Beaded jewelry is very popular these days! We know that jewelry made of beads has been around for 30,000 years, so it is unlikely that this is a fad. Persian turquoise beads dating back to 5000 BC have also been uncovered. Egyptian turquoise beads dating back to about 3000 BC have been found as well. Closer to home, archeologists have uncovered turquoise beads used by native Americans dating back to 200 BC.
Given the popularity of both beading and turquoise, it should come as no surprise that turquoise beads often find themselves into contemporary jewelry.
We recently carried out an informal analysis of the kinds of gemstone beads that people search for on the Internet, using a popular word tracking website. Our analysis showed that turquoise beads were more popular (more searches) than any other kind of gemstone bead.
Turquoise beads can be found in many different sizes and shapes. Most turquoise beads are coming from China, where labor costs are low. In days gone by, beads were hand cut on grinding wheels, but these days most beads are machine made, under the supervision of a trained technician. This allows for greater uniformity and precision than can be offered by a human, but undermines the traditional lapidary crafts.