Bead necklaces have been HOT on the International market for some time and have now taken off in South Africa. There are quite a few options available to you from different stores. How do you understand the value that is offered?

The first easy measure is the clasp and metal details. Are they silver, plated, vermeil (silver dipped in gold), or are they solid gold? Plated clasps can be any cheap metal like brass for example. Silver and vermeil clasps are better, although still inexpensive and the price of the necklace should then be pocket friendly.

Real gold clasps are a whole different value. They don't wear off the gold, or tarnish like silver. They won't cause allergic reactions and they won't turn green. They are also stronger than the other metal clasps. Pay attention to any extra gold details. We like to add one or more gold beads to the mix of gem beads. It raises the quality and quietly brings elegance and extra value to our bead strands.

At Verus we use only rare gem-quality beads. Our beads are graded suitable for all forms of fine quality jewellery. These beads are not easy to source. Non gem-quality beads are easily available and cheap. These lesser quality beads are often opaque which does not allow the light through. Light shining through is what illuminates the gems and brings out the true beauty of the colour. Next, consider the size of the gems. This will be presented in mm or carats for the top gem stones. If there is no sizing offered, that's a possible red flag that they are not being upfront. The size of gems can make a BIG difference to the wholesale price and then the retail. A mm difference can mean a lot of carat difference. Carats in quality gems is where the $$$$ is!

Bigger beads are loaded with colour which will appear deeper and darker until the light catches them, and the smaller beads will be lighter, showing off the colour more readily. The image above shows the same beads, the same quality but in 2mm size (top one - Mikayla Necklace) and also in 3.5mm (bottom one - Nzuri Necklace).

Another detail is faceted or tumble polished. Our selected beads are faceted by hand which creates the scintillating effect in light reflection. Tumbled beads are mass polished and without facets they don't reflect light and sparkle much.

Look at the stringing of the gems. A good stringer doing it by hand will select an appropriate thread that does not distract from the beauty of the beads. There will be a few tiny and mostly invisible knots which are there to secure the beads and act as a safety valve if the necklace gets pulled hard. The knot will give without the necklace breaking, and your beads will be saved for an easy restring. When the knots are between each bead or there are many extra silver beads along the necklace this means fewer beads, and less value. Knots and even silver beads are far less costly than decent gemstone beads.

That is as short a summary as I can make it! Feel free to fire any questions our way.