Well Hello There Gorgeous!!

Are you looking for a new hobby that’s both creative and relaxing? Have you ever considered making your own jewelry? If so, you may be wondering where to start.

One option is to make semi-precious gemstone jewelry.

Semi-precious gemstones are beautiful and come in a wide variety of colours and shapes, making them perfect for jewelry making. They are also more affordable than precious stones, which can make them a great alternative for beginners who do not want to spend a lot of money while they are still learning. Making jewelry with semi-precious gemstones is a fun and enriching hobby that can lead to the creation of unique and beautiful pieces.

In today’s blog, we will explore the basics of making semi-precious gemstone jewelry and I’ll provide you with some tips to help you get started.

Welcome to the wonderful world of gemstone obsession. (It’s not as bad as it seems, although my last Visa statement screams something a little different.) 

Whether you’re a beginner (welcome, welcome, welcome) or an experienced (maybe we could share tips??) handmade jewelry maker, there are so many tips & hacks to help make the whole process easier.

(Just a heads-up, the gemstones in this blog have been linked to the simple 8mm bracelet store within the One Zero Eight Mala Jewelry website for your shopping convenience, all you have to do is click on the name)

Decide What Kind of Jewelry You’ll Be Making

When it comes to making gemstone jewelry, there are a few things to think about before deciding on what kind of pieces you want to create.

Firstly, it is essential to think about who you are making the jewelry for. Are you making it for yourself? A friend? A co-worker? Is it for a specific age group or for a particular occasion? When you can answer all these questions, it will help you determine what kind of gemstones to use and what designs to create.

For example, if you are making jewelry for a wedding, you may want to consider using clear or white gemstones like Clear Quartz or Howlite, while if you are making jewelry for a younger person, you may want to consider using bright and bold gemstones like Amethyst or Turquoise.

Secondly, it might be important for you to consider the current trends. Fashion and jewelry trends are constantly changing, and it is important to stay up to date with the latest styles and designs. Researching the latest trends and incorporating them into your designs will ensure that your gemstone jewelry is relevant and appealing to your intentions and tastes. 

But, because you are designing for yourself at this stage, you might decide that you’re more interested in the other side of designing gemstone jewelry…the spiritual & metaphysical side.

Remember that wedding jewelry we used as an example – What if you made the jewelry with an intention theme instead of a fashion statement? A couple of different options could be a love-intentioned bracelet made with gemstones that represent love or a good luck bracelet made with gemstones that represent good luck. 

The beauty of making your own jewelry means you can design whatever suits your needs. Finding Inspiration for Designing Stretch Gemstone Bracelets & 6 Great Ideas for Designing Your Own Gemstone Bracelets might help you get a head start. If you’d like to skip all that, why not jump straight over to How to Make a Stretch Gemstone Bracelet Like a Pro.

Additionally, consider using unique and rare gemstones to make your pieces stand out. This will make your jewelry more exclusive and unique.

You will also need to decide what kind of gemstone jewelry you want to make. You can choose from earrings, necklaces, bracelets and anklets. Choose whatever floats your boat, that way… you’ll feel more inspired. That’s the key. Visit our online shop for inspiration!

Set a Budget

Once you’ve decided, (here’s a HUGE tip) set yourself a budget. I know that seems kinda odd but trust me, you’ll thank me later. 

When making your own semi-precious jewelry, it is important to set a budget to ensure that you are able to get the best value for your money. The first step in setting a budget is to determine how much money you want to spend on your project. You should consider the cost of materials, tools, and any other expenses that may arise during the process. Researching the prices of the materials you want to use can help you estimate a reasonable budget for your project.

Once you have set a budget, it is important to stick to it. One way to do this is to track your expenses as you go along. This will help you keep track of how much you are spending and where you may need to make adjustments.

You may also want to look at using less expensive materials or finding ways to repurpose materials you already have to help keep costs down. By setting yourself (and sticking to it) a budget, you can create beautiful, high-quality semi-precious jewelry that fits within your financial means.

Semi-precious gemstone beads are spectacular, and we often lose all sense of perspective and reality when standing in front of row upon row of shiny, glittering beads. So once again, set your budget and stick to it.

Personally, I’ve had to pull the reigns in a couple of times (re-adjusted my budget expectations) when making my own bracelets…the raw cost of the semi-precious gemstone beads I wanted to use was just too expensive. I couldn’t justify spending that much money on just one type of bead. So instead of buying that particular bead, I found something that looked pretty close to it and went with that. It’s a choice you’ll have to make at some stage.

Getting Started

I started my obsession at Michaels. (a large crafts store in Canada) It’s a great way to buy a few small strings of beads to see if you really want to invest in jewelry making. I also used Amazon as a bead source but unfortunately, I found out the hard way that it is not as budget-freely as I thought it would be. 

As my gemstone jewelry home-based business started to grow, bringing in more and more regular customers, I changed how I ordered my beads, threads & tools. I decided to move away from buying from physical locations to online stores. I now order 95% of my beads from them. That last 5% covers emergency bead purchases when I need them for customers who need a special piece in a hurry.

