Bead Shape Glossary

March 31, 2017

Bead Shape Glossary

Beads come in all shapes and sizes, and Island Cove stocks an inspiring assortment of beads to choose from. How many bead shapes currently make up your collection? It's a good idea to experiment with new shapes once in a while to help you break out of a design rut. Or just to diversify your style and skill set. 

Bead Shape Glossary

Barrel: a short, thick tube bead with slightly rounded edges. This shape is also known as a drum.

Baroque: an irregular shape like a natural nugget.

Bi-cone: like two cones, attached base to base.

Brick Bead: a 2-holed bead shaped like a 3 dimensional rectangle.

Briolette: a teardrop or pear-shaped pendant or bead with facets. Briolettes are always top-drilled and can be flat or rounded. This shape is also known as a faceted teardrop or faceted pear.

Bugle: Very thin tubes of glass. Bugle beads are longer than they are thick, creating a tubular shape.

Cathedral: this bead has facets around the middle of the bead. The top and the bottom of the bead are usually patterned glass, often with a gold, silver or picasso coating. They are called cathedral beads because they have a gothic quality to their shape.

Charlotte: a Czech seed bead that has a single facet to make them sparkle. True Charlottes were only made in a size 13, over time larger “charlottes” were made in other sizes and are called 1-cuts or 2-cuts.

Coin: a flat or puffed circle, drilled lengthwise.

Crescent: a 2-holed flat crescent moon shape great for seed bead work.

Crow: also known as a pony bead is a drum or cylinder shaped bead that looks like an oversized seed bead usually about 6mm in size.

Cube: a dimensional square – the same length on all sides, sometimes the whole is straight and sometimes the whole goes through diagonally.

Dagger: Daggers are blade-shaped beads. They are available in both one-hole and two-hole varieties. These petal-shaped beads create a great fringe effect and always have a point at one end.

Druk: an old term for a round bead.

Fluted: also known as melon beads usually have groves running down the sides like a pumpkin.

Heishi: A thin uniform disc-shaped shell, gemstone, metal or wooden beads that are center drilled and strung in a row. It is a  disk bead that is usually flat, but sometimes slightly puffed. Traditionally, this shape was achieved by drilling flat chips, stringing them and then grinding the strand against stone to gradually wear the edges into smooth, flat-edged circles. Pronounced “hee-shee,” this shape is also known as a wafer, wheel or spacer.

Lentil: A flat round shape, but more domed – like a lens.

Marquise: An elliptical shape with pointed ends. Generally flat or puffed, this shape is also known as an almond or football.

Pinch Bead: This a small oval that appears to be pinched in 3 places creating 3 smooth sides around the oval.

Rocaille: traditionally these were seed beads that were silver-lined with square holes, but today we use this term to describe all “round” seed beads.

Rondelle: a slightly flattened round bead.

Superduo: a small glass bead with 2 holes, that is tapered from the center like a rhombus (diamond shaped).

Table-Cut: Czech glass beads where the coating on the sides has been scraped or grinder away to reveal a window of the base color of glass.

Teardrop: a bead with one wide rounded end and one narrow end, that resembles a falling drop of liquid. Teardrops can be flat, puffed or 3-dimensional. They can also be top drilled or center drilled and smooth or faceted.

Tile: a flat square, can be single drilled or 2-holed.

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