How hard can it be, buying beads? Check out a bead store sometime; there
are more beads than you would have imagined! So if a beader is on your Holiday
Gift List, check here before you buy!
Seed Beads - Size 11/0
Ranging widely in shape and size, the most common
seed beads are
Czech, Japanese and the Delica brand cylindrical beads. Czech
beads are very traditional, sold on hanks, are mostly round and can be
uneven. Japanese seed beads are more uniform, come in many different
colors and are usually sold loose in bags or tubes. Delica and Antique brand
beads are the choice of many beaders as their uniform cylindrical shape lend
them to many projects, especially loom work and Peyote stitch projects.
Charlotte and True Cut Beads
The traditional Charlotte bead is a Czech made, size 13/0 bead with a
single flat side to it, causing it to sparkle and shine. These beads are
often found in Native American beadwork, are available in a variety of
colors and finishes, and are most often sold on short hanks with 12
stands per hank. Some older Charlotte beads are sold on long
hanks, and can get pricey. They are also available in gold, silver
and copper plate. True cut beads simply other size beads with one or
more flat cuts.
Metal beads come in all shapes and sizes - silver, gold, copper, round, square, bicone, etc.
Popular metal beads include the Balinese Beads, which are made in Bali and are usually of sterling silver, gold or vemeil (gold plated sterling).
Beware of "Bali Style" beads - these are often base metal
imitations. Best bet is to stick to reputable dealers. Also
popular are the "liquid silver" and "liquid gold"
beads: tiny tubes made of metal, usually strung together which drape
An art form unto themselves, lampwork beads are most
often used as jewelry centerpieces.! Made with a torch or in a kiln, these are
painstakingly developed and executed by glassmaking professional. Be sure
any lampwork bead you buy is kiln annealed; this will insure stability of the
glass. Judge the price of lampwork according to the complexity of the finished
bead. Don't be afraid to ask the maker questions - they are usually happy
to tell you about the process of making these lovelies!
Semi Precious Stone Beads and Pearls
Study before you
buy. A good book on minerals and semi-precious stones will be
worth the investment if you are buying a lot of these beads. Beads
should be labeled as to treatment, but many dyed beads are sold. Some
treatments are perfectly acceptable such as heating the stone to change
or enhance its color. Pearl dying is considered acceptable, as long as
you are informed that they are indeed treated. Advance study and a
reputable dealer are your best insurance.