Fiber optic beads start out from the same material used for fiber optic telephone cables: quartz fibers. The fibers are fused together and then machine cut into innumerable shapes and sizes. Round fiber optic beads are often marketed as an inexpensive synthetic alternatives to Cats Eye stone beads, that are reputed to "look out" for the wearer, and protect against evil. This belief stems from the constantly changing chatoyancy and luminescent qualities of the material. Fiber optic beads look great with Swarovski crystal and gemstone beads!