Bead Colors and Finishes


2015.07.16 - Beading BasicsWhen you work with glass to make beads, you have a variety of different ways you can accent your basic color of glass.  There are ways to put color beneath the main color, and ways to overlay other colors on top of your main color.  You can have a blue glass base, and add an Aurora Borealis topcoat to totally change the whole look of the bead.  Though, it will typically also change the price.

I’m a huge fan of the special finishes and most of my work will have some fancy colors throughout the piece.  Because of this I compiled a list of what kind of special finishes you can find and use in your beadwork.

Some of these finishes are permanent, some will wear off with continued contact with the skin.  (Skin is very acidic!) You can treat some of the beads with outside finishes so your special finishes don’t wear off as quickly.   It’s good to know what finishes are on your bead so that you can create jewelry that will look good for as long as it can!

Swarovski Crystal has its own types of finishes and there are companies out there who specialize in creating unique finishes on the base Swarovski beads.  Keep in mind, Swarovski discontinues colors and finishes on a fairly regular basis so it can be hard to find some of the older finishes.

Honestly, it’s hard to keep track of all the different colors and specialized finishes, so this is not an exhaustive list.  You will need to check with a store to see if any of the effects have been discontinued.  I would love to keep this list up to date so if you notice anythign that needs to be changed let me know!

Glass Beads:

  • AB or aurora borealis – a rainbow effect applied to the surface of a seed bead.
  • Bronze-lined – a bronzy coating which reflects a brown light is applied to the inside of the seed bead.
  • Ceylon – A pearl luster finish. Sometimes the color of this bead fades when exposed to strong sunlight.
  • Color lined – a color coating is applied inside the beads; sometimes this is not very durable and the color of finished work may appear very different in a short time.
  • Copper-lined – a coppery coating which reflects a reddish light is applied to the inside of the seed bead.
  • Duracoat – “Duracoat®” is durable clear coating for outside dyed or galvanized beads. It is thicker and stronger coating than traditional one.
  • Iris – An iridescent coating with multiple hues, usually on dark, opaque beads.
  • Luster or lustre – a transparent “pearl” effect applied to the surface of the seed bead.
  • Marea – Same process as AB but results in a primarily orange/yellow reflection.
  • Matte – the bead is textured on a microscopic level to result in a matte finish.
  • Metallic or Galvanized – A shiny, very reflective coating that gives the bead a look of metal.
  • Metal – seed beads made of metal. These beads have sharper edges than most seed beads, so use of a stronger thread is recommended. Metal seed beads have larger holes and function well as an inexpensive alternative to spacer beads.
  • Opaque – the solid color prevents light from passing through the bead.
  • Picasso Coating – gives a speckled multi-colored effect over a solid color bead.
  • Rainbow – An iridescent coating on the outside of either opaque or transparent beads.
  • Silver-lined – a silvery coating which reflects light is applied to the inside of the seed bead.
  • Satin – fiber-optic tubular seed bead with slight striations. Made from a different type of glass than other seed beads, satin seed beads have sharper edges, so use of a strong thread is recommended.
  • Opal – semi-translucent finish that is often achieved with a dye on the surface. This finish is at risk of wearing away or fading.
  • Dyed – seed beads are coated with a dye that is often impermanent. Dyed seed beads in bright pinks, purples and reds are less stable and more likely to wear and fade.
  • Transparent – the glass is see-through.  You will need to use similar color thread with these beads if you do not want it seen.
  • Translucent – one can see light through the bead, although the light is diffused.
  • Vitrail – Same process as AB but results in a primarily pink/green reflection.

Swarovski Finishes:

  • AB
  • Ab2x
  • Satin
  • Blue Shade
  • Golden Shadow
  • Silver Night
  • Lilac Shadow
  • Paradise Shine
  • Antique Pink
  • Luminous Green
  • Moonlight
  • Silver Shade
  • Red Magma
  • Copper
  • Vitrail Medium
  • Comet Argent Light
  • Hematite 2x
  • Metallic Light Gold 2x
  • Crystal Rose Gold
  • Crystal Rose Gold 2x
  • Iridescent Green
  • Metallic Sunshine
  • Dorado 2x
  • Hematite
  • Metallic Blue 2x
  • Bronze Shade
  • Astral Pink
  • Heliotrope
  • Mahogany
  • Purple Haze
  • Chili Pepper
  • Nut 2x
  • Electra I
  • Summer Blush
  • Bronze Shade 2x
  • Aurum 2x
  • Sky Blue
  • Crystal Iridescent Green 2x
  • Metallic Sunshine 2x
  • Star Shine
  • Volcano
  • Dorado
  • Metallic Blue

These are two of my favorite stores.  They have some great information about seed beads and the durability of their finishes.  Between these two stores I can find pretty much anything I need.

Fire Mountain Gems

Fusion Beads Blog

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