Bead Types and Finishes
AB is an iridescent coating on a bead. It refers to Aurora borealis, or northern lights, because it is a finish that resembles the Aurora Borealis with its dancing patterns of lights and colours.
Bugle beads are long skinny tubes. They can be either straight or twisted. and are usually about 2mm wide and between 3mm and 6mm long.
Ceylon refers to a lustrous pearly finish on a bead, it doesn't rub off.
Charlottes are seed beads with a single facet ground into them to give them sparkle. They may also be called one-cuts or true cuts
Colour-lined beads consist of a transparent glass on top of an opaque glass.
Czech Seed Beads
Are less regular in shape and size than Japanese seed beads but are usually cheaper. They have a more squashed oval shape with the hole running through the narrow part of the oval. They usually come strung on hanks.
Drop Beads are also called magatamas, teardrops or fringe drops. They are a round bead with the hole offset to one side giving a drop effect. They work well in fringes.
Delicas are Japanese made, precision cut cylindrical seed beads with thin walls and large holes. Their regular shape makes them ideal for off-loom bead work such as peyote stitch.
Galvanised beads are coated with a zinc based finish. It may rub off easily and can be protected by spraying with an acrylic fixative.
Hex cut beads are cut to have 6 sides so that they look like a hexagon when viewed from the top. This gives them a sparkle. They are also sometimes called two-cuts. Three-cuts are similar but they have additional facets on the ends giving them a more irregular appearance.
Lustre is a transparent glaze added to the surface of a bead to give extra sheen and sparkle to the bead.
Magatamas are also called teardrops or fringe drops or drop beads. They are a round bead with the hole offset to one side giving a drop effect. They work well in fringes.
Matte Beads are beads with a shine free surface with a 'velvety' appearance. A matte finish is usually achieved by acid etching.
Metal-lined beads are clear or transparent glass over a real metal or metallic coloured lining. They have a lovely sparkle.
Metallic beads have a metal surface coating that is either electroplated or baked on. It can wear off in time, to protect it you can spray it with an acrylic fixative.
Opaque beads are made out of coloured glass that you cannot see through
One-Cuts are seed beads with a single facet ground into them to give sparkle. They may also be called Charlottes or true cuts.
Rocaille is sometimes used as another word for seed beads. Although an exact definition of a Rocaille is hard to find, it is generally taken to mean a basic round seed bead.
Seed beads are small beads that are said to resemble plant seeds, hence the name. They are often used for bead weaving and come in a variety of different colours shapes, sizes and finishes.
Two-cut beads are also called Hex-cuts. They are made to have 6 sides so that they look like a hexagon when viewed from the top. This gives them sparkle.
Three-cuts are similar to Two-cut beads but they have additional facets on the ends giving them a more irregular appearance.
Transparent beads are made out of clear of coloured glass that light can pass through.
Vitrial is an iridescent coating, that is similar to an AB coating, but which seems to have a slightly stronger, more opaque, rainbow effect.