My absolute favorite type of bead/stone is Swarovski crystal (as you know if you've seen much of my jewelry!). Nothing can compare with the sparkle that it has. It sparkles so much because it is 30% lead - the higher the lead, the more sparkle that crystal has. (While it does contain lead, it is safe for adults - Swarovski has done extensive research.)
Choosing a second favorite is hard, but I'd have to say sterling silver. I like knowing that all the wire and componets I work with are good quality and won't cause anyone to get a rash or make their finger turn green. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver and doesn't contain nickel (which causes most jewelry irritation). The other 7.5% is made up of alloys - those materials strengthen it. Pure silver is really soft, so it's important to have those other metals included.
I also love pearls . Pearls are always classic and elegant. I prefer freshwater pearls in most cases. I like that they have a few imperfections - I think it adds character and interest.
Rose Quartz is tied with pearls on my list of favorites - it's always the perfect shade of pale pink (my favorite color). I always use natural Rose Quartz (instead of dyed). I like knowing that it has been treated as little as possible.
I have a LOT more favorites, but if I don't stop now this list will have 50 things on it! I'm still preparing for my next show, so check back - I'll try to post a few more pictures soon!
~Kari Michelle ♥