Mastering Beads to Make Jewelry

Mastering Beads to Make Jewelry

Starting with beads to make jewelry is probably the most accessible entry point for beginner crafters and jewelry enthusiasts. Beads come in the most comprehensive assortment of colors, textures, and materials. Familiarizing oneself with beads expands the creative horizon of jewelry making.

Caring for Beads to Make Jewelry

There are a few easy principles to follow to ensure that your beads and the jewelry you make with them last a long time. Allowing your beads to get wet is not a good idea. We’re often startled to find that some folks wear their beaded jewelry to the shower.

Avoid direct sunlight, particularly during storage, since this might cause some hues to fade. Because skin acids, creams, and cosmetics can cause colors to fade and coatings to wear off over time, put your jewelry on after applying any creams or hairspray. If your skin becomes damp or sweaty while wearing the jewelry, clean it with a soft cloth before putting it away.

Items with sterling silver beads should be stored in a plastic Ziplock bag with the extra air pushed out to prevent corrosion.

Exploring Materials Used for Beads to Make Jewelry

Because any little thing with a hole can be termed a bead, this phrase encompasses a wide range of objects, from microscopic shells to intricately layered handcrafted glass. Although glass is one of the most popular materials for beads, you can also find beautiful beads made of pearls, ivory, wood, seashells, and many other materials. 

The variety of beads available across the world is astounding. Some are so lovely that a single bead or string may be worn alone, while smaller beads are used to create designs that can be simple or complex, woven, or strung. With practice, you’ll be able to navigate the vast array of bead kinds, shapes, and sizes.

Many crafters are particularly interested in beads (and findings) made of semiprecious metals.

Xinar has been offering extensive collections of beads to make jewelry in every imaginable shape for over twenty years. Our collections include sterling silver seamless round spacer beads, gold-filled donut beads, and genuine copper hammered round beads.

Seed Beads: What Are They?

The name “seed” merely refers to the size of the pretty tiny beads. Seeds and other plant materials were used to make the first beads. When little glass beads were first created by hand, the word “seed” stuck.

Seed beads lend themselves to elaborate patterns, texture, and work combining color and pattern because of their small size. Seed beads are often used in weaving on and off the loom. Using thread or wire, they can also be used as spacers between bigger beads in a strung pattern, stitched cloth adornment, and crochet designs.

The procedures for manufacturing seed beads have always been kept under wraps. We do, however, have some basic knowledge of the manufacture of early drawn glass or seed beads:

  1. A glob of molten glass was immersed on the end of a metal blowpipe.
  2. The other end of the glob was joined to a second rod called a punty (short for punitive).
  3. To make the hole, the air was blasted into the pipe.
  4. Two people, one carrying the pipe and the other the punty, rushed in opposite directions (some claim on horseback), swiftly drawing the molten glass into a 300-foot-long hollow rod.
  5. The rods were cut or split into bead lengths once they had cooled.
  6. They were refired or tumbled with hot sand to round the beads and polish the rough edges without melting the holes shut.
  7. To separate the beads into different sizes, they were sifted.
  8. They were warmed in a kiln to give the beads a glossy appearance.

Similar techniques are being used today, but with more mechanical gear in some regions of the world. Seed bead manufacturing in Japan is perhaps the most automated, using high-tech procedures and cutting instruments. Chemical formulations for various glass tints are exceedingly delicate and must be blended with extraordinary precision. As a result, the formulations for these beads and most bead-making procedures are still carefully kept secrets. To make the contemporary beads, follow these steps:

  1. Molten glass is blown through a hole by compressed air, and the form of the hole determines the shape of the beads.
  2. Long glass tubes are chopped into bead lengths using specialized cutting devices.
  3. To achieve the hundreds of colors and finishes, a wide range of coatings, linings, glazes, dyes, mattes, and lusters are used.

The cost of the chemicals, methods, and components utilized to make beads is reflected in the price of the beads. Many of the deep red hues, for example, require the addition of gold to the glass recipe. In addition, the great diversity of linings

Some finishes require expensive metals, while others require many finishing stages. Unfortunately, the reality that the most spectacular and beautiful seed beads appear to be the most expensive continues to be a bothersome truth of life.

Charlottes are seed beads with a single facet carved into each one for added glitz. Czech seed beads are sometimes called “the most dazzling of all seed beads.” The additional effort necessary to grind or cut the facet on each bead, which is a separate procedure after the bead has been produced, accounts for the higher cost of cut beads.

An Examination of The Beading Language

Bead Types by Number of Facets and Other Details

Charlotte

One ground facet on a seed bead creates a faint shimmer.

Two-Cut

Seed bead with two faces on the ground

Three-Cut

Three ground facets provide all-over shine in this seed bead.

Aiko

A Japanese cylinder bead in size 10°

Bugle

A tube-shaped glass bead that can be twisted, hex-cut, or smooth.

Cabochon

Although technically not a bead because it lacks a hole, it is frequently used in beaded jewelry as a wire-wrapped pendant or affixed to a surface with beads sewn around it.

Delica

Three sizes of Japanese cylinder seed beads are offered.

Druk

It is a millimeter-sized smooth, round pressed-glass bead (mm)

Fire-Polished

A faceted pressed glass bead

Hex-Cut

Six-sided thin-walled cylinder seed or bugle bead

Pendant

A piece of stone, glass, or metal having just a top hole

Rondelle

A tiny bead that serves as a spacer between two beads.

Swarovski

Leading Austrian faceted crystal bead maker; commonly misunderstood as a generic name; and measured in millimeters (mm)

Bead Finishes

Beads come in a dizzying number of colors and finishes, with new versions invented all the time. They can be fashioned of transparent, translucent, iridescent, or opaque glass.

Iridescent or Aurora Borealis

A rainbow finish is applied on the exterior of the bead or within the hole.

Bronze or Gunmetal

Glaze with a metallic shine

Ceylon

An opalescent bead with a pearlized or luster coating.

Galvanized

On the surface of the bead, there is a silver or colored plating.

Inside-Color

Attractive beads with color inside

Iris

Metallic iridescent finish

Lined

An opalescent or transparent bead type in metallic copper, gold, or silver. It may also come in an opaque hue.

Luster

A glossy coating, usually transparent or gold, is applied on an opaque or opalescent bead.

Matte

Frosted or dull

Opal

The glass that is milky or opalescent

Opaque

There is no light passing through since the color is solid.

Rocaille

Seed bead with a silver lining that is transparent.

Satin

Matte color with a lustrous sheen

Semimatte

The finish is somewhat frosted or dulled.

Silk

Has white and has an excellent satin finish.

Special Plating

It may have nickel, copper, palladium, or gold plating.

Surface-Dyed

On the face of the beads, dyes are employed to generate a color.

Transparent

Beads that easily allow the passage of light.

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