What Are Beads?

Posted on 19 April 2017

A bead is a decorative object that can be shaped in several ways from stone, shell, bone, glass, wood, and plastic materials. They will have a small hole drilled into them so a thread can be placed through to create something with them. Their sizes range from one millimeter to over one centimeter in diameter.

People use beads for doing beadwork. They are traditionally strung together to create pieces of jewelry. Necklaces, bracelets, and anklets are popular jewelry items to make using diverse types of beads. Placing a piece of thread or wire between the beads will allow you to shape the piece of jewelry to your specifications.


Types Of Beads


Beads can be divided into several categories. The criteria used to categorize beads can be determined on their manufacturing, where they were made, the patterns they have, or their shape. Some categories can overlap, making it difficult to categorize certain beads correctly.


Materials Used To Create Beads


Varied materials can be used to create beads. The earliest beads were created with natural materials, after being gathered. These early beads were picked based on their ability to be drilled and properly shaped to create whatever was needed. As people began learning how to work with unconventional materials, other substances were added to create a variety of  beads. Recently, synthetic materials have begun being used.


Natural Materials


Most beads are still made from natural materials. There are natural and inorganic materials that may be used. Natural materials are found in nature. These materials include coral, bone, ivory, animal shells, and wood. Pearls used to be considered the most precious bead, but with culturing processes pearls have become common.

Inorganic materials are stones, metals, and gemstones. Usually these stones will go through processing, so they can be sold. Outside of these beads, there are also paper beads that exist.


Synthetic Materials


Ceramic is the oldest synthetic material used to make beads, along with pottery and glass. Alloy such as brass and bronze used to be used in ancient times to create beads. However, bronze and brass have become less common due to their vulnerability to oxidation.

Glass has become a popular material used to make beads for beadmaking activities. Glass beads are beautiful and colorful, and can have intricate patterns and designs. Crystals are a part of the glass family, and have become one of the most popular materials to use for creating stunning pieces of jewelry.


All Shapes & Sizes


Beads are primarily used to do beadwork. They can create various pieces of jewelry. What was once a game of child’s play has become an enjoyable activity. Not to mention, the pieces of beaded jewelry that are being made these days are upscale, whether they are for casual wear or perfect accents to formal attire. Beads have been used to create pieces of jewelry and other types of adornments for an elongated frame of time. They are diverse, and can be shaped and molded to various shapes, sizes, and other specifications.   Bella Beads are a great example of non-round beads, showcasing a cross bead on each piece of jewelry.

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