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Comment on How to Choose Beads for Beaded Necklaces; Too Many Beads, Too Little Time… by Jackie R.

By Quirky Girl @QuirkyGirlz_com

Deciding that you want to make beaded necklaces is easy, where to begin is the hard part. There are so many bead choices available and they are all so pretty! How does a quirky girl choose which beads to use in her handmade jewelry design?

Photo of beaded glass and stone pendant necklace

Pendant necklace made with glass and stone bead elements by

I will agree, it is a fun yet daunting task. You must begin with thinking about what kind of beaded necklace, bracelet, or earrings you would like to create. Do you want something big and chunky or soft and delicate? Do you want it to be neutral or scream with exciting color? Are you seeking to match a special outfit or do you want to make something that will go with everything? Would you like to create your handmade jewelry for a special occasion, or would you like it to be something you would want to wear every day?

Perhaps the easiest way to begin is to learn about some of the bead choices that are available in your local craft or hobby stores.  Beads are available in many varied shapes, styles, types and colors.  Beads are offered in gemstone, glass, plastic, polymer clay, bone, wood, metal, shell, pearl, pressed glass, silver lined, cane glass and more. You will just have to determine which bead speaks to you!

Glass Beads are plentiful and come in all kinds of wonderful colors. Often you will find that faceted beads are the ones that draw your eye because they really offer abundant play on the light. These beads contain many cuts; this is what is called facets. They look particularly pretty when they are used with pearls.

Nuggets can be made of glass or gemstone. They are generally larger than chips, come in a variety of sizes and work great as focal beads. These beads lend a more “natural” look to your design as they maintain a more organic shape.

Chips are uneven shaped pieces of gemstone or glass with the hole for drilling in varied areas. These are generally more inexpensive than other shapes depending on what type of stone they are made of. These are good for adding color or texture to your design, and can look great when you string many of them together, or placed between smooth beads.

Lampwork beads are among my favorite glass beads because they can be found in novelty shapes and contain delicate detail. These beads are beautiful when used as focal beads or mixed with crystals or smaller glass beads in complimentary colors. The link to the example below uses lampwork (teapots) beads mixed with glass and faceted beads to create this colorful handmade necklace.

Filigree beads are made of metal and work beautifully as spacer beads and will give your design plenty of sparkle. You must keep in mind what stringing material you are using because it may peek through the open spaces and take away from the elegance of your design.

Teardrop shaped beads are a favorite of mine, and I find myself using them in various sizes and semi-precious stone varieties often.  These beads are wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. Some of them have holes that are drilled from the top to the bottom, and some of them have holes that are drilled from side to side. (Keep in mind where the holes are drilled when choosing beads for your design!)

Follow this link to see an example of turquoise teardrop beads used in a necklace and bracelet set: 

Many women love crystals, and Swarovski is known as the best. They are respected around the world for their lead crystal beads. Most people do not know that they get their amazing sparkle from the high lead content within each crystal. They are intricately cut to create beautiful prisms. They have a wide array of colors to choose from and come in many popular shapes including cube, bicone, rondelle, round, heart and flowers.

The Czech Republic produces fire polished beads. They too offer a wide variety of colors and use a special process where they mix dye and glass together before they form the glass. It is molded and polished over open fire; this is what gives it the unique finish.

If you are a beginning bead enthusiast you may find this information helpful when you visit the store to select your components. If you are an experienced jewelry artist please comment below and tell us about some of your favorite beads.

I would love to hear your comments. What are your favorite beads to using when making a necklace? What kind of stones do you seek when looking to buy a special necklace for yourself or a gift for someone?

Till next time,

Quirky Girl

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