Beautiful pieces of jewelry begins with “beads.” Buy what you love and what fits into your budget. Don’t worry about whether or not it is in style, a one of a kind bead, vintage or anything else. This article is about the different types of beads available. Once you select your beads, there is more fun in choosing your jewelry findings.
Creativity comes and goes. I was inspired just today when I read “pink goes with brown.” I just happened to have a few “bronzite semiprecious beads” on hand as well as some round pink crystals. In my stash of jewelry findings I was able to quickly whip up a pair of brown with pink drop earrings.
From there, I saw light blue also goes with brown. I just happened to have some light blue crystals that went well with the bronzite stones. I used the same antique silver-plated jewelry findings on both pairs, but with switching around the bead caps came out with two completely different pairs of earrings in more ways than “color combination.”
The feeling of creativity in bead jewelry making is like a sudden rush you get caught up in and end up with a finished piece of jewelry. I hang my fresh pieces over the lip of a coffee cup to be able to adore the finished piece away from the bead work board. Months later I might come back to these 2 pairs of earrings and say to myself, “hey those are really cute,” after I have long forgot the creative rush that created them.
Metal Beads include:
Gold-filled, Silver-plated, sterling silver, Gold, and base metal. There are other finishes such as antique silver, gunmetal, antique bronze and copper.
In this category of beads you will find spacer beads to accent and extend projects, spacer bars with 2 or more holes to keep multiple strands together. Bali-style beads have patterns created by tiny balls of silver and black within the recesses. Hill Tribe silver beads are handmade inThailand. They are mostly made up of rustic and/or natural scenes with light color and high silver content.
Precision Cut Crystal Beads include:
Of the highest quality and most well known are from Austria brand name of Crystallized Swarovski. They come in many shapes, colors and sizes. These beads will add flash and sparkle to your bead designs. You can also find a line of Swarovski glass beads.
Cultured Fresh Water Pearls include:
Shapes that are round, rice, rondelle, potato, stick, coin and keishi. Pearls are always classic. They add a beautiful deep luster to jewelry designs.
Gemstone Beads are some of my favorite beads to use in jewelry projects. Gemstone beads are formed from natural rocks like quartz, turquoise, amazonite, bronzite and many, many more. Shapes are also many. There is round, nuggets, oval, rectangle, rondelle. The finishes can be smooth, faceted or natural.
Glass and Crystal Beads: The best of these come from Czech Republic. They come in many shapes and sizes. Some of my favorite of these are the fire polished beads. Fire polished beads are those that have been heat-finished to create an iridescent glow.
Lampwork Beads are made one at a time. I have made a few pairs of earrings from lampwork beads. I think they are extra beautiful. Lampwork beads are made by heating the glass with a torch flame until it is molten and shapes around rods. Some of these beads are really unique and extra gorgeous within jewelry designs of matching sets like earrings, bracelet and necklaces.
The beads I mention here are probably the most common and basic you will find. There are of course many other different kinds of beads. You will find yourself at times overwhelmed by the selection of available beads today. If you select what you like and fits into your budget you most likely will be happier than trying to follow the latest fads or trying to find one of a kind beads that “you think” nobody else could possibly have. Think again! Somebody else does have those kind of beads. I honestly think there is a bead craze going on right now. They are so addictive. Before you know it, you will have a stash bigger than you will know what to do with, and still see yet another bead you must have for your collection of just beads, let alone what you might make with those beads.
Organization begins to become unreal, but the craze and conquest for more beads will continue on. Eventually you will say to yourself, “I will definitely make something with all these beads.”
A great beginner’s book for people interested in the hobby of bead work is “The Absolute Beginners Guide: Stringing Beaded Jewelry” Written by Karin Buckingham, copyright 2010 Karin Buckingham. In this book she explains 14 stringing projects in detail; 7 connecting projects; 8 projects using fiber; the top 10 stringing techniques and more. If you are a beginner,you will love this book.
Resource used: “The Absolute Beginners Guide: Stringing Beaded Jewelry” Written by Karin Buckingham.