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There is a considerable product offering in our catalog.  These notes will help to clarify differences and similarities in products, especially Rhinestones and their grades.

What Are Rhinestones ?

Rhinestones are Lead Crystal or glass made to resemble or imitate jewels. They can be cut lead Crystal or glass, or molded glass. They can be cut like diamonds with a point back (chatons) or flat backed for gluing or heat fixing (iron on or heat setting) (chaton roses).  Obviously, the finest rhinestones will be cut lead crystal, the less expensive will be molded glass...and there is a very big difference in light refraction. Cut Lead Crystal can be a very convincing "jewel," where as molded glass is really glittery, but does not compare with cut lead crystal in any terms.

Point Back Rhinestones (Chatons) are used mainly in jewelry, not in the clothing business. Therefore, we will limit this discussion to Flat Back Rhinestones (Chaton Roses.)

Flat Back Rhinestones are no more than faceted mirrors of some shape. Rhinestones we normally use are round with a flat top (table) and faceted sides. The back of all Flat Back Rhinestones must be mirrored with a silver coating to reflect light, just as mirrors must be coated with silver to reflect images. Without the coating, a flat back rhinestone will be no more than a piece of transparent glass of some shape, reflecting no light except from surface shine.

 All Rhinestones have several parameters we are concerned with:

 5SS = 1.8mm,   6SS = 2mm,  7SS - 2.2mm,  8SS = 2.4mm,  9SS = 2.6mm  10SS = 2.8mm,  12SS = 3mm,  16SS = 4mm,   20SS = 4.7mm,  30SS = 6.4mm,  34SS = 7mm,  40SS = 8mm,   48SS = 11mm

Before we go farther, I am going to say this just one more time!  BUY Sample Cards ... One has all Swarovski,all Czech Preciosa rhinestones, jewels and trim; One has,our own RG Premium and RG2 rhinestones, hot fix nailheads, turquoise and pearls on them, as well as all sizes of rhinestones....all in ACTUAL rhinestones. No need to guess, period.

This pretty much covers the ABC's of rhinestones. Larger rhinestones are referred to as "Jewels," can be round or shaped, mounted/glue-on or sew on. Look in our "Jewels for mounting or sewing" for a full set of pictures and prices.

Rhinestone Guy

Below are terms for various shapes of both rhinestones, and descriptions of beads...these descriptions are very general, but may be of some help to you. 

Glue  and Rhinestones:

It seems that everyone has an opinion about glue, what glue, when to glue, glue is better/sewing is better, and ..................  but since I am the one that is writing, my opinion counts more!!  Whether to glue or sew/use mounts is more a question of future use than what is better or easier.  So:  IF your garment/item must be dry-cleaned somewhere/sometime, DO Not use glue.  All glues currently in use are sensitive to the cleaning fluids used ( including  iron-on types ).  The fluid deteriorates the glue, and discolors it. Therefore, if you are stoning velvet, AND you plan to use it to the point that it must be cleaned, then either mount or sew on the stones.  If you plan to use pointed back stones, they will have to be mounted. Otherwise, glue IS the choice.  It is fast, easy, and 'do-able' where thousands of stones are to be used.  Both Swarovski's and Czech Preciosa's Heat Fix glue is dry cleanable today. No one will guarantee this to be true, for NO ONE knows what cleaning fluids may be used...but in normal cleaning applications, the glue stands up well. 

Choice of glue:  There's a lot of choices here, we have preferred  'GemTac' for strength and consistency in the past, - dries clear, doesn't glop out of dispenser, and if used correctly, hangs on to the stones very well. 

 Most stone loss, after gluing, is the result of technique rather than glue failure.  Always press stone into glue, put down just enough glue to come out around stone when pressed into glue (just barely).  When gluing larger Jewels, it is VERY important to capture the edges with glue. No silvered backing can support the weight of the stone. The stone will break loose from the silver backing, fall off, and leave a very shiny silver shape stuck to the garment.  And do not lay down so much glue that the surface will skim-dry before the stone is set into it.  We strongly suggest using 'Applicator sticks' when stoning...much faster, much easier, and you don't need tweezers.  These glues are  usually white in the bottle, but dry clear, are water soluble before drying, and withstand washing very well. GemTac dries clear and has elasticity. It sticks to everything I have used it on, and especially glass (where I got sloppy and forgot to clean it off....razor blades had to be used to scrape it off.) I have glued 150,000 rhinestones to a motorcycle with Rhinestone Guy Glue, and have not lost one stone, even with serious washing and cleaning! (Yes, we sell  glue and Applicator sticks.) 

