Jewelry Terms Glossary


Amber — fossilized organic resin of ancient trees; containing variable proportions of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen; comes in many shades of color.

Amulet — a pendant or charm worn for protection against harm or evil.

Anneal — to heat and then cool slowly to create strength and prevent brittleness.

Annular — a disk bead with a large diameter .

Art Deco — a style that emerged during the 1920's that is characterized by angular geometric shapes (triangles, squares, and circles) and bold colors; usually designed in a molded or faceted Czech glass, plastic, or chrome.

Art Nouveau — a style that is commonly called 'Victorian' or 'Edwardian' because of it's romantic and idealistic look; beads of this type consist of fluid, sinuous lines, and nature or floral designs; typically made in natural colors of heavy glass or metals.

Aurora Borealis (ab) — an iridescent rainbow coating for glass or crystal.

Awl — a tool to help slide a knot up against a bead.


Bail — 2 metal triangles that hook inside the hole of a bead to hang as a pendant on a necklace.

Baroque — an irregular shaped pearl, stone or glass bead.

Bead Loom — a frame used in weaving beads onto thread; Soft Touch .010 beading wire is an excellent, soft and flexible wire to be used for both your warp and weft threads.

Bead Tip — a clam shell with a hole in the bottom and a loop at the top; to attach a clasp, string Soft Flex or Soft Touch wire through the hole, tie a tight knot, setting the knot with your hands (not your finger tips), add a dab of Special T Glue, close the clam shell on the knot, and hook the metal loop onto your clasp.

Bead Cap — half of a bead with a concave surface to be placed around a focal point; to dress up a bead; to make a bead stand out.

Beeswax — or thread heaven can be used to smooth beading thread; prevents shredding and tangling.

Bell Cap — used to make a pendant with a hole less stone; attached with a small amount of Special T Illusion Glue.

Bicone — two cone shapes; wide in the middle, tapering to two points.

Big Eye Needle — a long, flexible needle; almost the entire length splits into an eye; we carry two sizes.

Brick Stitch — a stitch done with seed beads or delicas that looks like a brick wall.

Bugle — a small, glass, tubular bead; made from the same glass cane as seed beads but are cut into larger lengths; typically found with a size 11/0 hole; sometimes twisted.


Calotte Crimp — like a bead tip; two concave pieces that fold over a knot; does not have a hole in the bottom to string your wire through.

Cane Glass — a rod of glass or clay formed in a furnace; can have patterns or be plain; sliced to form beads.

Chain Nose Pliers — the two sides of the chain nose pliers taper to a point; used in wire wrapping.

Charlotte — a seed bead sometimes called a "true cut" or "one cut"; most are from the Czech Republic.

Chevron — a drawn glass cane bead; has a star cross section with their ends cut or ground down to display the pattern.

Choker — a short, tight fitting necklace.

Cloisonné — a bead with enamel and decorative metal detail work.

Soft Flex Craft Wire — copper wire, with an enamel coating; our product line comes in various colors and gauges; we also offer silver plated, which adds to your color selection; Soft Flex Craft Wire is clear coated to make the wire resistant to scratching, peeling, and marring; (with the exception of bare copper).

Crimp Bead or Tube — base metal or precious metal crimps are rounded with a patented crimping pliers (our suggestion), or flattened with chain nose pliers; to secure wire to a clasp, jump ring, or the end of a dangle; our sterling silver and gold filled Soft Flex crimp tubes have thicker walls, are seamless, and give a very secure hold.

Crystal — a brittle leaded glass; lead content allows for brighter Colors and cleaner faceting; available in a number of colors, sizes and shapes.

Cutters — there are many types of cutters. It is important to choose the right type for the job. Make sure you are using memory wire cutters if you are cutting memory wire - or you will damage your cutters. If you are cutting Soft Flex Craft Wire or beading wire choose a pair of nippers or cutters that reflect the frequency you use the tool. If you are beading and cutting wire daily or weekly, consider investing in high end cutters, they will have harder metal and are much more durable. If you bead once a month or less, a lower end economy cutter will be fine for you.


Delica — a consistent and precisely made cylindrical bead; mostly out of Japan; have large holes though they are small in size (typically size 12/0 as compared to a seed bead); often used in loom work or in the same fashion as a seed bead; pricier then seed beads due to the higher quality.

Diamante — faceted, shiny glass or rhinestones.

Diameter — a word to describe either the thickness of Soft Flex or Soft Touch wire, or the size of a bead; by the millimeter.

Dichroic — a glass bead with a coating of dielectric materials; very colorful; we carry a variety of these beads.

