A spacer bead normally describes a type of bead that is used between the feature beads or charms within the piece of jewelry.
They can be deliberately unnoticeable, as their primary function is to "fill in the blanks".
You would use spacer beads for many reasons. Spacer beads can lengthen a piece of jewelry, draw attention to the feature beads by spreading them out, emphasize a color within the feature bead or offer an interesting contrast color.
Metal spacer beads
Spacer beads can often be made of metal, and should match the findings used in the jewelry. If metal spacer beads are used, try to use metal that is a similar alloy to the findings themselves, or they will age differently.
If you have used pure silver spacer beads, they will not tarnish as much as sterling silver findings across time, and will eventually look quite different.
Tarnished metal spacer beads would take away from the appearance of the feature beads. As spacer beads are meant to enhance and improve the placement of feature beads, it would make them look bad when tarnished metal spacer beads surround them.
To avoid the problems associated with tarnish, use glass, plastic or crystal beads as spacer beads. They will not change appearance as much across time, and will lengthen the life of your jewelry.
Using spacer beads
Spacer beads can be used in a couple of situations:
Spacer beads are mostly there to fill out the jewelry, which is why they are sometimes called filler beads as well. Most jewelry pieces would rely on spacer beads for their overall look and appearance.
In a strung necklace
Any bead can be a spacer bead, but you would normally use something smaller than the feature beads. The smaller size is particularly useful in a strung necklace.
A strung necklace involved just a long strand of beads arranged on a wire. Using small spacer beads, the strand is better able to curve around the neck than if just larger beads alone were used. This is because the smaller beads gradually bend into a curve and change direction, while larger ones in the same position would create gaps.
Cheap spacer beads
Spacer beads are not needed to be beautiful or breath-taking on their own. This usually means that they are much cheaper. By using spacer beads in your own designs, you can cut costs while presenting your feature beads in a way that is visually appealing.
Any bead can become a spacer bead. By using cheaper beads to be your spacer beads, you will have more cash in your pocket to spend on starting your next project!
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