Other glues in use include E6000...good, strong, fast drying, but leaves strings of glue when you pull back.  don't even think about hot glue guns...failure is very high.  Super Glue is great for the fast fix, but not in the long run...too thin, runs out into fabric.  Epoxy glues are strong, but highly allergenic (do not get this stuff on your skin, do not inhale fumes...it is only a matter of time before you will develop an allergy to it, and when you do, the body's reactions can be very strong, as in open sores, swelling, oozing, need I say more? AND, you can develop an allergy to it overnight...Surprise, Surprise!)...good for jewelry, but not garments. Epoxies usually do not have elasticity.  OK for Belt Buckles, but rough sand the metal before setting with Epoxy. These glues are available in most hardware stores as a two part dispenser that must be mixed before using.  Do not mix very much at one time, as it begins to set within seconds, and is very temperature sensitive. DO NOT allow water to mix into glue, as you will have a gummy mess. Do NOT get this stuff on your skin!  It is not water/soap soluble. Use Acetone only if you must, Acetone goes into the skin and can affect kidneys!

DO NOT USE 'Super Glue' --It is just too brittle to be satisfactory with rhinestones.

             AB: " Aurora Borealis" Coating on rhinestone to produce rainbow of color reflection. Very effective on Crystal rhinestones, used on colored stones to enhance reflection.  AB coating make stones "shine" more under spotlights. (our opinion).  

            Tin Cut:   High precision cutting of beads and drops, vastly superior to "fire polished", the difference between Cut Glass and Molded glass.  This is another term for Machine Cut.

            Fire Polished:  Translation:  molded glass, facet edges not as sharp as cut facets (machine cut)

            Seed Bead: tiny, usually round beads of some color, with a tiny hole for stringing or sewing. Use with BEADING NEEDLES, as normal needle is too big to go through hole.  Used for decoration, sewing sequins to fabric (bead in center), attaching Lochrosens, etc.   Use size 13/0 or 11/0 seed beads to mount Lochrosens, Margaritas, or Corona rhinestones. Use Japanese quality only, as these beads do not discolor with time as does the Chinese or Taiwan versions. (Silver lining will tarnish in Chinese and Taiwan beads with time).

            Bugle Bead:   graded by size from 1 to 5, then in mm.  The longer the bead, the more easily it is broken. Expect broken beads in your order!  Look like little tubes with very small hole running length of bead. Available in colors, AB, silver lined, etc.   Use Beading Needle to sew or string.  Note:  If you are making a costume, etc. that you expect to use for years, USE Japanese quality beads, more expensive, but silvers and reds will not discolor over time as with Chinese/Taiwan beads.

           Rochaille Bead: very similar to a seed bead.

            Cut Beads or Tin Cut Beads:  This is the critter used for necklaces, bracelets, etc. Highly cut and polished jewelry grade beads sized in mm (from 3mm to about 18 mm) available in most colors and AB coatings. Have regained popularity BIG TIME to the point where supply cannot keep up with demand.  Expect these guys to rise in price sharply!   Produced by Swarovski and Czech, beautiful to look at, very durable. Use for fabric decorations, strings, bracelets, necklaces, etc.

              BiCone   (Bi-Cone) Bead:  Same as Diamond Cut Bead, very popular when used by themselves or mixed with round and or cube beads.

            Fire Polished Bead:  faceted beads, similar to Cut beads, but do not have the sharp facets that cut beads exhibit.  MUCH less expensive than Cut Beads.   Available in huge color range, AB, and effect colors.  Used in inexpensive (K-Mart) strands, but can be great for costuming, especially when making beaded fringes! 

           NAIL HEAD SIZING: sized either by SS sizes or Nail Head sizing...small nail heads are measured in SS, larger ones are Nail Head sizes...very confusing, even to us!  A 48SS size is (rhinestone, 11mm diameter) is equal to a size 60 nail head diameter!  (Please do not call me and ask me "why."   I have no idea, nor do I particularly want to take on the industry in this insanity of sizing! 

We hope the above is helpful. If you have questions, please Email or call. If we don't have the answer, we will get it for you.


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