Dzi Beads — an ancient, sometimes prehistoric Tibetan bead; usually made of an agate; torpedo in shape; darkened or lightened to create patterns with white lines; precious in Tibet.


Enameling — melting a glassy, colored, opaque substance in a kiln to decorate or protect a metal (Soft Flex Craft Wire) or a metal bead.

Engraving — the act of cutting or etching into a metal to make patterns with a stamping tool or drill.

Eye Bead — any bead with a spotted decoration; ranging in many sizes, colors, and complexities; thought by some to protect the wearer from the "evil eye".

Eye Pin — an eye pin is short length of wire with a loop at one end; to attach or link beads together; can be found in a number of lengths, gauges, and types of metal.


Facet — any of the small, polished plain surfaces of a cut bead.

Faience — highly believed to be the first artificial material; thought to be the direct ancestor to glass; a type of ceramic made partially of fused quartz sand and mineral colorants.

Fetish — an animal shaped pendant or charm; each animal symbolizing water, fire, the Earth, etc.

Filigree — a traditional technique used to produce intricate, abstract shapes in metal beads, clasps, and bead caps.

Finding — clasps and fasteners to finish off a design; we carry an assortment of findings in our on-line catalog.

Fire Polish — machine faceted glass beads that are baked in a kiln to smooth sharp edges; great alternative to crystal at a lower cost; best quality is from Czech Republic; can come in a number of sizes, shapes and colors.

Flat Nose Pliers — the two sides of the flat nose pliers form rectangles; good for smashing, flattening, or pulling a needle through a tight spot.

Flush — a clean, even cut.

French Wire — a tiny coil of wire used with string or silk when anchoring on to the clasp; coil is slipped over the thread to protect it from being shredded by the metal clasp. Can also be used with Soft Flex or Soft Touch wire for decoration.

Fusing — using a kiln to melt together pieces of glass.


Galvanized — a metallic finish that is painted onto a bead; can be an unpredictable material.

Gauge — a standard measure for the thickness of a wire; the higher the number - the thinner the wire; i.e. - Soft Flex Craft Wire is measured by gauge.

Gilt or Gild — gold plating; to make appear bright and attractive.

Glass — a hard, brittle substance made by fusing silicates with soda or potash and lime; many different types and properties; it can be faceted, molded, pressed, and hand crafted.

Glass Blowing — the art or process of shaping molten glass by blowing air into the mass of it at the end of a tube; from beads to larger pieces-vases, sculptures, etc.

Glaze — to give a hard, glossy finish or coating for decoration and protection.


Headpin — a headpin is a piece of wire with a head (like a nail) at one end; used to make earrings, pendants, or dangles; can be found in a number of lengths, gauges and types of metal.

Heishi — a small disc bead; usually shell or bone, sometimes silver.

Hematite — composition is iron oxide; a black metallic stone; produces a blood red slurry on grinding wheel.

Hypo Cement — a glue for precision; hypo cement has a hypodermic needle point applicator; 15 minutes to dry.


Iridescent — having or showing changes in color.

Iris — clear, iridescent bead.


Jade or Jadeite — jadeite being the more valuable and rare; share extreme toughness and green coloration; abrasive.

Jet — fossilized coal from the Jurassic period; black, shiny, and often faceted.

Jigs — peg boards that allow you to make designs with wire that are easy and consistent; 5 types to choose from-Olympus (large with large peg holes), Olympus-Lite (small with large peg holes), Delphi (small with small peg holes), Electra (round formation with large peg holes), Cyclops (round formation with small peg holes); small peg holes will make a smaller shape and work with thinner gauges of Soft Flex Craft Wire, large peg holes will make larger designs and be able to use larger gauges of Soft Flex Craft Wire; we carry each style.

Jump Ring — a jump ring is a small metal ring for connecting jewelry components or anchoring a clasp to Soft Flex or Soft Touch wire.

Jump Ring Pliers — jump ring pliers have concave ends to grip and close a non-soldered jump ring.


Kiln — a furnace or oven used for drying, burning or baking substances at high, but very precise, temperatures.


Lampwork — the process of making glass beads by hand; a glass rod or cane is melted and wound around a coated mandrel, the newly formed bead is shaped, smoothed, and designed by rotating the mandrel over an open flame; glass layers allow for many color schemes.

Lapidary — creating jewelry by cutting, shaping, and polishing precious and semi-precious stones.

Lapis — composition of minerals-lazurite, calcite, and pyrite; dark blue in color.

Lariat — a long strand or strands of beads woven together; can be worn like a scarf or a belt.

