Bead Characteristics

Bead Characteristics

CC Image courtesy of Inspired Wish Jewellery on Flickr

Bead Characteristics

When you are a beginner to the fun and relaxing world of beading, you may need to understand all of the bead characteristics, since the choices can be overwhelming.

It might be important to become aware of the style, shape, material or making process, depending on the occasion and whether it is just a whimsical child’s project or an important piece of jewelry for a new bride. Since the characteristics of beads can vary so greatly, the choices are endless and the hobby has become popular for all ages.


Bead Styles

Style can be one of the major characteristics of beads, but most people may not realize how many different styles are available. Facet beads are available in sizes that range from 6mm to 25mm, making them popular for many types of beading projects. Seed beads are very small glass beads, available in a variety of colors, while their metallic counterparts are known as “Rocailles” beads. “E Beads” are a larger style of the seed beads, commonly used in jewelry-making. If you are looking for a popular style of beads for children, alphabet beads are perfect for younger spelling enthusiasts, while pony beads have a larger hole and are the beads are large enough for small hands to work with.


Bead Shapes

One of the most unique characteristics of beads could be shape, because there are so many different ones to consider. They can be round, barrel-shaped, cylinder, cubes, carved discs or rice, tubular, oval or rectangular. This is just a mere sampling of the most common choices, but you can find beads that resemble animals, plants, shells and other familiar objects. Almost any shape can be found already made, but if you collect stones, bones, shells or unique pieces of wood, it’s possible to come up with natural shapes, which are quite popular.


Bead Materials

One of the diverse characteristics of beads may be the material they are made from, since you can find them made of glass, gemstones, crystal, acrylic or plastics and clay, stone or polymer. If you go into a bead shop, you may find so many types that it is difficult to decide. You aren’t limited in the types of material, whether natural or manmade.


Bead Making Process

There may be some shops that specialize in certain types of materials and some crafters may decide to make their own beads. One of the bead characteristics could be the making process, since it differs on gemstones, glass, stone or clay polymer and ceramic beads. For gemstone beads, the remnants of carved stones are converted to beads, while ceramic beads can be personalized and completely made by the beading enthusiast. Wood beads can be carved and sanded, while metal beads could be fabricated at a metalworking shop. Silver or gold-plated beads could be made at fine jewelers, but you can find them made by specialty beading supply shops, as well.

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  1. When I go shoping for beads I do like to go to two or three different stores to see what they got, its amazing the different styles you can find, I also find it better when I go and shop before I know what my next project will be and my mind is more open, once I see something I like I can really get inspired.

    • Great to hear from you Wendy. There are so many styles and shapes of beads out there that I can understand it can be daunting for beginners. The best advice is to buy the beads that you like the look of and then just have a go.

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