Matte beads are a pretty common find in the bead world right now, and with good reason. They look great with basically any material and add a special little something to any design style. They've also totally transformed the way we see options for designing men's jewelry. Instead of sticking to only the drabbest of colors, guys are loving the subtler pop of color that comes in a matte finish.
Matte Hessonite Garnets
When I first saw matte beads a few years back, my immediate assumption is that they went through LESS treatment than their shiny counterparts. While this is true of rough nuggets and other beads that retain the shape and texture of the rough from which they're cut, the opposite is true of, say a matte round bead. The process to matte finish a bead is counter intuitive. It requires more steps than the traditional polished stone. The bead starts its life as a polished bead- its cut, drilled polished. Then, it goes back into the tumbler with a fine grit powder, water, additional tiny stones and tumbled to matte perfection. Each stone type requires a different amount of time in the tumbler, depending on the material's hardness and characteristics. Harder materials take longer (as long as two hours), and may require multiple tumbles with different compounds to get the finish "just right."
Sooo, if you were wondering how matte beads come to be, or why the finish varies in look and feel across different stone types, now you know.