Gemstone Beads – Understand what AAA Quality Means and what Gemstones are Graded

Sapphire Briolette Gemstone Beads

Gemstone Classification

In order to better understand the grading system of gemstone beads, we must first learn how gemstones are grouped.

Gemstone beads are classified by three main categories:

  • Precious gemstones exclusively allude to diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.
  • Synthetic gemstones are manmade stones such as opalite and goldstone.
  • Lastly, semi-precious gemstone beads refer to all other gemstones that are not precious, synthetic, or composite stones.

Gemstone Grading System

While there is no universal grading system, many gemstone beads are graded based on their quality, color, cut, and clarity (somewhat similar to how diamonds are graded). Gemstone grading is assigned by letter. AAA is the highest grade while D is the lowest.

  • AA – AAA grade gemstones beads are usually more expensive, higher quality, and near-perfect. These gemstone beads are not usually color-enhanced and most of them are faceted cut. Most of our AAA grade gemstone beads are stashed away in our glass top trays. (P.S. – the photo pictured above is genuine London Blue Topaz that retails at $2,800. Don’t be afraid to ask us for a little sneak peek!)
  • A  grade gemstone beads are considered good quality beads with slight inclusions. An excellent way to see the true difference between an A grade quality bead VS a lower grade bead is to compare labradorite. Higher quality labradorite beads have more blue and green flashes whereas B grade labradorite is a lighter shade of grey with less flashes. Additionally, higher grade lapis lazuli beads are usually natural and will have more golden pyrite streaks. Our A grade gemstone beads can be found in our gemstone cabinet and all throughout our store.
  • B – D grade gemstone beads are decent quality beads with their own unique characteristics that make them special. These beads are usually found in cool “organic” shapes, interesting cuts, and are generally color-enhanced.

Here at Beadworks, we offer a wide range of gemstone beads that come in many different grades. We pride ourselves on creating a diverse selection that caters to every jewelry designer’s specific needs and budget.