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Glass beads are versatile with many different types, suitable for a variety of jewellery making projects. Glass can be made using a wide range of techniques, which gives rise to huge variety of glass beads.

What is the difference between crystal beads and glass beads?

Crystal beads is made from glass that has lead oxide added to normal glass to make the beads more brilliant. Lead oxide added to the molten glass makes the beads refract light more efficiently. This gives crystal beads a higher index of refraction than normal glass beads, and consequently much greater lustre and sparkle.

So crystal is a form of glass. However in bead terminology, the term Glass beads are used to refer to beads made from glass that is not crystal. Crystal beads are beads made from crystal.

The lead oxide content also increases the weight of the crystal beads as compared to normal glass beads.

Different types of crystal beads have different levels of lead oxide content. Typically the higher the level of lead oxide content the more the beads will sparkle.

Our Auralescent beads have a lead oxide content of over 26%.
Our standard crystal beads have a lead oxide content of 16% - 23%.

For faceted beads, regardless of whether they are made of crystal or glass, the more facets they have the more the beads will sparkle. Typically beads with more facets have a higher price as they are more difficult to cut.

Example glass beads

Below are some examples of glass beads.

shopGlass faceted beads

These beads are made from glass, they have been cut into faceted shapes to give them more sparkle.

shopCatseye glass beads

Glass beads with a catseye effect.

shopCrackle glass

These glass beads have a cracked glass effect.

shopGlass pearls

These are glass beads that are designed to imitate pearls.

shopVenetian glassbeads

These glass beads are in Venitian style.

shopGlass seed beads

These seed beads are made from glass.

shopGlass bugle beads

These are bugle beads made from glass