Beading Glossary

Learn everything you can about beading by browsing through our new, complete beading glossary. Terms include findings, stones, tools and more!



Agate   Highly regarded as a talisman or amulet in ancient times, agate is a semi-precious stone that is often available in the form of beads and chip to string up into a necklace or bracelet.  Colours range from green through to orange, cream and white.
Amethyst   A purple quartz, amethyst is said to overcome stress and anxiety and bring relief to the mind. Colours in this semi precious stone range from light lilac to deep grape.  Amethyst is available in small beads and chip.  See 'quartz' for more information.
AB (Aurora Borealis)   An abbreviation of Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), glass beads with an AB coating shimmer with a rainbow or iridescent effect.
Aventurine   The stone of chance and luck, aventurine is a green semi precious quartz, available mostly in the form of chip.  See 'quartz' for more information.


Base Metal   Any one of the non-precious metals (iron, zinc, nickel, brass, etc), usually covered with a silver, gold or black coating.
Bead   A small, often round material (usually glass, semi precious, or wood), that has a hole running through the center and can be strung up to create jewellery or other projects.
Bead Cap   Half a metal bead, with a concave end, to go around a glass bead in order to dress it up or make it stand out.
Beading Elastic   A stretchable cord that is suitable for stringing beads onto.  To finish an elastic project, either add a clasp using crimps (be aware that this will weaken the elastic), or tie a strong knot, dabbing a little clear nail polish or glue to strengthen.
Beading Wire   Flexible wire that can be moulded into shape, to create twisted wire pieces, wire wrapping and even components (head pins, eye pins and the like).  Eureka! Beads sells three gauges of wire - 20 gauge, 26 gauge and 28 gauge.  See 'gauge' for more information.
Bicone   Bicone literally means two cones connected at their respective bases.  The most common form of bicone beads is bicone glass crystals.
Black   See our beading resources for more information (including photos) on the colours that our findings are available in.
Blue Tiger Eye   Blue tiger eye is a heat treated dark, midnight (almost black) blue version of the semi precious stone, tiger eye.  Blue tiger eye is said to control bad tempers and personal conflict.  See 'tiger eye' for more information.
Bracelet Memory Wire   Bracelet sized memory wire (ranges from 65 - 75mm in diameter).  See 'memory wire' for more information.
Bronze   See our beading resources for more information (including photos) on the colours that our findings are available in.
Bugle Bead   Long, tubular bead, made from the same type of glass as seed beads.  Hole is normally the same size as a size 11/0 seed bead.


Calotte Crimp   2 hinged concave metal pieces that have a hole in the bottom (for threading string through) and a loop at the top (for joining to the clasp).  Used to hide unsightly crimps and knots.
Cats Eye Bead   A uniform glass bead that has been intensified using fibre optics causing the white reflective circles know as cats eye. Available in a wide range of vibrant colours and shapes.
Chain   One of the most popular materials to work with, chain is available in a variety of sizes and colours.
Charm   A small metal bead, often in the shape of a small animal or symbol, used to hang off bracelets and necklaces.
Chevron   A multi-layers glass bead, with a star shape on both ends.
Clasp   The finding that is used to do up your bracelet or necklace.  Available in a variety of styles.  See also 'lobster clasp', 'magnetic clasp', 'parrot clasp' and 'toggle clasp'.
Copper   See our beading resources for more information (including photos) on the colours that our findings are available in.
Crimp   A small, soft metal tube that used on tigertail to hold beads and findings in place.
Crimping Pliers   Serrated pliers, used for squishing down crimps, wirework and opening and closing jump rings.
Crystal   See 'glass crystal'.
Cutters   See 'wire cutters' or 'memory wire cutters'.


Decorative Metal Bead   A metal bead with fine, decorative work done to the outside.  Can be used in replace of other types of beads or in amongst other styles of beads.
Diameter   The size of a circular object, from one side to the other.


