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Glass Beads or Semi-Precious Beads for DIY Jewelry? Pros and Cons

April 23, 2021

Get this: the market for online jewelry is expected to hit a whopping $7.6 billion this year alone.

Not sure how to choose between glass beads or semi-precious beads for DIY jewelry? Take a look at the pros and cons of using glass beads and semi-precious beads for jewelry below!

Pros of Using Glass Beads in DIY Jewelry

In case you're interested in using Venetian beads or other varieties of glass beads, you'll be happy to know that these are the number one bead choice, historically speaking. 

Nowadays, there are tons of interesting and innovative styles of glass beads in jewelry designs, which include:

  • Dichroic glass
  • Art glass
  • Lampwork glass
  • Millefiori glass
  • Sea glass

And so much more...

Incredibly enough, professional lampworkers can even shape or heat glass rods into beads. Besides this, glass beads can also be fused or heated.

Not to mention that cold beads can be polished, ground, drill, shaped, cut, or engraved too. If you prefer natural glass beads, though, then you should look into those made from beach or sea glass instead.

Since glass can be easily heated, this is great for creating various forms and shapes of beads. Also, glass beads can come in a wide variety of colors, which is perfect for picking your favorite color palette for your project.

Finally, glass beads are cheaper to buy and simpler to produce, meaning that they are much more affordable than their crystal counterparts!

Pros of Semi-Precious Beads in DIY Jewelry

When it comes to semi-precious beads, there are so many reasons why you should incorporate them into your craft.

From attractiveness to versatility, the most popular types of semi-precious beads include everything from:

  • Rubies
  • Emeralds
  • Sapphires

Not only that, but semi-precious come in a wide variety of different types as well. Whether they were mined from the earth in Australia or found in the Oregon dirt, you'd be surprised by how unique styles of semi-precious beads that you can work with.

In addition to this, these types of beads come in a full spectrum of rainbow-like colors, allowing you to pick your palette for your piece in style. That means that choosing your favorite hue or shape for your DIY jewelry project will be a piece of cake.

Besides this, semi-precious gemstones are much more affordable than precious gemstones are, meaning that they won't hurt your pocket either. Now, you can experiment with your favorite DIY jewelry design inspiration in a way that's both fun and inexpensive!

Cons of Using Glass Beads in DIY Jewelry

To be quite honest with you, there aren't too many cons to glass beads.

First of all, if you are not working on a padded surface and over a carpeted floor, they may chip if they fall, and they will certainly bounce and roll under your furniture on a wooden or concrete floor.

Glass beads are usually relatively heavy compared to other bead types, which isn't great for making delicate pendants, necklaces, or earrings.

Last but not least, it's pretty expensive to pick up "cold working tools" at your local hardware store. That's because the synthetic "diamond grit" used in the tool drives up its cost and its value. So, if you want to avoid dealing with higher fees, you may want to pick up a different type of bead for your project instead.

Cons of Semi-Precious Beads in DIY Jewelry

What are the cons of using semi-precious beads in DIY jewelry, you ask?

To be quite honest with you, some manufacturers of semi-precious beads tend to "fake" or misconstrue the origins of their stones to make them seem like the real deal. Honest bead merchants will always tell you if sapphire is heat treated or dyed, if the turquoise they are selling is natural turquoise or a dyed imitation stone, and often the price of the beads reflect the nature of the raw materials.

This is the main reason of why it is important to shop for beads with a reputable merchant like Halcraft Collection, which was founded in 1922 in New York City.

As a matter of fact, some of the most common misrepresented semi-precious stones include: 

  • Black onyx
  • Red carnelian
  • Blue sapphires
  • Hematite
  • Opalite
  • Turquoise

If you're not sure, the only way to know if you take your glass or semi-precious beads to a certified gemologist. They'll be sure to tell you if they are real or not!

Once you can figure out the real semi-precious beads from the fake, the rest should be surprisingly simple. Sort through your favorite picks and start incorporating them into your DIY jewelry design. We highly recommend that you play around with both glass and semi-precious beads to find out which one works best for you!

Elevate Your Craft With Glass Beads

Want to learn more about beads for jewelry making?

From wholesale beads to jewelry-making supplies, we've got you covered.

When you think about the pros of working with glass beads, there are so many to choose from. Not only can you use dichroic or art glass but you can also pick up Lampwork, Millefiori, or sea glass to get the job done too.

On the other hand, using semi-precious beads means that you will have the chance to work with rubies, emeralds, or sapphires. Besides this, black onyx, red carnelian, and blue sapphires are also beautiful bead picks. 

Having a hard time choosing between hematite, opalite, or turquoise stones? 

The key is to choose the one that best fits the palette for your DIY jewelry project!

Ready to elevate your craft with glass beads?

To buy beads online, don't hesitate to visit our online bead store today!