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Glass Beads for Jewelry Making: Shining New Light on Your Designs

With their unique versatility and ability to enhance any style, glass beads are perfect for jewelry making!

Read on to learn all about different types of glass beads, how to use them in your jewelry, and how to keep them looking great.

Different types and colors of glass beads for jewelry making

Why Glass Beads for Jewelry Making?


Glass beads are great to use for jewelry making for many reasons, not least of which are the myriad shapes, sizes, and colors you can find them in. Their versatility makes them a good choice for all types and styles of jewelry making.

Naturally shiny, the transparency and translucency inherent in glass beads give your jewelry visual depth (especially when you combine them with other materials). You can even take this quality one step further and use glass beads that are faceted, reflecting light to add a special sparkle to your jewelry.


Glass beads for jewelry making are often more affordable than other supplies, like gemstones. This may allow you to experiment more with different designs and techniques, without breaking the bank.

Easy to Use

Glass beads tend to be more uniform in size, unlike natural gemstones. This makes them easier to work with in intricate designs and makes it easier to create an overall consistent look in your jewelry.

Combine glass beads with beads of other materials to easily create texture and depth in your pieces. Layer them to create multi-stranded bracelets and necklaces.

The wide variety of glass beads shapes, sizes, and colors also makes it simple to personalize your jewelry with your own style or to match that of your customers.

Lightweight and Durable

One of the nicest things about glass beads for jewelry making is that, although they’re lightweight, they’re also durable! This lightness makes them easy to wear–especially in large jewelry pieces–and relative scratch-resistance allows glass beads to hold up to everyday wear.

Types of Glass Beads

The types of glass beads available for jewelry making are diverse! From seed beads to millefiori beads, you’re sure to find something to enhance your creations.

Seed beads

Seed beads, as I bet you can guess, are small, round beads that are commonly used in intricate bead weaving. They’re perfect for creating detailed patterns and designs.

Lampwork beads

Lampwork beads are handmade using a technique called lampworking. In this style, artisans use a torch to melt rods of colored glass and then shape them into different designs. This results in unique glass beads for jewelry making with different colors, patterns, and textures.

Lampwork beads are often used as the focal point in jewelry.

Czech glass beads

Czech glass beads are known for their quality and diversity, coming in shapes from rounds to faceted rounds to rondelles.

Some popular types of Czech beads include fire-polished, pressed glass, druk, and table cut.

Fire-polished Czech glass bead is machine-cut and then heat-polished, resulting in a super smooth and shiny surface.

Pressed glass beads are made by pressing melted glass into a mold. These beads are uniform in size and can come in anything from a round to a leaf, flower, or geometric shape.

Uniform and simple, smooth, round druk beads are uniformly round and come in a variety of sizes and colors.

Looking for a more vintage or artisan appearance? Table-cut beads, which are flat on one side and faceted on the other, are a great choice for your more rustic jewelry pieces.

Colorful Murano glass beads

Murano glass beads

Handcrafted on the island of Murano, Italy, artisans create colorful Murano glass beads by layering and adjusting glass rods. These glass beads are often used in high-end jewelry.

Dichroic glass beads

These glass beads are unique because they reflect multiple colors when viewed at different angles. To make them, artisans layer thin films of metal oxides onto glass. Dichroic beads are often used in statement pieces and as focal points in jewelry.

Millefiori glass beads

Another Italian-inspired bead, millefiori glass beads are created by fusing together multiple glass rods with intricate patterns, and then slicing them into beads.

The flower-like pattern seen on these beads gives them their name, which translates to “thousand flowers” in Italian.

Using Glass Beads for Jewelry Making

With so many great options, how do you choose the right glass beads for your jewelry-making project?

Choosing the right glass beads for jewelry making can greatly impact the overall look and quality of your creations. There are several factors to consider when deciding which type of beads you want to use.

Purpose and design

What type of jewelry do you want to create? Delicate earrings? A statement necklace? Something in between? Your choice of glass beads should complement the overall design and purpose of your jewelry. Don’t be afraid to mix and match shapes, sizes, and colors!

