Fire polished beads are defined as faceted, cut glass beads that are polished by heating. This is a more expensive process for polishing than making a pressed glass bead, but it is a less expensive process than the polishing done on the finest quality Austrian glass bead and on all gemstones. Please select here to view our selection of fire polished glass beads.
Seed beads are smaller, less expensive beads made of glass. They are generally shaped like a very small donut and can be as small as 1/16" thick to as large as about 1/6" thick. Pleas select here to view our selection of seel beads.
Bugle Beads are smaller beads made of cylindrical tubes of glass. A bugle bead is are about 2mm in diameter with a 1 mm hole in the center of the bead. Bugle beads can be as short as 4mm long, or it can be 7mm long or even longer. Bugle beads are frequently used a spacers, between larger beads. Please select here to view our selection of bugle beads.
Pressed glass beads are made in the same manner as a milk bottle. Hot glass is forced into a mold to make the these glass beads. This is a less expensive manufacturing process and pressed glass beads are normally rather inexpensive. Please select here to view our selection of pressed glass beads.
Lampwork glass beads are hand made beads, normally made on a rod or mandrel, For this reason, lampwork glass beads tend to have larger holes. Since they are hand made, each lampwork glass bead is unique, although they may be made commercially to look very similar. Making lampwork glass beads involves melting, shaping and combining colored glass into the shape of the beads. Please select here to view our selection of lampwork glass beads.
Swarovski Austrian Crystal Beads are made by the premier manufacturer of cut glass crystal beads. Their beads are know for their uniformity in color and shape, for the crisp edges of the faceted beads, and for the vibrant colors. Please select here to view our selection of Swarovski Austrian Crystal Beads.
Pony Beads are made of glass or plastic with larger holes in them, originally intended to be worn in the hair. Please select here to view our selection of Pony Beads.
Stick-on glass beads are small spheres of glass, without holes and are made to be glued or fixed on objects using double sided tape or glue. Please select here to view our selection of Stick-On Beads.
Pearl beads are made by marine mollusks like clams and oysters. There are also many commercially manufactured pearl beads, made by applying a pearl like coating to glass beads. Please select here to view our selection of pearl beads.
Gemstone beads are made from naturally occurring minerals or gemstones like onyx, amethyst, and many, many other naturally occurring gemstones and minerals. Please select here to view our selection of gemstone beads.
Metal beads are made out of metal. Generally, silver, silver-plated, gold, gold-filled, gold-plated and silver-tone metals are used. Please select here to view our selection of metal beads.
Bali Beads are generally a form of partially tarnished, partially polished sterling silver bead initially made on the Indonesian Island of Bali. Bali Beads may represent an everyday item like a snake, a drum, and a coil of rope. Because of the expense of sterling silver, many Bali-style beads are now made out of a silver-one metal. These beads are now made in many countries in addition to Indonesia including South Korea and India. Please select here to view our selection of Bali Style Beads.
Dichroic glass beads are made with two or more colors of glass. The colors are highly reflective making these beads very dramatic in appearance. Please select here to view our selection of dichroic glass beads.
Cloisonné is a French word that describes an ancient technique for making metal beads with a compartmented colored design. The metal compartments separate areas where a colored enamel paste is built up. Originally these metal compartments were made by wire soldered to a metal bead. The cloisonné beads must them be fired in a kiln to make the enamel permanent. The word cloisonné means compartments in French and the metal compartments that separate the different colors of enamel show in the finished beads. The technique for making cloisonné beads was developed in the Near East and Egypt and then migrated to China. This cloisonné style can be found in Ancient Egyptian jewelry and in jewelry found in 12th Century BC ruins in Cyprus. The cloisonné technique migrated to China in about the 14th century AD. The beads we sell now as cloisonné are based upon Chinese designs from this period. The modern technique for making cloisonné use copper beads as the base and add very fine gold, silver, or brass wire to make the compartments to hold the colored enamels. The cloisonné wire is glued to the beads to establish the shape. After the bead has been kiln fired to set the enamel, the bead will be polished to a bright luster. Please select here to view our selection of cloisonne beads.
Stringing beads was initially done on silk thread because in ancient times silk was the strongest material by weight. Because glass and gemstone art beads are relatively hard by comparison with silk, the silk thread was knotted between each bead. The reason for the knots was that over time, even softer materials like pearls, will saw through silk thread causing the thread to break. When the silk thread was knotted and broke, only one of the art beads would fall off the necklace because the remaining knots held all the other art beads in place. There are now many natural and artificial materials used to thread art beads into necklaces and bracelets. The fabric materials like nylon, cotton, silk, and other beading threads are all still vulnerable to being broken by prolonged wear. The newest technology in beading thread is the stranded stainless steel metal wire used for beading. Our favorite beading supplies vendor for this flexible wire is the Soft Flex Company, but there are several other beading supplies vendors who make similar stranded beading wire. The advantage to the stranded beading wire is that it is much less likely to break due to wear. A secondary advantage is that because the wire won't break, the user won't need to tie a knot between each bead in the necklace. This saves a lot of time in making a necklace. Please select here to view our free instructions in how to make a necklace using beadstringing wire.