Policies & FAQsLast Updated: 14 September, 2012
About Shipping Charges
For US Customers Requesting First Class Mail:
Shipping starts with a $2.00 handling fee and goes up from there, according to the weight of the items ordered. All beads and pendants will add .10 per item to the $2.00 handling fee. For example, if you buy 20 bags of beads, the shipping charge will be $2.00 for the 20 bags plus $2.00 handling, for a total of $4.00. Spheres and other large, heavy items will naturally be a bit more.
For US Customers Requesting Priority Mail:
Shipping starts with a $5.00 handling fee and goes up from there, according to the weight of the items ordered. All beads and pendants will add .10 per item to the $5.00 handling fee. For example, if you buy 20 bags of beads, the shipping charge will be $2.00 for the 20 bags plus $5.00 handling, for a total of $7.00. Spheres and other large, heavy items will naturally be a bit more.
For US Customers Requesting UPS:
Shipping starts with a $12.00 handling fee and goes up from there, according to the weight of the items ordered. All beads and pendants will add .10 per item to the $12.00 handling fee. For example, if you buy 20 bags of beads, the shipping charge will be $2.00 for the 20 bags plus $12.00 handling, for a total of $14.00. Spheres and other large, heavy items will naturally be a bit more.
For International Customers Requesting US Post Office:
Shipping starts with a $4.00 handling fee and goes up from there, according to the weight of the items ordered. All beads and pendants will add .20 per item to the $4.00 handling fee. For example, if you buy 20 bags of beads, the shipping charge will be $4.00 for the 20 bags plus $4.00 handling, for a total of $8.00. Spheres and other large, heavy items will naturally be a bit more.
For International Customers Requesting UPS:
Shipping starts with a $18.00 handling fee and goes up from there, according to the weight of the items ordered. All beads and pendants will add .20 per item to the $18.00 handling fee. For example, if you buy 20 bags of beads, the shipping charge will be $4.00 for the 20 bags plus $18.00 handling, for a total of $22.00. Spheres and other large, heavy items will naturally be a bit more.
We fill out customs forms exactly. We will not falsify the forms. Please figure on duty taxes when making your order.
Currently, online orders can be paid for through Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and PayPal. If you do not have a PayPal account, please go to www.paypal.com and create an account.
We DO NOT accept American Express, nor do we accept Diner's Club or store cards (such as Sears). If you use one of these cards to pay, your order will not be processed.
Checks and money orders through the mail are accepted. Please CONTACT US for the shipping address.
About Order Processing
Orders are processed within 48 hours of getting them, even weekends. All orders are shipped within seven days of processing. Orders on which you have chosen the Priority Mail option will be giving top priority in our office.
Occasionally an item will be temporarily unavailable. In that case, we will send you the remainder of your package, and then send the backordered item a few days later at no additional charge. If we don't plan to get the item within a week or two, the item will be canceled from your order, and the rest of your order will be shipped with the appropriate portion of the shipping fee refunded.
If a one-of-a-kind item (such as a finished necklace or unique egg) sells, we will do our best to remove it from the site within a few hours, so that future customers won't buy it by mistake. However, there is nothing preventing you from shopping three minutes after someone else buys "your" bauble. In the case of an item being completely unavailable, we will e-mail you within 48 hours of your order, offering you a refund, exchange, or credit for that item.
We understand that sometimes something looks better on your computer screen than it does in hand. Or that you find a better one at the boutique down the street. Or that you simply change your mind. We also understand that sometimes items arrive damaged. Things happen.
If, for any reason, you wish to return an item, please package it up in an appropriate container (the package it came in is fine), include the invoice or a copy thereof, and drop it in the mailbox. We will refund everything you originally paid for it, which means the purchase price plus the applicable shipping charge. "Applicable" means the shipping charge for the amount of the returned item. Thus, if you made many purchases and paid $8.00 for total shipping, but are only returning a $2.00 item, your refunded shipping will be based on the shipping charge for that one item (which will likely be between 10 and 50 cents, depending on the item). Postage to return the item is the responsibility of the buyer UNLESS we goofed and sent you something you didn't order or it was damaged in transit.
If there is just a small problem (one bag of beads is the wrong stone, or a pendant is broken), we'd prefer to make it right for you without you having to go through the hassle of returning the item. Usually, an explanation of the problem or a picture of the damaged item is all we need to issue a replacement free of charge. Please CONTACT US before returning a partial shipment so we can determine the best course of action.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Are You?
Ephemerala is a small business headed by a nice lady in southern Utah named Suzanne who has a couple-three-four kids and a house that needs painting. We started out in 2002 and have been expanding ever since.
What do you sell?
Mainly natural stone products, more specifically jewelry and beads. We have the largest selection of stone chip beads on the Web, and a smaller collection of other gemstone beads. While our selection of gemstone non-chip beads is not as comprehensive as some other places, we specialize in extremely rare stones. In addition to beads, we sell all sorts of stone pendants (we have one of the largest selection of stone pendants on the Web), decorative items, and gifts. We also have the biggest selection of stone mini eggs and gemstone marbles anywhere on the Web, and expand this product line every few months. We also have a bunch of non-stone items like glass jewelry and silk pouches, and we even have a few things that have nothing to do with gemstones OR jewelry, such as bookmarks and incense.
What the heck does "Ephemerala" mean?
Back when I was an artistically-minded college student envisioning a future business full of the fabulous artsy things I'd make, I was looking for a name that would reflect the changing nature of my products. "Ephemeral" means "always changing." I added the A at the end to make it plural ("things that are always changing") and to give it an exotic feel.
