18 Different types of {BEADS} for bead embroidery and jewelry making

Do you know that beads have been found in graves of men who died a long time ago – like thousands of  years ago. Checkout a recent report here in Huffingtonpost.com – Researchers have discovered  three glass beads from a Fifth Century burial site in Japan. In Africa glass beads have been found which dates back to 300 BC. Beads are always in fashion.

Even today one way or the other designers try to incorporate the incandescence of beads into their creations. Bead embellishments are done on Bags, jackets, tops , brooches, pendants, purses belts,hats and even shoes – you name a clothing / accessory and you will find beads decorating it, making it look special.

It is not only the top couture designers who are fascinated by beads. Ordinary men and women like you and me have been attempting to make beautiful creations –  jewelleries and embellishments as per their imagination and creativity, on their own. 

Beads come in different types, sizes and materials. They are made of wood, shell, plastic, ceramics, metal and even bone. Checkout the different types of beads we popularly use .

Types of Beads

1 Seed Beads

These are small round shaped beads which are made of glass. They come in a wide variety of colours. They are regularly used for making jewelry and also for needle work.

2 Swarovski Crystal Beads

Swarovski crystal beads are the finest cut (precision cut) crystal beads you can get for beads work . They were originally made in Austria and are renowned for their brilliance and quality. They come in a variety of sizes shapes and colours ( more than 50 colours and 15 effects) ; They can be made into fine jewelery as well as sewn into fabric as embellishment.

3 Bugle Beads


These are long beads which are shaped like a tube. They are either smooth or with 6 sides. The sizes of bugle beads range from 2mm to 40mm.

4 Roundel beads

Roundel beads are flat donut shaped beads usually used as a spacer bead . Glass Roundel ( also called roundelle) usually come with many faces but some are available smooth too.

5 Bali Beads

Bail beads are hand made, sterling silver made originally in Bali, Indonesia. They are often used as spacers when making jewelry. These beads are intricately worked in silver and are beautiful.

many kinds of beads for jewelry

6 Drop Beads

Drop beads are shaped like a pear or raindrop; they have a hole through the bead or at times at the narrow end of the bead.

types of different beads

7 Faceted Beads

They are faceted on all sides and because of this catch light on all sides which makes it luminous.Hex beads are faceted seed beads with 6 faces . 

how many kinds of beads

8 Lampwork Beads

Lampwork beads are handcrafted glass beads which are exquisitely beautiful. They are made by melting  glass with a torch. The process of making the lampwork beads is very labourous ; different colours of glass are melted to gether to form the patterns visible on the surface of the beads.

beads for beading

9 Pony Beads

Pony beads are inexpensive large beads mostly made of plastic . They are generally used in craft projects and for kids to make jewellery. These beads are available as a single colour or in a mixed set.

10 Acrylic fancy beads

These are plastic beads available in many shapes and colours -round, flat,  oval, tube. They are lightweight . These beads also come electroplated metallic silver, copper or gunmetal colors

11 Ceramic Beads

12 Wood beads

13 Semi precious beads 

kinds of beads for beading

14 Cultured  pearls

These are fine quality pearls harvested from farmed mussles. Cultured pearls may be bred freshwater or saltwater; The term covers all pearls on the market today like  Akoya, South Sea, Tahitian,and freshwater pearls. Pearls cultured in saltwater are more valued than freshwater pearls. But freshwater pearls are moderately priced and hence much in demand

types of beads

15 Costume pearls

Also known as faux pearls or plastic pearls or imitation . They can be made of glass, plastic or fish-scales which are coated with a material which makes them look like pearl. They lack the depth of colour and beauty of original pearl. These pearls are inexpensive, lightweight and hence used in beading on fabric.

16 Sequins

Sequins are available in any number of shapes , sizes and colours. They are mostly round in shape with a bowl like center with a hole. Some are flat. Paillets are very big sequins which have hole near the edge rather than the center. These sequins are used to embellish fabric edges ; they are frequently used in dance costumes. Checkout the different ways to stitch sequins on to your clothes.

17 Metallic Beads

many kinds of beads

18 Rhinestones

These are flat back crystal beads with holes , through which you can sew to attach them to fabric. There are rhinestones which can be glued onto fabric as well. They have many facets and the light reflected on them make them look like diamonds. Checkout this post on many ways to fix rhinestones on your fabric

different types of beads

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