Glass pearl beads are inspired by the cultured pearls found in nature, but are a fraction of the price. They usually have much more reflective or mirrored surfaces, and can be created in any size.
Glass pearl beads are quite light, and are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
Making glass pearl beads
They are made first with the finest glass base. To this, a surface treatment is applied that decides what color they will be.
The major color groups for glass pearl beads are; white, pink, silver, cream, gold and black. Most common glass pearl beads are available in shades of cream or white like traditionally pearls.
Not to be confused with pearl beads that are not as reflective, glass pearl beads tend to have a more shiny appearance. Because of their glass base, glass pearl beads appear luminous and almost have a liquid quality to them.
Using glass pearl beads
Glass pearl beads are extremely effective when used with crystal beads. The facets of the crystal are very complementary to the smoothness of the glass pearl beads.
In time, the coating of glass pearl beads will wear down. This is more of a problem for the beads that have used a darker surface treatment, as the irregularity will be more noticeable as the surface becomes eroded. The lighter colors will look nicer for longer.
For perfect wear, you would have to use actual pearls and a lot of money.
Types of glass pearl beads
Czech or Swarovski
These glass pearl beads are of the finest quality, and highest price tag.
These are not as costly as Czech or Swarovski glass pearl beads, because they are usually dyed on the strand instead of individually. This can lead to a build-up of dye around the holes, or a color that is not quite uniform in appearance.
These have smooth surfaces that look best without bumps or irregularities.
These beads are begin with a round glass bead that is cut into facets. Once it is cut, it then receives the surface treatment. The end result is a glass pearl bead that has the facets of a crystal bead, but without the heftier price tag.
Faceted glass pearl beads are much lighter than crystal, as crystal contains lead. Faceted glass pearl beads do no need this lead content for brilliance. Because they are opaque and their refractive properties are not important, the facets do not need to be cut exactly, and therefore they do not need the lead content like crystal.
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