Ear Post   One of several types of earring findings, an ear post is a stud style ear wire, with a loop, used to attach beads and so forth to the post.
Ear Wire   The standard finding that is used to create earrings, slips through the ear with a loop at the bottom that is used to attach beads and so forth.
Elastic   See 'beading elastic'.
Eye Pin   A pin with a loop on one end, used primarily to make chain earrings and bracelets.  Available in base metal (with a variety of colour finishes) and precious metal (eg sterling silver).


Faceted Bead   A bead with many facets - that is, many cut sides.
Filigree   A delicate ornamental work woven into a lace-like design.  Most common on decorative metal beads.
Findings   The components - eye pins, head pins, ear wires, crimps, jump rings and so forth - needed to complete a piece of jewellery.
Fluorite   Fluorite, the stone of mind and spirit, is available in a range of colours - including yellow, blue, pink, purple and green.  Most common, however, are the strands of purple and green, seen mainly in the form of chip.
Foil   Transparent, or semi transparent glass with a silver or gold reflective foil lining.  See also 'silver lined'.
Freshwater Pearl   Said to be the sign of chastity and purity, most freshwater pearls these days are cultured.  Pearls are less durable than most gems and should be cared for accordingly.  Never spray perfume, hair spray or cosmetics directly onto the pearl and try not to expose to direct sunlight for any extended periods of time.  Note that the holes in freshwater pearls are usually smaller than that of a standard bead.


Garnet   A blood red wine colour, garnet symbolises passion and desire.  Available in a range of shapes, most commonly in small nuggets.
Gauge   A standard measure used to determine the thickness of wire - the higher the number, the thinner the wire.
Glass   A hard, brittle, often transparent substance.  One of the best materials beads are created from, as it is durable and strong.
Glass Crystal Beads   High quality glass beads, hand-cut or molded into a faceted shape.  Today, most glass crystal beads do not have a lead in their glass components.
Gold   See our beading resources for more information (including photos) on the colours that our findings are available in.
Gold Lined   See 'foil'.
Gold Plated   A thin layer of gold electroplated to the surface of base metal or silver.
Green Moonstone   The stone of wishes and calmness, green moonstone is a form of moonstone with a slight greeny/greyish tint.  Available mainly as small beads.  See 'moonstone' for more information.


Head Pin   A pin with a knob or flat end, used primarily to make drop earrings or bead drops from necklaces and earrings.
Hematite   A black stone (iron oxide) with a metallic luster, hematite was once worn to protect against bleeding.  These days, hematite is still thought to have healing powers, particularly regarding blood and kidney disorders.  Hematite is often made magnetic and these magnetic beads can be used in jewellery.
Howlite   This semi-precious stone is naturally chalky white, often with thin brown lines running through it.  Used to overcome anxiety and frustration and to aid creativity, this stone is most commonly brought in the form of chip.




Eureka! Beads is proud to present FREE beading instructions to it's visitors - to see the full range of projects available (including earrings, bracelets, necklaces and Christmas projects), please visit the 'Beading Instructions' page.



Jade   Jade, the semi precious symbol of love and virtue, is available in a huge variety of colours - including lilac, white, pink, brown, red, blue, black, orange and yellow.  It is, however, the different shades of green jade that are most recognisable and most valued.
Jump Ring   Jump rings are a circular loop used on the ends of necklaces and bracelets - they are what the clasp is joined onto.  They can also be used to attach beads and charms to projects.  To open up a strong jump ring, you will need two sets of pliers (a pair of twirly wirlies and crimping pliers are fine).  Always open the jump ring up by pushing one end forward and one end back (do not pull apart, this will weaken the jump ring and make it harder to close).


Lampwork   Handmade glass beads, made from thick rods of glass.
Lapis Lazuli  

This deep blue and white stone is used to guide the way to enlightenment.  Beads tend to be available in the form of nuggets and chip.

