I can make a piece using round beads, and nothing else, or we can mix it up and include... chip beads, of varying sizes - extra small, small, medium, large, or exrra large. Round beads range from 2mm to over an inch in diameter, but I have what I have, each stone is not available in each size. Faceted beads, and various spacer beads make designing more fun, too.
I love the primal, earthy feel and look of the chip beads I use. I just ordered another batch of them to add to the collection. I use them to create the background Zodiac that is the basis for the piece. They can be delicate little things or bigger, chunkier stones, depending on the look we are going for. For natal chart hoop earrings, I like to use little ones, for necklaces with big planet beads, larger ones.
The picture above shows a fair amount of the 4mm rounds I have. There are over 100 varieties. I will list them when I revise this section. Pretty much all the more common semi-precious stones are included, plus a lot of the less common ones. Of course, there are no diamond beads, or other stones that re not commonly made into beads, but there are a lot of them, and you will not have a problem finding 12 you like. The problem is topping at 12...
I recently added some new beads in a matte finish that I think resemble the planets closely. If you like these, they can be added to your design. If you want to choose your planet beads purely for aesthetic purposes, that's all good too, and you can mix and match as you choose.
Hematite is one of my favorite stones, and I use it in most of my designs, since it is so shiny and comes in so many configurations. It's almost black, so if offsets lighter stones well, and it's very shiny so it offsets less shiny stones well. It can be used as one of your Zodiac beads, or a planetary bead, too. I like it best for cusps and spacers, it's so different from most other stones, but however you like it, hematite or no hematite, is up to you.
I have quite a few "donut" beads that look like the Sun's astrological glyph, and beads that are just larger (round) beads that represent the sun well. I have beads I specifically got to represent the sun if you were born at night, or sunset, and Moon beads that actually look like different phases, and you can pick any bead to represent anything you want, so choosing may take a while. Sun Beads Page - Moon Beads Page
Sometimes it's step 1, but sometimes we pick planets first, then either match them or not, to the signs. It's really up to you, but you are going to pick 12 gemstones, at a minimum. It's actually more fun and less complicated than it might seem at first!
Using all round beads make a finished piece that looks potentially more finished, but the chip beads lend a very earthy, primal feel to the finished piece.
Personally I enjoy both. If you have super sensitive skin, I would recommend all round. Some of the chips can be a little pointy.
Getting all bogged down with what stone exactly best represents which sign can be confusing. Go with the colors you normally wear is my best advice. When you do that, you will be happiest!
Look in your jewelry box. You already know what you like. If there's a piece you love to wear all the time, let's make it match that in some way, so you feel happiest with your natal chart piece(s).