Choosing seed bead colors for your beadwork project can be confusing if you don't know what all the colors and finishes mean. These are some of the most commonly found and most beautiful colors and finishes of seed beads.
1. OpaqueOpaque seed beads are made from glass that does not allow light to pass through them. They can also be given finishes of Aurora Borealis (AB or "rainbow"), matte or frosted, and luster.
2. TransparentTransparent seed beads allow light to pass through them. Choosing a thread color when using transparent seed beads is important because the thread will be seen through the glass. Transparent seed beads can be given finishes of matte or frosted, Aurora Borealis (AB or "rainbow"), or luster.
3. Silky or SatinThese beads have a reflective sheen that resembles satin. Their edges can sometimes be a bit rough, causing your thread to fray or break while stitching.
4. Silver LinedThese seed beads usually have a transparent outer layer and are given an inner coating of silver. They can be given an additional finish of Aurora Borealis (AB or "rainbow") or matte. They sometimes have square bead holes.
5. Gilt-Lined OpalThese are semi-translucent seed beads that have a gold or gilt lining to them. They have a soft, silky feel to them and seem to give off a glow in finished beadwork.
6. LusterLuster finishes are transparent surface treatments. They create a shiny or “wet” look to the beads.
7. Gold LusterThese beads appear to have been bathed in a delicate gold coating, giving them a vintage or antique look.
8. MetallicThese are usually clear or transparent seed beads that have been given a metallic coating. The metallic coating is usually non-permanent. They can also be given a frosted or matte finish.
9. GalvanizedThese seed beads have been given a non-permanent metallic coating. There are some seed beads that claim to be permanent galvanized, but their coating will also wear off over time.
10. Precious MetalThese seed beads have been plated with a precious metal such as 14k gold, sterling silver, or platinum.