A Brief Introduction To Beads
Basic Cut Glass Crystal: The quality of cut glass crystal is vast, so our comments within the next paragraph relate to the most basic range of cut glass crystal.
Basic cut glass crystal comes in a many of different shapes, sizes, designs and colours. These can be used in a number of projects, such as costume jewellery, hanging mobiles, dangles, charms etc. As these crystals are relatively inexpensive compared to good quality crystals, they are ideal for adding to childrens beading kits!
Cloisonne: This is a metal working technique that originated in the Near East, and quickly spread along the Silk Road to China. The art consists of shaping a design out of Cloisonne wire (usually pure silver), which separates all the coloured areas. Then coloured glass that is crushed into power is made into a water based paste and then painted into the different partitions, similar to painting by numbers. Once the glass is dried it is fired in an oven.
These are usually highly decorative beads which are available in a number of designs, sizes, shapes and colours. They usually have an enamel base, which is then hand decorated to provide mini pieces of art work. As these are hand decorated each one is slightly different, adding to their uniqueness. Like most beads, these can be found in sizes from 4mm up to 30mm, making them ideal for a number of jewellery projects as either spacers or focal beads. Depending on the choosen design these will have holes running top to bottom or from side to side.
Dichroic Beads: Dichoric beads are high end art beads. They have a thin film of metal fused to the surface of the glass, resulting in a surface that has a metalic sheen that changes between two colours, depending on the angle it's viewed from. The beads can be pressed or made with traditional lampworking techniques. NASA developed the metal coating for the space program, that is used within this technique.
These are stunning beads and the level of detail varies from bead to bead. Some will use a mixture of colours, while other will exhibit beautiful artwork. These like most other beads vary in size and will suit a wide range of jewellery projects.
Silver/Gold/Foil Lined: Silver, gold and foil lined beads are beads that have a layer of either silver, gold or foil, within the bead. This is a technique used to reflect the quality of the images inside the bead, in addition to it being visually attractive. These beads can be found in a number of shapes, designs, colours and sizes. They are suitable for a wide range of projects from costume jewellery to dangles or charms, usually as focal beads. .
Lampwork: Lampwork is a process of layering/adding different colours of heated class to created 3 dimensional beads.Traditionally lampwork beads were simply beads that were handmade 3 dimensional beads. Nowadays the term is used more widely to describe other beads (we at Giftabilities are also guilty of that!). It is now used to describe any bead that has a picture whether handmade/painted or 3 dimensional. Having said this, these beads have to come under an umberella somewhere, so maybe using this term can be justified in some respects!
Like any bead, there are good and bad examples of lampwork beads. If you are lucky enough to have sampled good examples then you will know that these can be beautiful beads. As these beads are handmade, there are often minute differences between them, making them even more wonderful to work with. They come in many different designs, colours, shapes, themes, sizes and price tags. The prices can vary widely, depending on the previous criterias, although you usually you get what you pay for. These beads can be used in a number of costume jewellery designs, to make mobiles, dangles and phone/handbag/zip charms to name a few.
Millefiori: Millefiori beads are also known as mosaic beads. These are created using a technique which involves a process of using either glass canes or rods, known as murrine, that have multi coloured patterns which are viewable only from the cut end of the cane. These beads are constructed of plain wound glass bead cores and thin slices of cut cane, which have been pressed into the bead surface, forming mosaic like patterns, while the glass is still hot.
These beads come in a range of sizes, shapes, colours and designs, making them perfect for a number of jewellery designs and other projects.
Rondelles: Rondelles have earned the name Rondelle as they are usually round, flattish beads, used as spacers. These are often highly decorative spacers and can be found in Swarovski crystal, lampwork, glass crystal, precious and non precious metals. These beads can be used to have either a minimal or maximum impact on the chosen project, simply by selecting the correct design and width of rondelle.
Seed Beads: The term seed bead is a generic term for any small bead, usually rounded in shape. They are usually used for loom and off loom bead weaving. They are usually uniformly shaped, spherordal or tube shaped beads. they range in size from under 1mm to several mms.
These are great for adding small splashes of colour to jewellery projects and for childrens beading projects.
Swarovski Crystals: These crystals contain high levels of lead, although today lead free crystal are common. They have a fantastic sparkle and clarity, making them a must for most fine jewellery projects. These crystals are by far the best, amongst the cut glass crystal ranges. They are in a league of their own, making them more expensive than other crystals. These crystals are ideal to use in fine pieces of jewellery as they sparkle as good as a diamond and the sparkle will last as long as any precious metal that these are twinned with. Swarovski crystals can be found in a number of shapes, colours, designs, finishes and sizes. Whatever shape/cut you choose, whether large or small, you can be sure that each stone will sparkle, and add elegance to any jewellery project. Swarovski crystals can be used in costume or fine jewellery projects, they can be used for adorning garments or pieces of fabric, in suncatchers, on mobiles, the list is endless!
******Each time we add a new bead design, we will list more detailed information of it here. We hope that this page has been informative.