Bead Terminology

Aiko Precision Cylinder Bead: These are a top quality cylinder beads that are produced by state of the art machinery.  They are completely consistent in size and shape, and provide a smooth, silken finish to the beaded piece created with them.  They are approximately an 11/o Cylinder Bead.

Aught Size:  A unit of measurement, refers to the number of beads lined up side by side in a given space.  An 8/o means you will have 8 beads fit in that space, and a 6/o means you will get 6 beads to fill that same amount of space.  Smaller the number, the bigger the bead, because it takes fewer beads to fill that space.

Aurora Borealis (AB):  Also referred to as “iris”, “irid”, “iridescent” or “rainbow”.  This permanent rainbow finish is applied to the beads while they are hot.  They blend subtly with other colors and come forward visually.

Bugle Beads: A thin, tubular shaped bead.  They are available in 2mm-9mm sizes.  The 9mm size is also available with a twist.

Ceylon: A pearl looking finish on a translucent bead.

Charlotte: For many years only available from the Czech Republic but now made by TOHO also.  Charlottes are beads that have had a cut  made to one side of the bead making them faceted.  They catch and reflect light adding sparkle to finished work.

Dyed Rainbow:  This finish is made by applying surface colorants and/or stains to the finished beads with heat or solvents.  Care should be taken to avoid overexposure to sunlight or contact with oils and acids from the skin.

Frosted:  Also referred to as  a “matte” finish.  Chemical etching or tumbling produces a frosted look to translucent beads.  They are not shiny and when used with a shiny bead will recede visually.

Galvanized:  The shiny finish on these beads gives them the appearance of metal and referred to as metallic beads.  They are not in the metallic bead family.  Until a few years ago (see PF beads) they were highly unstable and were avoided by some users.  New technology has created a much more stable bead.

Gold-Lined:  These transparent beads have a 14 Carat gold plating on the inside of the bead.

Gold-Lustered:  A transparent bead that has had a gold luster applied to the surface.

Hex Beads:  Available in either 8/o, 11/o or 15/o these beads have six (6) sides which catches the light and adds a sparkle to your work.

Inside-Color or Color-Lined:  Transparent or Transparent AB beads that have had an opaque color added to the inside of the bead.  There are many beautiful and exciting combination of colors available.  Also available with a matte/frosted finish.

Luster:   A semi-transparent high gloss coating is applied with a resulting pearl or whitish appearance.  The luster may be gold, colored or white.

Marbleized The marbling on these beads is done by hand by highly skilled artisans.  The marbling may be done with gold or an opaque color.

Matte:  The matte finish is done with chemical etching or tumbling.  When used on transparent or translucent beads the finish looks frosted.  On the metallic beads the finish looks similar to raku fired beads.

Metallic and Higher Metallic:  These beads have a shiny finish that gives them a metal-like appearance.  There finish is one of the most time consuming because of the many different elements used – titanium and gold being two of them.  The higher-metallic beads contain more gold in their finish.

Nickel:  A metal alloy, containing mostly nickel is applied to the bead producing a stainless steel look.

Opaque:  Opaque is a solid bead and transmits no light.

PermaFinish or PF:  TOHO has developed a technology that has dramatically improved the stability of their galvanized, silver-lined, and Ceylon beads.  Extensive testing has shown that their durability has been greatly increased however they are not able to withstand perfumes or harsh chemicals.

Seed Beads:  Small, very uniform rounded beads.  They are available in sizes ranging from  3/o to 15/o.  They are used in intricate loomwork, beadweaving, bead crochet, bead embroidery, clothing and many other works.

Silver-Lined:  A sterling silver lining has been applied to the inside of a transparent or translucent bead creating a mirror like surface that transmits light from the center of the bead.  These beads also come with a “frosted” finish.

Three-Cuts:  These beads are very similar to the Charlottes although they have multiple cuts/facets to them.  They add a great deal of sparkle when under lights.

Transparent:  No finish has been applied to these beads and they are completely see through.  The bead transmits light which makes them sparkly.

Treasures:  TOHO’s cylinder bead is a thin walled, large holed bead.  Treasures and Delicas are both cylinder beads, the same size but manufactured by different companies.  They are both slightly smaller than an 11/o bead.