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|Types of Beads - Part 1
There is no way that this document can list all of the beads types available for making jewellery. Plastic are normally the least expensive but don’t necessarily look ‘cheap’ so may be the best starting place for the beginner until you find out the style(s) of beads most suited to your creations.
Glass Beads – These can be individually made or pressed / moulded on production lines. They come in a variety of colours, such as solid colours or mixed colours.
Rocaille / Seed Beads – This is a general term for small round beads, available in different sizes and also known as seed beads. As a handy guide, size 11/0 means 11 beads per inch (small in size), size 8/0 means 8 beads per inch (slightly bigger in size).
Bugle Beads – These are cylindrical shape beads and can have round, hexagonal or twisted hexagonal sides. These are available in various lengths.
Glass Bead Finishes and Treatments
Here's a list of the most common finishes and treatments available for glass beads. A finish is a coating or surface texture applied to beads to give them a certain look.
Continued in Part 2
- Alabaster A dense, milky effect similar to vintage milk glass.
- Aurora Borealis or AB A colourful, reflective, almost metallic, finish that is permanently applied to the surface of beads. Typically the AB coating is applied to some areas of a bead and not to others. Other names for AB are Iris, Iridescent, Rainbow, Oil Slick, and Scarabee.
- Ceylon A - pearllike, lustrous finish typically applied over a pastel coloured base.
- Colour Lined - These typically are transparent glass beads that have a layer of opaque colour applied to the inside surface of their drill holes. Also see Gilt Lined, Gold Lined, Silver Lined, and Copper Lined.
- Copper Lined Beads - With a thin layer of real copper, or copper foil, applied to the surfaces of their drill holes. Also see Colour Lined, Gilt Lined, Gold Lined, and Silver Lined.
- Crackle - "Crackle beads" have internal cracks that sparkle with reflected light. They are created by heating the glass enough to cause it to crack, then reheating the surface of the glass to create a smooth finish.
- Diachronic - Diachronic glass beads have a permanent coating that reflects light brilliantly. Held at certain angles, they almost appear to have electric light inside of them. They are made by applying a thin layer of metallic oxides to the glass under high heat.
- Etched - See Matte. "Etched" is also commonly used to describe beads with designs created by etching a matte finish onto some, but not all, areas of a bead's surface.
- Foil Lined - These glass beads contain one or more internal layers of thin metal foil. Fine silver and gold are common varieties.
- Frosted - See Matte.
- Frosted Rainbow - See Ghost.
- Galvanized - Galvanized beads are coated with a thin layer of metal (often zinc), which may be prone to flaking.
- Ghost - Ghost beads have a matte aurora borealis finish. Also called Frosted Rainbow. See Matte and Aurora Borealis.
- Gilt Lined - Beads with a layer of gold colouring along the surfaces of their drill holes. Also see Colour Lined, Gold Lined, Silver Lined, and Copper Lined.
- Glazed - A coloured finish that is fired in a kiln. Glaze is more commonly used on ceramics, but also can be used on glass.
- Gold Lined - Beads with a thin layer of real gold, or gold foil, applied to the surfaces of their drill holes. Also see Gilt Lined, Colour Lined, Silver Lined, and Copper Lined.
- Iridescent - See Aurora Borealis.
- Iris - See Aurora Borealis. Iris beads may have more of a swirled finish than AB beads.