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Dyed Stones - Tough Enough?
Posted by Erin to Articles
Dyed Stones: Pretty and Bright or Design Menace? Color-enhanced stones can be a tricky topic- some people are vehement stone purists and willing to pay a premium for colorful stones that haven't been treated in any way to enhance color. Others don't care as long as the stone looks good and helps execute their design vision.

If you're into dyed stones, this is a must-read. We're going to dive into some important areas of history, production, and quality testing that will help both you and your customers make informed decisions around dyed stones.

If you're a stone purist, this blog *may* open your mind a little and give you some room to expand your profit margins, or it may just be some fun facts to add to your repertoire.

Identifying Dyed Stones

Dakota Stones Pointed Pendant Sets

Most in the industry willingly disclose if stones have been dyed- if you're in doubt, you can always ask the vendor, if you trust that the vendor knows their product and that they're 100% aware of how it was produced. In the event that you're not confident in the vendor's knowledge or honesty, here are some things to look for to see if a stone has been dyed.

A quick scan of the stone surface can tell you lots. A dyed stone will have more intense color in areas where the dye more easily accumulates, like fractures and low-relief or pitted areas than it does on the smoother planes. Because dye cannot easily penetrate the *entire* stone, there may also be areas where scrapes or chips reveal a different color beneath the surface.

Am I Taking a Risk in Buying Dyed Beads?

The answer to that is complicated and is closely related to how the stone was produced. If the beads were produced using best practices, you'd literally need to use undiluted Acetone or bleach to get the color to budge. Properly dyed beads are NOT going to lose their color through normal wear and tear, some exposure to water, or rubbing against clothing or skin.

That being said, there's a big degree of trust, especially at lower price points, when purchasing dyed stones. It's less expensive to produce dyed beads by cutting corners in the dyeing process, so there is dyed stone on the market that's not color-fast, and basic wear or exposure to moisture will cause the beads to lose color or transfer the color to another surface.

This is where knowing your vendor and trusting their sourcing and production is incredibly important. Many vendors are simply re-selling beads they haven't overseen, produced, or closely inspected. Shopping based solely on price point might be tempting as a store or designer, but can come back in a bad way if your customers experience loss of color or damaged clothing.

As a manufacturer, we have an extra degree of control in the products we offer, whether dyed, heat-treated, stabilized or untreated. We know which products have been enhanced, what enhancement has been used, and that all treatments conform to industry best-practices. If you ever have questions about whether or not one of our stone types has been enhanced, please ask!

Important Note: It's always good to remember (and remind customers) that jewelry is not impervious. Most handmade jewelry has components that will suffer if worn in the shower, pool, to workouts, or to bed. It's always best to remove jewelry if you're in doubt. Plating on metal beads may discolor or wear away, organic materials like leather, cotton, and silk aren't fond of excess moisture, and some stone beads (like Opal and Turquoise) are more vulnerable to damage than others. Let your customers know to treat the finished piece like the wearable piece of art it is, and you and they can be confident in the durability and lasting good looks of their purchase.

Erin, Dakota Stones

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Gary Huguenard Date 8/28/2017
Thanks Erin, good info!!
Marion Gold Date 8/28/2017
Thank you, Erin. Excellent explanation even for those of us who have been in the jewelry design business for awhile. I've always trusted Dakota Stones - and will continue to trust its quality and honesty. When I "store-front" local shops, however, I also carry small packets of acetone to rub on the stones before I buy them. Even the best-dyed stones will literally show their true colors! Thanks again for the quality and all the wonderful stones available from Dakota Stones!
Teddi Silver Date 8/28/2017
Thanks for this info. I remember a jewelry designer friend buying expensive Iolite beads from a foreign vendor and the first time she wore them, she had blue dye on her neck. Needless to say, she was livid. I rarely buy dyed beads and am very cautious when I do, testing them before I use them in a design. I have always been happy with the ones I buy from Dakota Stones and am very happy that you indicate they are dyed on your website.
Belinda Szarek Date 8/28/2017
Erin, I found this article to be very useful when considering the use of dyed stones. Thank you.
Cindy Date 8/29/2017
Hello Erin....Nice bit of information. I agree it's a matter of trusting your vendors. I was a little unclear about the acetone. Will all dyed stones, even if done properly, have their color come off if you rub with acetone. Or is it just improperly died stones.
Nancy Wise Date 8/31/2017
Hi Erin. Last year I bought a couple of "pendant sets" from y'all. On the invoice description (TQSBRZ-PT-PEN-7) it says turquoise composite with bronze pointed 7 piece pendant set. Does this mean the stones are turquoise or that they are turquoise colored? The second set (TQSBRZ-PEN-7) says turquoise colored composite & bronzite rectangle 7 piece. The stones look exactly the same in turquoise color but are different shapes. I just would like to know what to say to my customers. Also one say bronze, the other bronzite. Which is it on this as well?
 
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