Friday, April 3, 2009

Finishing with Bead Finishes

Wow, where did this week go? And how did I get so far behind in my topic posts. I'm going to blame it on my need to be as thorough as possible, but... hmmm... am I maybe being too thorough? Not thorough enough? Poor choice of topics? More concise? Less photos? More photos? I'd love to know what you think so far. So, either leave a comment or feel free to e-mail me at sales@mysticwynd.com and let me know your thoughts!

I promised you bead finishes this week, (and a couple other things, but we'll get to them next week), so that's what we'll finish this week out with. I promise it will be an interesting week next week - I'm going to delve into precious and semi-precious stones and just a whole bunch of cool information on what is what and the different types of cuts and qualities.

Glass Bead Finishes

These are some of the more common glass bead finishes used in descriptions. Again, this is by no means a complete list!


Alabaster - A dense, milky effect similar to vintage milk glass.



Aurora Borealis or AB - A colorful, reflective, almost metallic, finish that is permanently applied to the surface of beads. Typically the AB coating is applied to some areas of a bead and not to others. Other names for AB are Iris, Iridescent, Rainbow, Oil Slick, and Scarabee.


Ceylon - A pearl-like, lustrous finish typically applied over a pastel colored base.


Color Lined - These typically are transparent glass beads that have a layer of opaque color applied to the inside surface of their drill holes. Also see Gilt Lined, Gold Lined, Silver Lined, and Copper Lined.


Copper Lined - Beads with a thin layer of real copper, or copper foil, applied to the surfaces of their drill holes. Also see Color Lined, Gilt Lined, Gold Lined, and Silver Lined.

Crackle - "Crackle beads" have internal cracks that sparkle with reflected light. They are created by heating the glass enough to cause it to crack, then re-heating the surface of the glass to create a smooth finish.


Etched - See Matte. "Etched" is also commonly used to describe beads with designs created by etching a matte finish onto some, but not all, areas of a bead's surface.

Foil Lined - These glass beads contain one or more internal layers of thin metal foil. Fine silver and gold are common varieties.

Frosted - See Matte.

Frosted Rainbow - See Ghost.


Galvanized - Galvanized beads are coated with a thin layer of metal (often zinc), which may be prone to flaking.


Ghost - Ghost beads have a matte aurora borealis finish. Also called Frosted Rainbow. See Matte and Aurora Borealis.

Gilt Lined - Beads with a layer of gold coloring along the surfaces of their drill holes. Also see Color Lined, Gold Lined, Silver Lined, and Copper Lined.


Glazed - A colored finish that is fired in a kiln. Glaze is more commonly used on ceramics, but also can be used on glass.


Gold Lined - Beads with a thin layer of real gold, or gold foil, applied to the surfaces of their drill holes. Also see Gilt Lined, Color Lined, Silver Lined, and Copper Lined.

Iridescent - See Aurora Borealis.

Iris - See Aurora Borealis. Iris beads may have more of a swirled finish than AB beads.


Luster Coat - One or several opaque, highly-reflective colors applied to the surface of the bead.


Marea - A gold-colored finish applied to a portion of a bead's surface. Also referred to Vitrial Medium.


Metallic - A thin surface coating of metal gives these beads their look, and may be prone to scratching. The coating may be simply painted on, or it may be electroplated.


Matte - Matte beads have a non-shiny surface texture. Other names for them are etched, satin-finish, and frosted.

Oil Slick - See Aurora Borealis.


Pearl Luster - These beads are finished to have extra depth-of-reflection, like a lustrous natural pearl. This is also called a glass pearl, faux pearl, or fake pearl.

Rainbow - See Aurora Borealis.

Satin - A soft, satin-like appearance with striations that reflect light.

Scarabee - See Aurora Borealis.

Silver Lined - Beads with a thin layer of fine silver, or fine silver foil, applied to the surfaces of their drill holes. Also see Color Lined, Gilt Lined, Gold Lined, and Copper Lined.

Stardust -as the name implies, these beads appear to be coated with shimmery stardust. The coating is a finely ground metallic coating that gives the appearance of silver dust, but the finish is smooth to the touch. These may also be referred to as glitter beads.


Vitrial - A silver-colored coating applied to a portion of a bead's surface.

White Heart "White heart" beads have a thin layer of opaque white glass along their drill holes. The outer layer or layers of glass may be translucent or opaque.


Acrylic Bead Finishes

While many of the earlier bead finishes can also be found on acrylic beads, there are a few that are specific to acrylics.

Both Wonder Beads and Miracle Beads are shimmery acrylic beads encased in a clearcoat to make them appear as tho they were dipped in glass. Vacuum beads are those beads that are associated with Mardi Gras here in the states. They have an almost mirror like finish and are very lightweight.

The sky is the limit when it comes to the choices of bead finishes available today. And I'm sure there is something out there that will appeal to your fabulous sense of style no matter what the occasion!

Next week, I'm going to do some posts on beads as far as their composition and their shapes, and then I hope to start writing about gemstones! Hope your week was a good one - this weekend, please be sure to check back for my day to day normal non-jewelry ramblings!

4 comments:

Baroness Bijoutery said...

Great information about the different finishes..As for you blog, I think your topics are fine and no I don't think you have too many photos. I like you blog that is why I follow it...Don't mess to much with a good thing.

Flight Fancy said...

Great post as usual!

Chrisy said...

These are all exquisitely beautiful...all little works of art...and it was interesting to read your descritions..

FlyingButtons said...

Thank you for the beautiful post above! It's nice to see a shop that is a bit whimsical. I collect quotes from poems, and when I started reading the top of your page, I thought "Wow, I've never read this poem before" and saw that you were the author. Thank you for sharing!

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