Leather   Another popular material to string onto, leather looks great with natural coloured beads (always make sure the size of the hole is large enough to go onto the leather).
Leather Ends   Ends that are crimped down onto leather to complete a bracelet or necklace.  Add a dab of glue or clear nail polish before crimping the end down, to strengthen the join.
Lobster Clasp   So named because it looks like a lobster's claw.  See 'clasps' for more information.
Luster   Clear coating on beads that gives a high, glossy finish.  Many of the seed beads at Eureka! Beads have a luster finish.


Macramé Cord   Macramé cord is perfect for making beaded macramé watches, as it resists fraying, threads smoothly and holds knots with ease.
Magnetic Beads   A variety of magnetic beads are available for jewellery making.  Perhaps the most popular, the square cut magnetic beads, are perfect for making magnetic wraps.
Magnetic Clasp   Magnetic clasps consist of two strong magnets that snap together.  They come in a variety of styles, the easiest to work with being the one with a loop on either end.  See 'clasps' for more information.
Memory Wire   A pre coiled stainless steel wire that has been hardened, so that it remembers it's shape.  Memory wire makes it easy to create rings, bracelets and necklaces.
Memory Wire Cutters   Tough cutters for hardened memory wire.
Memory Wire Tubing   A colour plastic tubing that slips over the top of memory wire.
Metal Beads   Metal beads can be used in replace of, or amongst glass and other types of beads.  Plain metal balls are useful as spacers and to give a project an extra 'lift'.
Metal Tube Beads   Metal tubes beads, like plain metal beads, can be used to give a project an extra 'lift'.
Millefiori   Literally translated from Italian as 'thousands of glass flowers',millefiori refers to glass beads that depict glass flowers.
Moonstone   One of the all time favourite semi precious stones, moonstone is a milky white colour, with lines of AB running through it.  Moonstone is often used to soothe and balance the emotions.  See also 'green moonstone'.
MOP Shell   Mother of Pearl shell comes from the shell of abalone and can be dyed into a large range of colours, including green, pink, purple and blue.
Multiple Strand   Multi-strand findings can be used to created bracelets and necklaces with more than one strand.  Findings include bars, spacers and ends, ranging from the simple to the more ornate.


Necklace Memory Wire   Necklace memory wire, approximately 120mm in diameter.  See 'memory wire' for more information.
Needle Nose Pliers   See 'crimping pliers'
Nickel   See our beading resources for more information (including photos) on the colours that our findings are available in.


Obsidian   This semi precious natural glass ranges in colour from red through to black, although 'snowflake' obsidian (a black or dark grey stone with white speckles running though) is most common and popular.  Obsidian beads, said to block negative energy, are available mainly in chip.
Opal   An almost solid colour finish that transmits very little light.


Parrot Clasp   The most common clasp used in jewellery making.  See 'clasps' for more information.
Pearl   See 'freshwater pearl'.
Pendant   A piece used as a feature in [usually] a necklace, usually made from semi-precious stones or glass.
Post   See 'ear post'.



One of the most common minerals in the Earth's crust, the use of quartz dates back thousands of years.  Quartz is said to be the universal healing stone.  See also 'amethyst', 'aventurine', 'rose quartz' and 'tiger eye'.



Rainbow   See 'AB'.
Rice Pearl   Rice shaped pearl.  See 'freshwater pearl' for more information.
Ring Memory Wire   Ring sized memory wire, approximately 20mm in diameter.  Seed beads are most suitable for this sized memory wire.  See 'memory wire' for more information.
Rose Quartz   A pinky quartz, rose quartz is the stone of love and friendship.  Rose quartz is among the most popular semi precious stones, and is available in a wide range of beads - from small round beads to large nuggets and chip. See 'quartz' for more information.
Round Nose Pliers   See 'twirly wirlies'.