Lazy Stitch — embroidery stitch attaching several small beads on each short stitch.

Loaf — a square shaped block of clay with a pattern throughout.

Log — a roll of clay.

Luster — a uniform, glossy finish.


Malachite — composition of hydrous copper carbonate; commonly found in deep green colors.

Mandrel — metal rod; used to coil molten glass to make beads or wire to make coils.

Matte — dull, velvety surface or finish; not shiny or glossy.

Matte Iridescent — dull color finish.

Memory Wire — steel wire that remembers it's shape; can be finished off by making a loop at either end; needs heavy duty cutters.

Millefiori — translated from Italian as "a thousand flowers"; canes of glass or clay depicting flowers cut into beads.


Nymo — used for seed beadwork; lightly waxed nylon thread; available in a few sizes-(o) thinnest, (B)-(which is the size we carry) & (D) most popular mediums, (F) thickest.


Opal (term) — transmit some light and shows shifting colors; milky.

Opal (stone) — composition of silicon dioxide with varying amounts of water; displays spectral colors.

Opaque — not transparent; does not transmit light; solid in color.


Papier Roule — rolled up paper triangles shaped into beads; can be done using terrifically tacky tape.

Paste — glass imitating faceted gemstones.

Pearl — an organic gem stone; composition of calcium carbonate, with organic matter; formed when a foreign body, grain of sand or parasite, becomes trapped inside of the shell of a mollusk.

Peyote Stitch — honeycomb beadwork that can be flat, circular, or tubular; currently popular for sculpting around a base.

P'leather — a fake leather that is more durable and smell resistant.

Pony Beads — large, plastic craft beads.

Pressed Glass — mechanically molded, polished, and finished beads.

Prayer Beads — found all over the world in many shapes and sizes; help in types of ritual prayer, meditation, or decision making.


Quartz — basic composition is silicon dioxide; one of the most abundant materials on Earth; comes in many types and colors including, the pink 'rose quartz', the purple 'amethyst', the golden 'citrine', the black 'onyx', the red 'carnelian', and the pale brown to virtually black 'smoky quartz', etc.


Raking — distorting a glass bead by pulling a tool along the hot surface during creation; lampworking term.

Rondelle — round, doughnut shaped disk.

Round Nose Pliers — the tips of the round nose pliers are two graduating cylinders; the whole length of the two cylinders should meet together; used for wire wrapping and making loops.

Reamer — a reamer is a tool for filing and smoothing the inside of an abrasive bead; will open up the hole of some beads slightly; the reamers that we carry come with 3 diamond coated bits, should be used with water for lubrication, and can be hand worked or electric; we also carry a two reamer package for pearls.


Seed Beads — small, round beads that range in a number of sizes, colors, and finishes; the larger the number in size-the smaller the bead; 22/0-smallest, 6/0-largest... 11/0-most commonly used.

Semi gloss — half frosted.

Sharps — needles that are short and sturdy.

Silamide — a thread that is commonly used for peyote or brick stitch due to it's strength.

Silk Cording — traditional cording for knotting.

Snake — a thin log of polymer clay.

Soft Flex or Soft Touch — Soft Flex and Soft Touch beading wire are the highest quality bead stringing wires.

Solder — a metal alloy used when melted to join or patch metal parts or surfaces.

Special T Glue — Special T Glue is an instant glue that dries fairly clear and pliable.

Spiral Maker — an accessory for the wig jigs; helps to make perfect spirals; very easy to use.

Split Ring — split rings come in the same sizes as jump rings; in the formation of a tiny key chain; needs a specific split ring pliers to open and close.

Square Knot — a double knot in which the free ends run parallel to the standing parts.

Stretch Magic — Stretch Magic is a stretch product that comes in 3 sizes; highly suggested to use the thickest you can fit through your beads; to finish design, tie a square knot with a dab of Special T Glue.

Super Pegs — a mixture of small to large pegs; used with the WigJigs.


Toggle — toggles are a type of clasp comprised of a bar that fits in a circle.

Transparent — transmits rays of light; can clearly be seen through.

Turquoise — composition is hydrous copper aluminum phosphate; ranges in colors of blues and greens; can be abrasive.


Viscosity — measure of resistance to flow of a material (glass); caused my molecular attraction.


Warp Threads — the threads that are stretched across a loom to create the base of the project.

Weft Thread — the thread that weaves in and out of the warp threads on a loom.

Wire Looping Pliers — have one flat side and one round, tapering side; the tapering side has 2 graduations to help in making consistent loops.