Bead size

As we’ve seen, glass beads come in a wide range of sizes. The size you choose will depend on the scale of your design–smaller beads are great for intricate designs and delicate pieces, while larger beads work well for bold, chunky jewelry.

Bead shape

Rounds, cubes, bicones, teardrops, and more! The shape of the beads you choose should align with your design concept. For example, round beads are versatile and can be used in a variety of jewelry styles, while bicones add sparkle and dimension.


Glass beads come in an almost endless array of colors. Consider the color scheme of your jewelry and the emotions or themes you want to convey.

Finish and texture

Glass beads can have various finishes, such as matte, glossy, or metallic. The texture can also vary from smooth to faceted. Consider the feeling you want to convey and how different finishes will look with your chosen color scheme.


Look for uniformity in size and shape when choosing glass beads. Make sure there are no visible flaws or cracks. High-quality beads will give you a more polished and professional-looking piece of jewelry.

Hole size

If you plan to use a thicker stringing material, like leather or cord, make sure the bead holes are large enough to accommodate it. A bead with a big hole strung on a thin stringing material will be more prone to damage because of its tendency to be less secure.


Glass beads come in a wide price range, but you can find a ton of good options for any jewelry at an affordable price point. Some more expensive beads may offer unique features, like intricate patterns or special coatings, that make the splurge worth it if you plan to use them as the focal point in your piece.

Theme or style

Choose glass beads that align with whatever theme you may have planned (for example, vintage, bohemian, or modern). Vintage-style beads might include antique glass beads, while modern styles may involve sleek and minimalist designs.

Different types of glass beads in organizer trays ready to be made into jewelry

Tips for Working with Glass Beads

Handling and care

Although glass beads are fairly durable, you should still take some precautions when working with them to keep them at their best.

Always have clean hands when working with glass beads. Oils, lotions, dirt, and other substances that can transfer from your hands can damage the beads.

Invest in a bead mat–a slightly textured mat that keeps your beads from rolling away and makes it easier to pick them up. Bead tweezers are also nice to have on hand; they help you grab your glass beads gently and cleanly.

Before stringing a bead, check it for flaws, like cracks or chips. Losing a defective bead after you’ve finished your creation is extremely frustrating!

Knotting and securing

Knotting between beads is often used in jewelry making to protect elements from each other (like in the case of pearls) and add spacing for visual design purposes.

Silk thread is a common choice for knotting because it’s soft and supple, but nylon and polyester threads are also good options, especially if you need more strength than silk can provide.

Beads with smooth holes and consistent sizes work best for knotting–they hold more securely when knotted than irregularly shaped beads.

beading needle is a fine needle designed for knotting between beads. It makes the knotting process easier, especially when working with small beads.


Your glass beads and glass bead jewelry do require some basic maintenance and care to look their best and to last.

Do your best to avoid letting your glass bead jewelry come into contact with water, which can damage glass beads and the thread used to string them.

Remove your glass bead jewelry before swimming, showering, or doing any water-related activities. If your jewelry does get wet, gently pat it dry with a soft, absorbent cloth.

Also avoid perfumes, lotions, and cosmetics that can dull the shine of glass beads and may cause discoloration. Apply these products before putting on your jewelry, and make sure they’re completely dry before putting on your jewelry.

Store your glass bead jewelry in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight. Consider using a jewelry organizer box with compartments to prevent tangling and protect the beads from dust and exposure to air.

Keeping your glass bead jewelry in separate compartments prevents them from being scratched by other treasures in your jewelry box.

Clean your glass bead jewelry occasionally to remove dirt and oils that may accumulate over time. Use a soft, damp cloth or a gentle jewelry cleaning solution. Dry thoroughly afterward.

Finally, periodically inspect your jewelry for loose or damaged beads and for any signs of wear and tear. If you notice any issues, address them promptly to prevent further damage.

Different styles of glass bead necklaces

Glass Beads for Jewelry Making: From Functional to Fancy

Glass beads are perfect for jewelry making, for every style from rustic to refined. They’re versatile, durable, and affordable, and make a great addition to every jewelry-maker’s toolbox!

Now that you know how to use glass beads for jewelry making, try adding to your collection by making jewelry with gold beads.