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Materials Manifesto: High-End Stones
Posted by Erin to Articles

I was 14 when I saw my first strand of high-end beads. You know, the ones the bead store keeps in a locked case? That moment is seared into my memory. I remember thinking that one day *I* would buy fancy beads.

Fast forward two decades and change and my bead stash has stones I couldn’t have imagined. If I’m feeling bummed I go look at my beads and think of the 14-year-old who said to herself “one day”.

When jewelry design turned from a hobby to a business, I realized that designing with higher end stones presents some unique pros and cons.

Pro: Recognizable Gemstone Names Add Instant Value

If a potential buyer knows something is Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Diamond, Opal, Amethyst or Garnet, they’re more likely to understand the higher price.

Con: There Are Pricey Stone Types People Haven’t Heard Of

This is a blessing in disguise- customers like to feel like they’ve got something special. If you’re able to explain that Larimar comes exclusively from the Dominican Republic, the Sleeping Beauty Turquoise mine is closed, or that K2 comes from the second highest mountain in the world then you’re able to add major value.

Pro: They Look AMAZING!!!

They just do. Nicer stones can do some of the design work for you and take a design from good to great.

Con: Pricey!

Couple ways around this. You can start to design for a clientele that has deeper pockets. It may mean investing in some additional materials (precious metal or precious metal filled components, for example), but it gives you entry to a different type of boutique or show. The other option is to use them selectively. A pair of earrings with a few beads can be more accessibly priced than a multi-strand necklace.

High end stones can also make great accent beads.


I’ve shared a few of my favorite recent designs. Playing with color and shape has been a blast!

On a closing note, stones in the DS Premier collection are exclusives. They start as concept sketches and then we work on them for about a year to take them from rough material to finished beads.


We don’t always know if we can get them again. Sometimes, we know we’ll never get more. If you want to create designs that have something extra special, keep on eye on our show booth and website.

Erin, Dakota Stones
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