Sooner or later, you’ll want to decide how far you want to take your jewelry making. You might be okay with spending a little bit more because you only want to make a few pieces when you feel like it. That’s perfectly fine and it’s an amazing hobby! 

Deciding Where to Buy Your Beads (In more detail)

When it comes to buying supplies, whether it’s for a project or for personal use, it’s always helpful to have options. But with so many stores and websites to choose your supplies from, it can be overwhelming to decide where to buy from.

There are a few factors to consider, such as price, quality, and convenience. It’s important to do some research and compare prices and reviews to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

Additionally, think about whether it’s more convenient to buy in person or online, and weigh the pros and cons of each of your options. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your particular preference and what works best for your needs, and of course your budget.

I’m spilling the tea on where I buy my beads from. I don’t mind sharing this list with you at all. Just don’t tell anyone else, ok?

Once (and I’m presuming you have already fallen in love with jewelry design and making by then) you can decide where you’ll buy your beads from in the future. Your options will include (Sorry, I live in Canada and I’m not sure what your country’s equivalents are) Michaels, Specialty Bead Stores and of course, the internet. I use Pandahall, LBeads and ibeadcanada for my online sources. They offer the best prices by far but, watch out for those shipping charges as they can easily cost more than the beads themselves. (Especially if you’re in a hurry.) Been there, done that, wrote on the postcard and bought the T-shirt. 

That being said, I’ve put together a wee Pros & Cons list so you can compare your options. Of course, the comments/reasons on this list are based on MY experiences, but please trust me, I’ve got nothing to gain by lying to you.

Physical Stores like Michaels and other such “General Crafting Stores”


  •  They are a great place to start your hobby because you get to see and touch the products. 
  • The selection of beads isn’t overwhelming so you feel comfortable picking something instead of worrying about all the different options like the stone cut, size, bead count and generally comparing apples to oranges.
  • You’re in, you’re out. You don’t have to wait for the shipping to arrive in your mailbox.
  • It’s good in a pinch.


  • The selection of beads is REALLY limited.
  • You can’t rely on the labeling to actually tell you what kind of stone you’re buying. An example is always Turquoise. The label says “Genuine Turquoise” and you know fair well it’s actually dyed Howlite. It’s basically a crap shoot on whether it’s what the label says it is.
  • The length of the strings of the beads is only half of what you get from bead specialty stores and online stores, which when you pull out your calculator, means you are spending more money per bead, for a product you’re not sure is even authentic.
  • The staff, for the most part, isn’t very well educated. No shade on them but, don’t ask for any information or details regarding their gemstones…other than “Where are the purple beads, I need the purple beads”.
  • What became REALLY evident during COVID was, that these large hobby stores are completely dependent on their supply shipments from China & other such countries. No shipments = No stock.

Physical Stores like Specialty Bead Stores.


  • A terrific selection of semi-precious gemstone beads
  • You can see & touch the beads and you can easily check the authenticity of the beads, at face value.
  • You can have face to face guidance/information from the staff
  • You’re in, you’re out. You don’t have to wait for the shipping to arrive in your mailbox. (My husband would testify in a court of law, that it isn’t, in fact, ever…a case of you’re in, you’re out. It’s more like you’re in, time ticks by leading to a proof of life inquiry…then usually a second inquiry…then reluctantly you’re out.)
  • You can return an unused string of beads, with a justifiable reason, with relative ease. (ALWAYS keep your receipt!)


  • Super, over-inflated pricing
  • Sometimes you’ll get staff who don’t actually know WTF they’re talking about, but they’ll sell you the merchandise anyway.
  • Sometimes you feel like a criminal trying to return an item. I was having trouble seeing the colour of a gemstone Guru bead and I asked a staff member if the bead was Onyx (The label said Onyx, but I still wasn’t sure, something looked off) she looked at the label and said it was. Took her word for it and drove 3½ hours home only to discover it was a dark brown mystery stone that became evident only when you held it in the sunlight. The next time I was in the city, I returned it and had to argue that the purchase was not through any fault of my own. Got the eye roll and a muffled okay. Jeesh!
  • Most stores like this, have a limited inventory. An 8mm Amethyst bead is an 8mm bead of Amethyst. There’s no choice on the grade (quality) of said bead. Amethyst has a lot of different grades and that directly corresponds to the price. 
  • More often than not, it takes forever for these stores to replenish their stock. Sure, they may have tons of different beads but, if they don’t restock the popular beads regularly, you will leave the store without the beads you were hoping to buy. (It’s usually the 8mm size in all of the most popular gemstones.) Personal experience!

 Online Stores


  • Whatever you want, whenever you want.
  • Waaayyyyyy cheaper than any other physical store
  • Vast variety of each stone including cut, size, shape and quality
  • You can decide how quickly your shipments come to you. This would include UPS, FedEx, Fast-paced post, medium-paced post and literally the slow boat from China.
  • You can create & save wish lists that also keep track of your previous orders so, if you want to order a specific bead again, it’s super easy.
  • You don’t have to ‘People’. You can shop in your pajamas without getting arrested.
  • Their customer service is amazing.


