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Lava and Serpentine Earrings

About this design:

I made these for a Christmas present for a family member. The dyed serpentine is sold as ruby and sapphire jade (not from Lima Beads). However, I have since determined they are dyed serpentine.

***I want to clarify the stones have a high probability of being serpentine. That is what the RI and other properties indicate, however, as a scientist I have to say, that unless I powdered the bead (which I woudn't do) I can't be 100% positive. The dye used on the bead might have changed the results of the tests.


lava beads, ruby and sapphire jade beads, head pins

Additional Images:

Read the comments (or add your own)

  1. No Photo
    Luna Chick aka Coral says:

    Veronica, I love how you use your geology training to discern what stones actually are! Very cute earrings.

  2. No Photo
    olive penguin says:

    Thanks, Coral. I made these for a Christmas present and I was struck by how similar the colors were to the small ruby and sapphire rondelles I’ve seen. I was teaching gemstones with a professor, and gave her a couple beads to use in lecture.

    It was funny because she didn’t believe they were jade, so long story short we analyzed them and determined serpentine. It actually makes sense because the industry used serpentine and other minerals as ‘new jade.’ What I like best is that beading influences and is useful in the gemstone lecture…who knew beading was so educational?! ;)

  3. Nancy Mc
    Nancy Mc says:

    Hi OP,
    These are very earthy.I’m not familiar with lava beads,but they’re very interesting. I understand what you mean about the red and blue looking like “raw” ruby and sapphire. I appreciate that you posted this info. It’s fascinating to me. I may have been “had” a couple of times. All part of learning. ;)

  4. No Photo
    olive penguin says:

    Hi, Nancy- Lava beads is a general term for beads made from rock that came from a volcano.

    I want to be perfectly clear: I have never seen or purchased anything from Lima Beads that I thought was something other than what it was labeled and sold as.

    I wouldn’t say you were ‘had’ or even that I was ‘had’ when I bought the dyed ‘jade’ beads. Names of gemstones aren’t always the mineral name. This is just a industry generalization, they do it with ‘granite’ countertops too (some are other igneous rocks, not in terms of durability and value the name of the rock really doesn’t matter in the slightest, unless your a nerdy geologist like me ;) ), but none of these name changes effect the value or beauty of the stones–unless someone sells you CZ and tells you it’s a diamond. In general it is the appearance the beauty of the beads the matters. It is what you like and not the name.

    Here’s a true story of someone how was lied to and ‘had’–I was in Mexico when I was first studying geology of a couple weeks as part of an educational experience at a language school in Mexico. It was with a group of primarily teachers, and one of the youngest in the group. One member of the group bought a malachite and sterling silver ring. I looked at it and informed the person that it not malachite, it is silver and pretty, but not malachite, it’s not a stone at all it’s plastic. This person didn’t believe me at first and took it to another vendor who said, it’s not cold, so it is plastic. After that no one in the group bought special pieces of stone without checking it or asking me. That is a bad example of deception.

    I would not and do not consider a slight change in mineral names a bad or misleading action. That said, as a rockhound-geologist I find all stones interesting, valuable, and beautiful.

  5. No Photo
    olive penguin says:

    oops, I meant a good example of deception.

  6. Little Round Chick
    Little Round Chick says:

    Lava is fun to work with and I really like your design.

    I think at one time or another most of us have bought beads labeled as one thing and found out later on they were something totally different.
    Several years ago when turquoise dyed magnesite and howlite first came on the market they were sold as genuine turquoise. I bought some, thought they were beautiful and didn’t realize what they were. I have since learned how to tell the difference and if I sell anything made with psuedo turquoise I make sure the buyer knows they aren’t buying genuine turquoise. I don’t buy these dyed beads any more and if I am in doubt about what the stone is I won’t buy it at all. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

  7. Eeka Mouse
    Eeka Mouse says:

    Interesting combination of stones.

    You could be completely scientifically nerdy & say ‘the stones’ attributes and appearance are consistent with that of dyed serpentine’ :)

  8. Nancy Mc
    Nancy Mc says:

    Hi Olive..thanks for the post. I may have jumped the gun,but was talking of my own bead box.
    I’ve sold some little Ruby and Sappire button earrings,and sure hope I wasn’t over charging.
    My gut told me they were ok. Just posted Ruby and Pearls tonight. Let me know how they look to you. I know it’s not a sure thing when you look at a monitor. My corundum stones were not from Lima.
    On a funny note. I bought a great “Coral” bracelet in the Bahamas way back when,and thought I got a great deal,till it broke. The beads fell on the dance floor,and all the paint chipped off..ha ha ha ;)

  9. No Photo
    olive penguin says:

    Hi, Nancy, no problem or worries. I didn’t think you were saying anything negative at all. In fact, I was trying to let you know that there are more good things from bead buying then bad, and trying to more then anything let you know that I was saying anything negative about your beads. lol :)

    I’m sure your corundum is real. However, if you want to test them, your stones scratch glass they are most likely corundum (it’s 9 on mohs hardness scale, so it’s harder than most minerals, with the exception of diamond), they should scratch quartz too. Though I’m not sure if you want to try it, but I just thought I’d pass along the info.

  10. No Photo
    olive penguin says:

    Thanks everyone for the positive feedback on the earrings…and thanks for ‘tolerating’ my ‘teaching’ lesson–in case it wasn’t obvious geology and teaching is what I do. lol :D ;)

    I appreciate the feedback on the earrings. I thought it was a fun combo and the person I gave them to loved them too.

  11. Nancy Mc
    Nancy Mc says:

    Thanks so much. I love learning these things.

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