 85120
900 W. Apache Trail, Suite 911
Apache Junction AZ 85120