The art of jewelry-making has been a part of human history ever since its recorded beginning. Recent studies have shown that our prehistoric predecessors made necklaces out of shells as far back as 120,000 years ago. So when you decide you want to craft jewelry, you're tapping into millennia of history and culture.
Because of this vast and fascinating history, it can be daunting when you try to find the perfect jewelry beads for your next project.
But don't despair. Whether you're an artisan or an amateur, we have 7 factors to consider that will help you choose the best types of beads for your jewelry.
One of the biggest influences on the beads you'll use for your project is the type of jewelry you're making. Who and what are you making this piece for?
If you're creating a trendy spring piece, you'll use different beads than you would for, say, a child's friendship bracelet. What you might use for an earthy, boho-chic anklet wouldn't work as well for a classy, formal event.
Do you intend this piece to be a one-off showpiece or more of a daily wearer? Your string and beading materials will change depending on what you choose.
In addition to the occasion, you should also keep in mind the type of jewelry you're making. Beaded, dangling earrings will require different considerations than a statement necklace.
Jewelry is one of the most telling features of many cultures, so taking a moment to consider what cultural influences you want to incorporate will help you narrow down your beading selection.
If you want something sleek and modern-looking, a simple color palette and plain metal beads would be a good idea. If you want to create something inspired by a particular culture, look into the beads those from that culture use in their jewelry.
Speaking in general terms, if you want something inspired by Indigenous cultures, you should speak with them before you proceed to avoid appropriating their culture. However, bone and shell beads would be a safe bet for most traditional jewelry.
If you're making a simple pendant necklace, a locket, or a minimalist statement necklace, finding your focal point is easy. All attention goes straight to the center hanging.
However, if you're not making one of the above necklace types, you should consider what you want as your piece's focal point. Or, if you even want the piece to have a centralized focal point at all.
Having a statement bead that draws the eye is a fantastic jewelry design technique, but it might not work for all pieces.
Applications and esthetics marry when you start sorting your beads by size. A tiny rhinestone charm might be adorable on a bracelet but could wind up looking swallowed when it's around someone's neck.
A large, hefty wooden pendant looks great as the center of a statement necklace. Put that same pendant on a set of earrings, and it goes from a fantastic accent to a weighty fashion faux pas.
Esthetics, vibes, and durability reign supreme when deciding what material you should use for your beads. As stated above, if you're highlighting a particular culture, you'd be best served selecting beads that comply with those traditions.
If you want this piece worn daily, you'll need stronger beads. If you're making something intended only for formal events, you can work with materials that are a bit more fragile or finicky.
A good rule of thumb is that semi-precious stone, wood, metal, or acrylic make for good daily jewelry choices. Save precious stones, high tier metals, glass, and Swarovski crystals for formalwear.
Choosing your color scheme early on is a good way to narrow your selection of jewelry beads. Do you want this piece to scream its presence from the rooftops? Or should it have a more subtle, understated beauty?
If you want this piece to "go with everything", you should stick to a neutral color scheme. Black, white, and metallic tones, as well as any of the spectrum of browns, should work for this purpose.
Want to make the piece pop? Glitzy or shiny beads are a great eye-catcher. You can also take this chance to experiment with color. Get bold with bright reds, sunset oranges, or whatever color suits you!
It's so easy to get caught up in what elements we should use for certain projects that we forget to let ourselves have fun with the process of creation. Do you have any particular beads in your collection that you've been dying to use? Create a project featuring that bead front and center.
Do you prefer working with beads made from natural materials? Go for it. Got a color scheme you love sticking with above all others? You do you.
The process of making jewelry isn't just about what fashionistas or potential clients say. It's about making what sparks joy for you.
When it comes down to it, choosing jewelry beads for your projects is simple when you keep these three things in mind:
First, know your audience and vibe. Second, know your purpose for the jewelry. And third, know what inspires your creativity. Follow those three rules, and whatever types of beads you use, the end result will be beautifully you.
Feeling inspired? Ready to get to beading? Take a look at Halcraft Collection's New Arrivals today! We update our inventory weekly and are sure to have something that will inspire you.
Making your own jewelry is a whole new way to express yourself. Read here for our go-to beginner's guide on how to design and create your own jewelry.