When I first started this business, I really couldn't decide on what to sell. I had a great collection of jewelry on hand, but I also liked to make Pysanky (Ukranian Easter eggs), and had amassed a store of totally un-related items that threatened to change at any minute, so "Ephemerala" was still the perfect name. Of course, the business soon got narrowed to stone products & jewelry, so the name has lost its edge, but we DO add to our product line every couple of weeks, so at least I can say we are still changing...
Seriously, why chips?
Chips bridge the area between rocks and beads. I like rocks, and lots of other people like beads, so why not combine them? While I find the shaped beads enchanting, there's something particularly compelling about seeing stones in their more natural state, having been gently polished but not necessarily cut.
When we first came about as a business, we specialized in the stone pendants. We had about a dozen types of chip beads that we sold for a lark, and they took off like wildfire! So we started adding to that collection. I work with quite a few wholesale companies, and one of my frustrations is that all companies have some chips, but no company has all chips. I am currently trying to be that one elusive company that carries all of the chip varieties, so that you won't have to go to ten different stores to find them all!
Do you sell strands of beads as well as bags?
While our focus is on helping hobbyist beaders to build up a small collection of just what they need, we have recently started to sell strands. Obviously, whole strands are going to cost more, and a lot of people don't want to take the chance on getting something they will end up not liking. Plus, customers can make their bead allowances stretch much farther when they are able to buy "samples" at a lower cost. Ephemerala is one of the very few online stores that sells smaller quantities of beads for this purpose. But sure, if you want to buy in bulk, check out our CHIP STRANDS!
Do you offer a discount for wholesale or bulk purchases?
We have two ways of helping our bulk purchase customers save money.
The first way is our Value Packs. Value Packs allow you to buy bulk quantities of most of our items, at a significant savings. Items in our Value Packs are chosen by us, and we cannot accommodate requests for specific criteria (colors, stones, etc.), but if you have a favorite or two, you are welcome to mention it and we will try to include it. If you do not see the Value Pack that you want, please CONTACT US, and we will create a custom listing for you.
The other way to save money is to take advantage of our Free Shipping offer. When your order totals $100 or more, we will pay for shipping. This makes it easier for those of you in the reselling business to save some money.
Do you have any other online shopping venues?
We used to have a few regular auctions running on eBay, but we no longer do that. Today this website accounts for 95% of our sales, with a smaller percentage of sales coming from local festivals.
What is "Howlite," and why does the word keep appearing in the listings for Lapis & Turquoise?
Howlite is a smooth white stone with gray marbling through it. It is easy to cut and very porous, so it is often dyed dark or light blue to make an imitation Lapis or Turquoise (and less frequently dyed red or purplse to make imitation Coral or Sugilite). Pure Lapis is expensive and VERY hard to come by, and pure Turquoise is very difficult to cut and tends to make unstable jewelry. By using dyed Howlite, beautiful jewelry can be made to look like the original, at a much lower cost and with a more smoothly-cutting stone. We do sell real Lapis Chip Beads, which are really hard to keep in stock, and pure Turquoise Chip Beads, but most of the pendants are made from dyed Howlite, and are described as such.
Are your stones dyed or natural?
Both. There are certain brilliantly-colored stones (such as Amethyst) which don't need any alteration. Then there are other stones which tend to be well-colored, but which have a little chemical "help" to make them a more even color (such as Garnet). Then there are the stones that were NEVER meant to look the the color they do, and are dyed beyond an inch of their life (think Red Coral and Blue Topaz). Of course, the duller-colored stones, such as the Jaspers and Agates, have had no alteration at all.
Unfortunately for the purists, almost ALL brilliantly colored gemstones these days have been dyed. Usually, the dye job is a good one, and the stones still show their true colors, simply enhanced or evened out a bit. Other times, the dye job is really bad. In those cases, the listing specifically notes that the stone is dyed. A good example is the two types of Blue Topaz we sell. The more brilliantly colored Blue Topaz has a dye that is apt to come off on your neck if you sweat too much! In this case, we have made sure buyers know it is dyed. Its non-dyed counterpart, Ice Blue Topaz is a less brilliantly colored gemstone, but this is how natural Blue Topaz stones usually look, so in this case you are getting the real deal.
Anyone interested in the purity of a specific stone is welcome to ASK US about it. We will be more than happy to clarify it for you.
Do you have...? Can you get...?
Maybe. JUST ASK. If you have a request that is impossible to fill, it only makes life more interesting for me.
What makes you special?
1. We have the largest selection of Stone Chip Beads on the net. Currently we have over 300 unique stone types, and we add to that every couple of weeks.
2. We have the largest selection of Gemstone Mini Eggs on the web. We currently have over 40 stone types, including very rare stones such as chrysocolla and pyrite.
3. We have the largest selection of Gemstone Marbles on the web. Approximately 80 gemstone types, and always on the lookout for more. Where else can you find Ruby marbles?
4. We have one of the largest, if not THE largest, selection of Carved Stone Pendants on the web. Over 30 different shapes, and at least that many stone types. No matter what you are looking for, you can probably find it here.
5. We carry a large number of very rare beads, such as Myrrh nuggets, Sandalwood beads, Ostrich Shell, Tulsi wood, Cinnabar, several types of shell, and other beads.
6. We have the most comprehensive Gem Information Page on the web. While other sites may give more information per stone, Ephemerala has the longest list of stones by far. (This information can be found in an expanded form in Suzanne's Gemstone Book.)
7. We specialize in very rare stones. In addition to the (sometimes incredibly) rare chip beads we carry, we are always on the lookout for typical shapes (round, brick, etc.) in very rare stones. Our aim is to be the one place where you go to get everything you can't get anywhere else.
8. We have great sales! Every month, we offer a 2-for-1 special, price cuts, or freebies for all qualifying purchases.
9. We offer fun updates and special sales through our Facebook Page.. Like our page and keep in the loop.