What Are the Different Types of Stone Beads?

Beads come in many different forms. There are the plastic beads commonly used by elementary school students for arts and crafts, glass beads, metal beads, wooden beads, beads made from bone and, of course, stone beads. Stone beads are made from various types of minerals, and they can be found in nearly every color, shape and size imaginable.

At Beads of Cambay, we sell a wide range of stone beads for our customers to use to make necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, beaded home décor items and more. Let’s take a closer look at some of the different types of stone beads.


Semi-Precious Gemstone Beads

Close up of several strands of colorful amethyst beads

Semi-precious gemstone beads are some of the most sought-after stone beads on the market. They offer incredible value, and they come in colors to match any style. Some are rough cut while others are carefully faceted to bring out the maximum sparkle.

These stone beads come in many, many different forms. Semi-precious stones include things like amethyst, jade, lapis lazuli, quartz, opal and garnet. They can be used as focal pieces, accent beads, etc. and they are versatile enough for nearly every project. Though their prices vary depending on the type of stone, its size and how it is cut, semi-precious gemstone beads are an excellent value and are ideal for most hobbyist jewelry makers and small business owners.

While other types of stone beads may only be available in a few colors, semi-precious gemstone beads come in nearly every color of the rainbowRose quartz is a beautiful soft pink, sodalite is blue, prehnite is green and citrine has a lovely golden hue. There are also stones that are red, turquoise, black, white, clear and just about any other color you can imagine. If you are looking for stone beads that are versatile and affordable, you can’t go wrong with semi-precious gemstone beads.


Precious Gemstone Beads

blue sapphire at the gem market

Precious gemstone beads come in fewer varieties, but they are the “best of the best.” Upgrading your jewelry-making designs with precious gemstone beads means incorporating high-end stones like diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires into your projects. These stones have long been prized for their beauty and clarity, and they are a great way to elevate your handmade jewelry from costume jewelry to heirloom-quality jewelry.

Precious stone beads, of course, come at a higher price than semi-precious ones. However, they do still provide exceptional value. Rough cut diamond beads, for example, allow you to incorporate real diamonds into your work without spending a fortune on cut and faceted stones. This is true for sapphires, rubies and emeralds, too.

Like semi-precious gemstone beads, precious gemstone beads come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. There are a few color options, but not nearly as many as you would find in the semi-precious category.


Freshwater Pearl Beads

River Pearls

Freshwater pearl beads are often classified as “stone” beads even though pearls aren’t really stones at all. While they are organic in nature, they form inside a living creature as a response to an irritant as opposed to forming from minerals like other stones. Despite these differences, though, freshwater pearls remain a popular “stone” for jewelry-making.

Freshwater pearl beads come in a wide range of shapes, colors and sizes. There are ones that are almost perfectly round and resemble the classic white pearl, and there are unusual shapes in colors of salmon, yellow, silver, red, bronze, copper, blue, pink and lavender. Each freshwater pearl bead is completely unique, which makes them incredibly fun to work with.

The development of freshwater pearls brought the beauty of pearls to the masses and made it more affordable for jewelry makers to work with these unique items. Today, they are much more common than “natural” pearls, and they provide exceptional value for jewelry makers and buyers alike.



There are many, many types of stone beads. They are most often categorized as either “semi-precious” or “precious,” though. Many people also classify freshwater pearls as stone beads, even though they do not form in the same way as true “stones.”

At Beads of Cambay, we carry several types of stone beads for your jewelry-making needs. We source only the finest gemstones and pearls, and we are proud to provide you with beautiful supplies that are well-suited to a wide range of projects. Check out our selection today!