GLOSSARY OF BEADING TERMS
Acrylic Beads are made from acrylic, are easily dyed, and can be made to resemble costlier beads. They are economical and lighter in weight than glass or metal.
African Trade Beads is the term that refers to old stone or glass beads which were made in Europe and India and then brought by traders to West Africa.
Alloy refers to a substance that is two or more elements which are fused together, of which at least one element is metal.
Anneal is the part of the process in making glass beads where the slow, controlled cooling of the material is done to relieve stress fractures and minimize breakage.
Antique Beads are generally referred to any bead over 100 years old, and those beads that are no longer being produced.
Antiqued Bronze is a metal finish applied to both jewelry findings and beads which gives it a yellowish to greenish-brown color.
Antiqued Copper is a metal finish applied to both jewelry findings and beads which gives it a reddish-brown color.
Antiqued Gold is a metal finish applied to both jewelry findings and beads which gives it a golden yellow color.
Antiqued Silver is a metal finish applied to both jewelry findings and beads which gives it a medium to dark grey color.
Aurora Borealis refers to the rainbow finish applied to beads. It is also called AB.
Bail is a loop used to join a pendant to a necklace, which can be constructed out of metal, glass beads or any other material.
Baroque Pearl is an irregular shaped pearl.
Barrel Clasp is a clasp that when the two parts are screwed together form a barrel shape.
Base Metal is any metal which is non-precious, i.e. aluminum, copper, zinc, nickel.
Bead Caps are also called end caps and bell caps, and sit on top of other beads. They are usually concave in shape so as to fit the curvature of the bead.
Bead Finishes are the coatings or colors which are applied to bead surfaces in order to enhance their color or appearance. Surface treatments for glass beads include shiny, matte, AB, metallic, frosted, satin, pearl and vitrail.
Bead Tips are especially designed metal beads which enclose and conceal the knot at both ends of strung beads. The bead tip also has a small loop which attaches to a clasp or ear wire.
Bicone is a bead that is shaped like a cone at both ends. The widest part of each cone is in the middle of the bead and the pointed part is at each end.
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.
Briolette is a faceted bead, generally in the shape of an oval or teardrop.
Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin.
Bumpy Beads come in various shapes and are adorned with raised dots or other embellishments.
Cabochon is a polished stone which is cut with a rounded dome on the top and sides, and very often the bottom is flat.
Cane Beads are handmade beads which have a clear glass shell and a core constructed from a number of colored glass rods. When cut, cane beads appear to be striped with the colors of the rods within. Cane beads are also called furnace beads or art beads or art glass.
Cathedral Beads are finished on the edges or tips with different colors, i.e. bronze, gold or silver.
Cat’s-eye Beads change hue and simulate the opalescent reflective quality of some natural gemstones. They can also be referred to as fiber-optic beads.
Ceramic Beads are those made of clay and fired in a kiln.
Chevron Beads are a type of multi-layered bead made from glass cane. Sometimes called star or rosetta beads, they are thought to have its origins in Venice. These beads can have up to seven layers of different colors of glass with facets cut into the ends.
Clasps are functional findings that are used to connect two ends of a bracelet or necklace. Common types include toggle, S-hook, lobster claw, spring ring and barrel.
Cloisonné is a technique used for applying enamel to metal surfaces.
Cone is a finding used to end bead strings.
Copper is a pinkish red or golden color metal.
Cornaline d’Aleppo is a type of bead made with two layers of wound or drawn glass.
Crackle Beads have a surface which resembles cracked ice. The process was invented by Venetian glass bead makers in the 16th century.
Crimp Bead Cover is a metal finding used to cover a crimp bead.
Crimp Bead is a small bead made of soft metal designed to crush easily when pinched with a crimping tool. Crimps are used to attach stringing wire to a clasp.
Crimp Ends are larger findings used to attach leather, rubber, satin or cotton cord to a clasp.
Crimp Tube is a crimp bead with a more elongated shape.
Crystal Beads have a distinctive shape, and are of a high quality glass.
Cylinder is a bead shape that is generally shorter than a tube but may have a larger hole.
Disc is a bead that is generally round and flat, but can appear as ovals.
Donut is a bead shape characterized by a large hole. They are often used for making pendants.
Dot Beads are usually made of glass with colored dots either raised or level on the surface. They are also called bumpy beads.
Eye Beads have been used since the Stone Age as amulets to protect against harm from the “evil eye”, and is thought to bring good luck to the wearer.
Faceted beads are shaped with cuts that reflect light to make the beads sparkle.
Findings is the term for many small hardware components used in jewelry.
Fire Polish Beads are hand-made beads from the Czech Republic.
Focal Bead is the term used for the main component in the design of a piece of jewelry. It is also called a station.
Foil Beads are glass beads made with an inner lining of metal foil.
Frosted Glass is a dull or matte finish done when an acid wash strips the sheen from the surface.
Hematite is an opaque stone made of iron oxide, and when polished is metallic and shiny.
Iridescent Finish consists of a rainbow-metallic finish, also known as AB or iris.
Lampwork Beads are wound-glass beads made by the technique of lampworking, which is the working of glass cane wound around a metal rod, over an open flame.
Matte Finish is a dull, nonreflective surface.
Melon Bead is a bead shape characterized by regular ribs or ridges on the surface of a round or oval bead.
Pinch Beads are glass beads which are squeezed or pinched with a tool used to manipulate their shape when the glass is still hot. They are also called hot-pinched beads or triangular melon beads.
Pressed Glass Beads are formed by pressing hot glass into a mold to create a bead shape.
Pyramid Beads are flat on the bottom and pointed at the top with four sides. Pyramid beads are usually drilled from top to bottom.
Raisin Beads have a somewhat oval shape and a wrinkled surface, resembling a raisin.
Rondelle is a round bead with flattened ends. They may also be called belly beads.
Spacer Bars are designed to separate multiple strands of beads, and make them lie flat. Spacer bars usually have two or more holes and provide precise spacing for multi-strand pieces of jewelry.
Toggle Clasp is a clasp with a ring on one end and a bar, which fits through the ring on the other.
Trichroic is a gemstone or crystal which displays three different colors, depending on the angle from which the stone is viewed.
Vintage Beads is the term for classic beads valued for their antique qualities, shapes, colors, material and craftsmanship.
Wedding-Cake Beads are ornate lampwork beads which are embellished on the surface with trails or lines, resembling vines, of different colors of glass.
Reference: Bead Bible, terms tips & techniques