Seed Beads

Oh goodness! I can’t believe I still have not published this post! Well, considering how things are going at the ol’ 9-5, I can. But, regardless, it was my intention to have this out to you all already! I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend. I topped off “Birthday month” by celebrating the (belated) birthday of one of my best friends.

So, seed beads. To begin with, “seed beads” are not something that you will not necessarily see referred to often here. They’re not my least favorite type of beads (anything big, neon, and plastic wins that award), but they are certainly far from my go-to. As you know by now, I tent to work with gemstones. Therefore, when I have some strands to fill, I’ll turn to cubic zirconia or rose quartz or another fairly inexpensive gemstone, cut into rondelles. You know me, I’m a sucker for anything sparkly. However, that is not to discount the value of seed beads when you have to fill up a lot of space on a budget.

So, what is a seed bead? Simply put, it is a small, uniform bead – usually made out of glass. Seed beads can be anywhere under a millimeter to several millimeters big, and are often used in woven beaded pieces. While seed beads are generally round, cylinder-shaped beads have been making a name for themselves recently, as well. Seed beads with facets of one, two, or three cuts are known as “Charlotte beads”. A third classification of non-round seed beads are “bugle beads”. These are long, tube-like beads that range from about half an inch to two inches.

Seed beads come not only in a variety of sizes, but colors and finishes as well. Below is a list from Wikipedia of the different colors and finishes of seed beads:

  • Color lined – a color coating is applied inside the beads; sometimes this is not very durable and the color of finished work may appear very different in a short time
  • Transparent – the glass is see-through
  • Translucent – one can see light through the bead, although the light is diffused
  • Opaque – the solid color prevents light from passing through the bead
  • Matte – the bead is textured on a microscopic level to result in a matte finish
  • Silver-lined – a silvery coating which reflects light is applied to the inside of the seed bead
  • Copper-lined – a coppery coating which reflects a reddish light is applied to the inside of the seed bead
  • Bronze-lined – a bronzy coating which reflects a brown light is applied to the inside of the seed bead
  • Luster or lustre – a transparent “pearl” effect applied to the surface of the seed bead
  • AB or aurora borealis – a rainbow effect applied to the surface of a seed bead

And, there you have it – seed beads! Stayed tuned for the piece highlight I have been building up to!!

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