Bead Size Facts

Thinking about a new bead project these days? What is the main ingredient? Beads, of course. The fun with beading begins with choosing your beads. The color, size and shapes of beads is staggering. It is easy to get lost just looking at all the beads. There is a system in place that might help in the process of choosing and following pattern instructions as well.

Most beads are created consistently by size using the metric system. Beads are sized in millimeters. If you are a person who has been dreading the change over to the metric system this may seem a little intimidating. It is like learning a whole new language, yet before you know it you will be thinking in millimeters, maybe not with all things, but at least with “beads.”

Bead stores usually lay out their bead inventory in small individual compartments. The compartments are labeled with size of beads and type of beads. Size of beads usually starts around 2 mm. Small round beads are considered 2 mm to 10 mm in size. Medium to large beads start at 12mm to 32mm. You will find the medium to large group of beads are in even numbers such as 12mm, 14mm and 16mm. Round beads are probably the most popular bead choice for beaders.

The oval shape beads is another popular bead choice among bead jewelry artisans. These beads measurements are in lengths and widths. Oval beads range in size from 8mm x 6mm, 10mm x 8mm up to 40mm x 30mm.

An extremely large bead is most generally referred to as a “cabochon.” Cabochons are large stones or glass beads. Bead jewelry artisans use cabochons for a variety of jewelry projects including stud earrings, and centerpieces for a necklace or bracelet. Jewelry designers may also use the cabochons for settings in wire wrapping, for beading around the cabochon with seeds beads or set into a bezel. A bezel is a metal setting that holds the stone and has a bale attached. Bales are fixtures at the top of the setting to make it easier for stringing.
Cabochons are cut round, oval and into other kinds of shapes. The back of a cabochons is usually “flat.”

Round and oval beads are the most popular and most common beads jewelry artisans use. There are dozens of other shapes available. Having a basic understanding of sizing of beads is important to be able to determine how to use beads in your projects. The beading process begins with choosing your beads and is probably the most fun step of all.

Written by: Connie Limon, Bead Jewelry Artisan
Carmilita’s Earrings:

Meet Honey

dangle earrings honey

Honey is a pair of dangle earrings I added to Carmilita’s Simplicity Collection of Handmade Dangle Earrings. She dangles about one inch from the hook.

Materials Used:
2 Antique Copper Ball Pins
2 Antique Copper Dangle Earrings
2 Antique Copper 2 x 9 mm Scallop Bead Caps
2 Antique Copper 3 x 8 mm Scallop Bead Caps
2 Antique Copper 1.5×4 mm Beaded Rondelles
2 Antique Copper 2 x 6 mm Beaded Rondelles
2 Antique Copper 2 x 6 mm Beaded Rondelles
2 Light Gold 12 x 9 mm Glass Crystal Rondelles
2 Peridot 6 mm Swarowski Bicones
2 light Rose 4 mm Swarovski Bicones

Honey’s Price: $15 includes FREE shipping

Purchase Honey here: Carmilita’s Earrings

Author: connielimon2014

Bead Jewelry Artisan, mother of one daughter and grandmother of two grandsons, daughter of Korean War Veteran.

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