Glossary of Beading Terms

Design

Accent

Accent

An accent is a secondary design element that is meant to accentuate the primary design element(s), usually by providing contrast in color, texture, or both. Contrast does not have to be bright or dramatic–usually accents are not what you notice first in a piece, but by being there they provide overall balance to the piece and make it work. For example, often the metal color (such as silver, bronze) will provide an accent to the main color(s) of the piece.

Bangle

Bangle

A style of bracelet consisting of a closed ring, usually metal or plastic and often brightly colored. Popular in the 1980s.

Baroque

Baroque

(1) A design style of the 17th century characterized by elaborate ornamentation. (2) An irregularly shaped bead, usually applied to pearls.

Bezel

Bezel

A type of setting where a stone is encircled with a metal rim. You can also make a “beaded bezel”, for instance to surround the edges of a cabochon. Contrast with chaton setting.

Bib Necklace

Bib Necklace

A style of necklace that mimics a baby’s bib, with a thick section on the chest and a thin cord going around the back of the neck.

Bolo

Bolo

A bolo tie can be made from a piece of cord, string, or braided leather fashioned into a necktie. It is fastened at the throat with decorative tips or an ornamental clasp. The two ends of the cord are threaded through the clasp so they are held in parallel, with the tips meeting each other evenly at the base. The clasp can be placed higher or lower in position on the chest, as the wearer prefers. photo credit

Chaton

Chaton

1) A cone-shaped crystal or gemstone where the top circular edge is beveled. Sometimes refers to costume jewelry where crystal beads in this shape are backed by foil to make them sparkle. 2) A type of setting where the gemstone is held in place by metal claws. Contrast with bezel setting.

Choker

Choker

The shortest length of necklace, worn very close to the neck or sometimes high on the neck. photo credit

Costume Jewelry

Costume Jewelry

Originally, costume jewelry was over-the-top, large and fake to be seen from the stage. However, many people also refer to costume jewelry when describing jewelry made of faux gemstones and metals like nickel, instead of precious gemstones, semi-precious gemstones, gold, silver, or platinum (though sometimes the clasps are made of gold or silver).

Dangle

Dangle

Any part of a piece of jewelry that hangs free and can move with the wearer. Dangles add motion to a piece.

Ear cuff

A semi-circular band of metal which clamps onto the side of the ear. A chain can be attached between the earcuff and a post earring to get the Bajoran effect.

Facet

Facets are cut flat surfaces on a gemstone. The more facets there are, the more the stone sparkles as the light is reflected in many directions.

Filigree

Filigree

Delicate ornamentation consisting of the twisting, curling and plaiting of fine, pliable strands of metal, usually gold or silver. Metal filigree beads are available as well as filigree bead caps or other findings. The use of filigree in beading projects tends to create an elegant or even antique look.

Fringe

Fringe

Fringe adds motion and interest to a piece. Often used in beaded purses, or embroidered on the edge of clothing. Fringe is commonly used to finish artwork or jewelry created with brick-stitch or other bead stitching techniques. photo credit

Iridescent

Iridescent

Iridescence is the property of appearing to change color depending on the angle an object is viewed. Examples of iridescent materials used in jewelry making are opal, labradorite, dichroic glass, and shells such as abalone and mother of pearl.

Lariat

A type of necklace that mimics a lasso. Can be multi-stranded. Similar to a Y-necklace.

Mosaic

An image or picture created by the arrangement of many separate and smaller colored pieces. Mosaic designs are often made of tiles, stones or glass beads set in mortar. A mosaic effect can be created using a pattern that emulates this type of art by using patches of different colors in a picture. Beaded mosaic artwork is created using bead looms, bead embroidery, or other beadweaving techniques. You can find beaded mosaics on clothing, handbags, tapestries and many other types of accessories or decor.

Patina

Patina

Refers specifically to oxidation or corrosion on metal surfaces like copper, but also generally to a sheen on any surface that makes it look old and used (the “antique” look). You can create patinas on metal jewelry with chemical solutions and corrosive materials like ammonia or vinegar. Be sure to understand the safety concerns before trying this, both in terms of ventilation and not damaging your jewelry. photo credit

Pendant

Pendant

A large hanging object that forms the centerpiece of a necklace.

Scrimshaw

The art of intricate carving on ivory, and the resulting pieces. Since harvesting ivory is illegal due to overhunting, ethical scrimshanders use recycled ivory from old piano keys, extinct animals, and naturally shed antlers.

Spacer Beads

Spacer Beads

Any small bead can be used as a spacer. Spacer beads are often unnoticable (on purpose) but serve an important function in the spacing of a jewelry design. The bead can be made of any material; it is referred to as a spacer bead based on its function in the design. Often spacer beads are small metal beads or glass seed beads.

Y-necklace

Y-necklace

A popular style of necklace that consists of a single strand, usually chain, and a focal drop in the center.