Glass Beads

Glass Beads are one of the most versatile types. Glass is one of the most often used material in bead making; it seems to have first been used in Eygpt and Rome, but also in India. Most glass beads are molded, but some blown glass beads are still made in Venice - these are very expensive.

Bugle Beads are made of varying lengths of cut glass cane. These long, thin beads need to be threaded with durable thread as their sharp edges can cut through the thread. A good idea is to thresad a seed bead on either side of each bugle bead. They are available in four sizes. 

Crystal Beads are made from glass with lead in it. A clean finish and crisp facets make these beads sparkle. They come in many shapes: round, bicone, drop, cube, etc. They are most often from Austria. Swarovski crystal beads are the best quality crystal beads, due to the lead content in the glass. They are measured in millimeters.

Fire Polish Beads are from Czechoslavakia or China. They start round and are then hand or machine polished to catch the light. A surface finish, such as AB finish, is often added for extra shine. They are measured in millimeters.

Indian Glass Beads are hand or machine made beads from India. They are usually rougher in shape than other glass beads due to their process of production. Molten glass is wrapped around a copper wire (mandrel) to make these beads. They are measured in millimeters.

Lampwork Beads are artistic handmade beads. Hot glass is spun onto a copper wire (mandrel) over a flame (lamp) making each one unique. The bead can be further worked by adding other pieces of glass from rods called stringers, pieces of gold or silver leaf and millefiore. They can be very heavy and expensive. They are therefore usually used as a focal point in a beaded jewelry piece.

Pressed Glass Beads are colorful beads made by pressing glass in molds. They are often called Czech glass. They come in a variety of shapes including leaves, flowers, hearts and fish.

Seed Beads (Rocailles or Pound Beads) are tiny pieces of a thin, long glass cane that are melted slightly or tumbled to round the edges. They are available in five sizes: the higher the number, the smaller the size. They are most popular for weaving, intricate beading patterns and embroidery. The best quality seed beads are uniform in size, and needed for most weaving-type projects: peyote, brick or looming.

Cylinder Seed Beads are perfectly cylindrical with thin walls and large holes. They only come in two sizes.

Czech Seed Beads are shaped like tiny donuts and are slightly irregular. Charlottes are Czech seed beads with facets that make them sparkle. They are usually sold in hanks (many strings together).

Japanese Seed Beads are almost identical in shape and size. Miyuke delicas are very popular for any intricate, symmetrical beading patterns. They are more expensive than those made in India and are usually sold in tubes or bags.

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