Seed beads are manufactured in an endless array of colours and finishes. It can be overwhelming to select seed beads for your jewelry especially if you shy away from colour.
I happen to love colour but I tend to use the same ones over and over again. I almost have to slap my own hand if I reach for any shade of purple beads while making jewelry. The funny thing is I don’t even wear a lot of purple. I just love it in beaded jewelry.
Anyway, I digress. Today I will take you through the different seed bead finishes and anything you may need to know about them.
Seed Bead Finishes
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.
Things To Remember About Seed Bead Finishes
Most seed bead finishes are usually quite resilient depending on the level of wear. 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.
Which is best for earrings?
You can use any type of seed bead finish for earrings. It’s really just personal preference.
EDIE KNIEF says
Do you recommend coating your seed beads to help the color last?
Hi Edie, I don’t think that’s necessary. I tend to avoid seed bead finishes that fade or rub off and use ones that are more durable. If you do want to coat your beads, Potomac Beads sells a product called (affiliate link) Permalac in semi-gloss and a matte finish.
I recently bought some opaque seed beads that faded with one shower. Do you know of any key-words that will give a hint to how durable the coating is or anything I should be looking for? I’m tired of wasting money on seed beads that lose their color so easily!
Hi Cleah, you should really avoid getting your beaded jewelry wet. That’s the first way to help preserve the colour of the beads. Try Toho Permanent Finish seed beads. It may be just my personal experience but those have held up better for me than other finishes.
Also, I have to agree with your comment about purple beads! Why can’t I stop myself from buying them? I don’t even like purple but I’m drawn to it every time!!!
Glad to know that it’s not just me!
Joanne Burns says
I am finishing a bracelet using silver seed beads. The customer was asking for silver. Should I look for a non tarnish spacer bead or will the seed bead be ok.
Any time you’re selling an item, I highly recommend using materials that will not tarnish or lose their colour. If you can find non-tarnish spacer beads, you can use those. It all depends on the style of bracelet you’re making.
Danita Kelley-Brewster says
Do you have seed bead recommendations for waist beads?
I think you should be able to use whatever you like for that particular purpose.