Seed Beads   Small round beads available in a variety of different colours and finishes.  Eureka! Beads has hundred for you to choose from, available in size 15/0, size 11/0 and size 6/0.  See '6/0', '11/0' and '15/0' for more information.
Semi Precious  

Stones that are mainly used for jewellery, somewhat precious, but not considered 'precious' (i.e. diamond, emerald or ruby).  See also 'agate', 'amethyst', 'aventurine', 'blue tiger eye', 'fluorite', 'garnet', 'green moonstone', 'hematite', 'howlite', 'jade', 'lapis lazuli', 'moonstone', obsidian', 'quartz', 'rose quartz', 'sodalite', 'tiger eye', 'turquoise' and 'turquoise howlite'.  Note that the holes in semi precious beads are usually smaller than that of a standard bead.

Shaped Metal Beads   Another form of metal beads, shaped metal beads come in the form of butterflies, dragonflies, hearts and the like.  Can be strung onto head pins and used as charms.  See 'metal beads' for more information.
Shell   See 'MOP shell'.
Silver   See our beading resources for more information (including photos) on the colours that our findings are available in.
Silver Lined   Many of the seed beads at Eureka! Beads are silver lined.  See 'foil' for more information.
Silver Plated   A thin layer of silver electroplated to the surface of base metal.
Sodalite   Found in all shades of blue, sodalite can easily be mistaken for lapis lazuli.  Used to create a balance between the head and the heart, sodalite is available mainly in the shape of small round beads.
Sterling Silver   A silver alloy, usually a mixture of copper and silver, that contains at least 92.5% pure silver.


Tiger Eye   Another form of quartz, tiger eye has rich yellow and brown stripes and a fine luster.  Tiger eye, the stone used to enhance stability and personal growth, is available in a wide variety of beads and looks best when teamed with other natural colours. See 'quartz' for more information.
Tigertail   Strong flexible bead stringing material, made of fine twisted wires coated in nylon.  It is stiff and does not require a needle to string beads.  Always be careful when working with tigertail that you don't bend the wire - kinks will not come out.
Toggle Clasp   A clasp that is made of two components - a bar and a circle.  When done up, the bar rests inside the circle and stops the piece from coming undone.  See 'clasp' for more information.
Translucent   Light can be seen through, but cannot pass through the glass completely.
Transparent   Light can pass through the glass completely.
Tubing   See 'memory wire tubing'
Turquoise   Believed to be one of the first stones to be mined, turquoise is possibly the most recognisable of all the semi precious stones.  Said to make one at home in both the spiritual and physical worlds, turquoise is available in a large range of beads, from small chip through to large nuggets.
Turquoise Howlite   Manufactured turquoise, is very similar in colour and shape to real turquoise.  Howlite is said to overcome anxiety and frustration and to aid creativity.  See 'howlite' for more information.
Twirly Wirlies   What we've renamed round nose pliers, twirly wirlie pliers are circular all the way around, and are used to make loops on the top of head pins and eye pins (in order to make earrings).



A granite gemstone, unakite comes in rich red/brown and mossy green colours. Unakite, the stone said to help to stimulate the mind and body, is available in a wide variety of beads and looks great when teamed with other natural colours.



Gilded or gold-covered sterling silver.



Watch Face   A watch face with loops either side, for creating a beaded watch.
Watch Face Pendant   A watch face, with a loop on one side only, used to string up as a pendant.  See 'pendant' for more information.
Wedding Cake Bead   A glass bead, decorated with intricate swirls (often gold coloured) and patterns (often roses).
White Heart   A bead made from two layered - the outside is often a bright colour, whilst the inside layer is white.  Not heart shaped.
Wire Jig   A jig for creating turned wire pieces for jewellery.
Wire   See 'beading wire'
Wire Cutters   Diagonal cutters, used to cut tigertail and beading wire.  Never use ordinary wire cutters for memory wire - see 'memory wire cutters' for more information.


Zip Lock Bag  

A small, sealable bag, perfect for holding components or completed pieces.



Size 6/0   Seed Beads, size 6/0.  If you lay the seed beads out, on average, 6 will fit in one inch (25mm).  See 'seed beads' for more information.
Size 11/0   Seed Beads, size 11/0.  If you lay the seed beads out, 11 will fit in one inch (25mm).  See 'seed beads' for more information.