  • If you need to return something, it will take months. (It would probably be cheaper to save the stamps and put those beads into the “someday, maybe” shoebox.)
  • There’s no face-to-face customer service.
  • You can’t touch and experience the gemstones before you buy them.
  • You have to read the bead description & information section really carefully. I missed the part where it said the bead hole size was .5mm (and I use a .8mm stretch nylon thread – spoiler alert, it doesn’t fit)

I also missed the bit where it said the charms were 2x larger than I was expecting.


Now, depending on your style preferences, you might also want to take a look at adding metal-finding beads (these are decorative beads that enhance the overall aesthetic of your jewelry) and charms. Either way, it’s your choice. Just a word of caution though, adding too many charms & findings can take some of the focus away from the beauty of the natural gemstones…but you also need to let your creativity fly, so it can be a delicate balance. I have made this mistake more than a couple of times which resulted in me cutting the nylon thread and starting over again, without so many findings. Apparently, I’m a slow learner.

When it comes down to making your jewelry:

  • let your intuition guide you. 
  • Use Pinterest, the internet and fashion magazines for inspiration.
  • Have fun – it shouldn’t be a chore.

Frequently Asked Questions About Making Your Own Gemstone Jewelry

Q: What kind of gemstones can I use to make jewelry?

A: You can use any kind of semi-precious gemstone that you like! Popular options include Garnet, Amethyst, Citrine, Black Onyx, Tiger’s Eye, Aventurine, Carnelian, Howlite, Amazonite, Labradorite and Turquoise. Those are just a quick sample of the easiest gemstones to find.

Q: Do I need any special tools to make gemstone jewelry?

A: Yes, you will need a few tools to get started. At the very least, you will need a pair of scissors, a beadboard, nylon thread and glue. In my blog The 6 Best Tools for Making Stretch Gemstone Bracelets, I explain exactly which tools I use every day, without fail. I purposefully created this list with a tight budget in mind, because when I was starting out, I had to be very frugal with my money. Hey, I’m just being honest. 

You can always add to your collection of tools as you decide what kind of jewelry you prefer to make.

Q: How difficult is it to make gemstone jewelry?

A: It depends on the design you’re trying to create and how many times you forget to bring tools and extra finding beads to your project table. Some projects, like simple beaded necklaces or bracelets, are pretty easy to complete and are ready to go in about an hour. Earrings can take about 20 minutes…depending on the design and your access to time-saving tools.  

Q: Where can I find gemstones to use in my jewelry?

A: You can find gemstones at a variety of places, including craft stores, online retailers, and gem shows. Be sure to read reviews and compare prices before making a purchase to ensure that you’re getting a good deal. Personally, I’d stay away from buying at a gem show. They are relying on you not knowing how much those beads really should cost and they’re hoping you’ll get caught up in the excitement.

Q: What are the benefits of making my own gemstone jewelry?

A: Crafting your own jewelry comes with a multitude of advantages. By designing your own pieces, Customizing your jewelry has many perks. You have the opportunity to express your unique style and showcase your personality. Additionally, the process of crafting jewelry can be both enjoyable and fulfilling, making it an ideal hobby for those seeking a creative outlet.. Moreover, the process of making jewelry can be both enjoyable and fulfilling, making it an ideal hobby for those seeking a creative outlet.

Embarking on the journey of making your own gemstone jewelry is not just a creative endeavour; it’s a rewarding experience that combines artistry with personal expression.

Beyond the joy of crafting something unique, there are tangible benefits to trying your hand at jewelry making.

Not only does creating your jewelry allow you to tailor designs to your personal taste, but it also presents a cost-effective alternative to purchasing pre-made pieces. Imagine the satisfaction of wearing or gifting a one-of-a-kind creation that reflects your style and vision, all while saving some bucks in the process.

Armed with the essential tools highlighted in my blog, The 6 Best Tools for Making Stretch Semi-Precious Bracelets, and armed with your collection of stunning gemstone beads, you’re poised to embark on a journey of self-expression and craftsmanship. Transforming these raw materials into a spectacular piece of jewelry is a fulfilling experience that goes beyond the end result – it’s about the creative process and the pride of making something truly exceptional.

Jewelry-making isn’t just a craft; it’s a form of storytelling through art. Express yourself through unique designs that embody your personality and style. Whether you choose to wear your creation or gift it to someone special, the sentimental value surpasses that of any store-bought piece.

So, are you ready to dive into this incredible journey of creativity? Let’s do it together! For an in-depth exploration of the rewards of making gemstone jewelry, click here. And for a burst of inspiration, peruse our catalogue by clicking here to visit our shop. Join us in turning gemstone beads into personalized works of art – a journey that promises not only beautiful jewelry but also a sense of accomplishment and self-discovery.

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Ka Kite Ano

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