A Guide to Different Styles of Beads Part II

When you start making beaded jewelry, the most important thing to learn is the difference between the types of beads available for you to use. At times, knowing the type of bead is just what it takes to create new and exciting projects.


To help spark inspiration for your beaded projects, here’s our second set of the different styles of beads.


Two-holed beads. Characterized by two parallel holes instead of one, these beads come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They provide unique shapes that are not otherwise available. One of the first two-holed beads is the Tila square beads. The flat shape is similar to a tie but has a slightly curved top and edge. They are available in a half-tile bead that offers versatility to your designs.


Another style would be the twin beads or duo. They are both similar in shape and size. Their uniqueness let them blend with the seed beads in a design.


Hex Beads. This is a combination of a cut bead and cylinder bead. In order to reflect the light, the hex cut bead has six even cut sides instead of having rounded sides. The sides of hex beads are straight with large holes and as such, they can be used in the same way as cylinder beads. Hex beads come in similar sizes and have the same diameter as cylinder beads. Even if they are slightly longer than regular cylinder beads, they are available in size 8 and 11.


Drop bead

This is the term used for a large group of beads that look like drops of liquid.  Drop beads come in a variety of sizes and shapes depending on the outcome after production. Miyuki fringe beads are some of the smallest drop beads. This type of bead makes the perfect end to a beaded fringe. They also add texture to a flat or tubular beadwork.


Magatama beads. These beads resemble drop beads as each piece has a hole at the top but are more elongated. They are cut at a slight angle from front to back. Magatama beads are great as fringe end beads as they add texture to bead weaving stitches and in border trims.


Specialty Beads. In recent years, specialty beads have dazzled the work of many beaders. While there are a few favorites, some have a shorter lifespan as suppliers only have a limited inventory of these beads in different shapes and colors. Specialty beads to look for are Farfelle beads and O beads. While the former look like two-ended drops or cartoon-style barbells, the latter are donut-shaped with large holes.


Jewelry making involves different types of beads and sizes and with a range of different materials. There are plenty of unique styles of beads to experiment with so you can create challenging yet fun jewelry designs. Take time to explore a couple of new bead shapes from the list above and have fun beading!

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