Seed Bead Finishes

Seed beads are manufactured in an endless array of colours and finishes. It can be overwhelming to select seed beads for your jewellery especially if you shy away from colour.

I happen to love colour but I tend to use the same ones over and over again. (You might have noticed this if you have seen any of my beading patterns.) It has gotten to the point where I have to slap my own hand if I reach for any shade of purple beads while making jewellery. The funny thing is I don't even wear a lot of purple. I just love it in beaded jewellery.

Anyway, I digress, today I will take you through the different seed bead finishes and anything you may need to know about them.

Transparent- Clear, coloured glass that you can see through. With this bead finish, you should select a thread colour that compliments the colour of the beads being used as you will see it.

Colour-lined- Transparent beads that have an opaque coloured lining on the inside.

Metal-lined- Transparent beads that have real metal or metal-coloured lining on the inside. The lining may wear over time.

Matte- the surface of the beads are etched resulting in a frosted appearance. This finish is quite resilient and resists fading.

Aurora Borealis (AB)- an iridescent finish applied to the surface that adds a rainbow effect.

Iris- An iridescent finish usually applied to darker beads that give the appearance of multiple hues.

Luster- A shiny glaze applied to the surface creating a pearlescent effect.

Ceylon- A finish that gives a milky effect.

Opaque- Coloured glass that does not allow light to pass through.

Galvanized- A metal plating that creates a very shiny finish. This coating may wear away over time.

Duracoat Galvanized- Similar to Galvanized finish but the coating is usually permanent.

Metal- These seed beads are made of various metals.

Dyed- Coated with a dye that is not usually permanent. This finish may be susceptible to fading.

Most seed bead finishes are usually quite resilient but that all depends on the level of wear to which they are exposed. Also, consider storing your beads away from sunlight. UV light can fade finishes.

If using beads that you are aware will fade over time, be clever about how and where you use them. These beads can be used in earrings away from the hook or as the top embellishment of a bracelet or necklace. Just don't use them in areas that will come into constant contact with the skin or clasp.

The combination of colours and finishes is endless! I love seed beads with Iris and Luster finishes.

What are some of your favourite finishes? Tell me in the comments below.

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