TYPES OF JEWELLERY BEADS STOCKED BY BEADSERVICE
CRYSTAL - Cut crystal beads contain lead which toughens the glass and enables it to be machine cut to give a highly reflective facet. This process increases the cost of the glass considerably. Swarovski is a top quality brand, who offer a good selection of pendant shapes and beads. Czech crystal is made to very high standard, it is generally less expensive, and the range is more limited.
PRESSED GLASS BEADS - Pressed beads from Czech, are popular because of their consistent quality. They are made by master bead pressers who heat glass canes which are pressed into a mould. Afterwards the beads go through two stages of tumbling to remove any signs of the seams or surface imperfections. This process gives them a superior quality to those from other countries.
FIRE-POLISH - Fire-polish beads are considered by many to be one of the most essential components for jewellery making. Sometimes confused with crystal because they are faceted and look similar, but in-fact do not contain lead. The Czech bead makers are famous for their exquisitely crafted yet relatively inexpensive faceted beads. To make fire-polished shapes, the manufacturer starts with round pressed beads. The beads are sifted onto a pronged board that is then fed into a faceting machine which angles the beads onto a grinding wheel. After all sides of the beads have been faceted their surface looks rough. The polished finished is achieved by laying the beads on a conveyor belt that feeds them into a furnace. The beads are heated to the point that their surfaces begin to melt, creating a naturally shiny finish.
LAMPWORK - These are handmade Focal beads made by an individual person over an open heat source. True Murano glass is made on the island of Murano in Italy, an area steeped in the tradition of glass making. Genuine Murano is more expensive but can be worth it for it's style and quality. Lampwork from China or India is an increasingly popular option, as the standard has much improved and represents great value for money
SEED BEADS - (Also known as Rocailles or Accent beads) Japan is the biggest manufacturer of seed beads. The main brands being TOHO, MATSUNO and MIYUKI. Beadservice stock Toho & Miyuki Mixes. 'Delica's' are small tubes by Miyuki, used in precision work
FINISHES ON BEADS DEFINED
LUSTRE - Durable, transparent, glossy colour coating on glass beads that is heat treated like a glaze. These coatings add a subtle change to the colour.
PICASSO - A lustre coating that appears more speckled, giving the bead a natural earthy stone appearance.
HURRICANE GLASS - A combination of glass colours that create swirl patterns. Each batch is unique and difficult to re-produce.
RUBY,RED & PINK - These colours cost more to manufacture, and it's variances in shade are difficult to reproduce. Not only is it difficult to create by also difficult to keep the colour consistent over batches. To make the colour, the manufacturer must add trace amounts of precious metals to the molten glass. Because of the extra expense making these colours sometimes they are colour coated instead.
GLASS PEARLS - Alabaster white beads coated with a nitro-cellulose lacquer with pearl pigments.
STRINGING MATERIALS TIGERTAIL - A common name for flexible stranded wire. Brands include BEADALON®, SOFT FLEX, FLEX-RITE. BEADALON® provides an excellent range of colours and flexibility. The wire is described as 7, 18, 49 strands, and the more strands, the greater strength and less likely to kink. It is used with crimp beads or tubes, that secure beads and findings in place.