Have you ever been disappointed when your gemstone order arrived looking rather different from the online pictures?  I have.  The use of stock photos is the cause.  So it was such a refreshing find with Joanne Nelson's exceptional and forthright service for Nelson Beads.  I had previously reviewed her gorgeous Madagascar rose quartz before.

Nelson Beads always shows the exact photographs of the gemstones on sale - she retakes pictures for each new supply - so what you see is what you get.  As you can see from my picks of favorite pictures here, Joanne is also a great photographer. She includes close up pictures which simply make one fall in love with the gorgeous gemstones even more!

Rhyolite Gemstones

The other thing Joanne does right is to explain what the gemstones are, their origin and how they have been treated.  Her product descriptions are often educational. And as jewelry artisans, we have to know because our customers expect us to know and may well ask! Take the rhyolite gemstones for example.  Did you know they are sometimes erroneously marketed as rainforest jasper? I didn't. Nelson Beads also has a section on Gemstone Properties if you wish to find out more about the gemstones being sold.

Crab Fire Agate

Joanne is also delightfully honest when it came to crab fire agate, "It's anybody's guess how these beads are made. I've been told that crab fire agate beads are made by heating and then rapidly cooling agate beads, which causes fracturing in the stone resulting in the crackled "crab" part, whatever crab means." She also suspects they are also dyed so "you are basically paying for a lot of processing."  Having said that, the gemstone prices over on Nelson Beads are very fair indeed. Crab fire agate beads are absolutely beautiful with such interesting crackle effects and will look wonderful for jewelry designs.

Lapis Lazuli

When I first wrote about Nelson Beads, only round beads were being offered. Since then, Joanne has been stocking other shapes of gemstones. Her undyed Afghanistan lapis lazuli nuggest are superb with that prized ultramarine blue color, some iron pyrite (fool's gold) but not much calcite (white flecks). Cheaper and dyed lapis lazuli often have a lot of pyrite and calcite.

The amethyst selection is another standout.  Such lovely deep purple colors! The photo above is the dark 10 mm round amethyst but has been deliberately lightened so we can see white quartz within the purple one.

Great gemstones are important foundations to jewelry making.  Here is what I did with Nelson Beads' lovely Madagascar beads.  The tutorial for the coiled wire framed earrings is here.

If you'd like to win a $40 gift certificate from Nelson Beads for gemstones of your choice, please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.

Email subscribers need to scroll down the post they receive, click on Share Comment and enter your comment. Pick Name/URL. If you don't have a store or blog, leave the URL blank.

This giveaway is international.

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments.

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday,  August 3, 2015 . I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!


My jewelry designs were photographed with my iPhone 5 and the camera+ app using natural light and the Modahaus Tabletop Studio TS320. The light colors of the designs were challenging to photograph - I tried white, black and eventually settled on grey background. The round gemstones were also tricky to position. So expect some photo sessions to take longer than others and be prepared to experiment with backgrounds and moving things around for different poses. Info on How to Photograph Jewelry Webinar.

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips