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Products and pictures
Bead production is generally a cottage industry in countries such as Bali and India, where the tradition of bead-making passes on between the generations. Because each style of bead that we carry may be produced by a number of different families of artisans, attributes such as size, form, and oxidation or antiquing may vary slightly from bead to bead and quantities may be limited. We may also carry items that are no longer being reproduced or are old, and, for this reason, will appear on this site only until our inventories have been exhausted. To show the greatest level of detail possible, the images that you see have been enlarged significantly and you should thus refer to the written measurements for the approximate dimensions. Keep in mind that while we make every effort to convey the true color of the beads we offer, there may be a slight deviation from what you see and what you actually receive, as computer monitors often display colors differently, our images may not be perfectly "true," and the actual beads may vary in color and shade across production lots.

The main dimensions shown in our Web site are approximate length and height. In the case of a bead, length refers to the distance from hole to hole, while height would usually be the diameter of the bead. If one were to compare a bead to the tire of a car, the length would be the width of the tire and the height would be the distance from the ground to the top of the tire. The length of the bead would determine how many beads you would need to string a necklace, for example. As many of our beads are quite small, we prefer to show our measurements in millimeters. To put this into perspective, a penny has a diameter (across) of 19mm and a length (thickness) of 1.5mm. (Note: one inch = 25.4mm)

Standard to Metric Conversions
1" = 25.4mm (2.54cm)
1 ounce = 28.3 grams
1 3/4 ounce = 50 grams
1 pound = 454 grams
1.1 pound (17.6 oz) = 500 grams (1/2 kilo)
2.2 pounds (35.2 oz) = 1000 grams (1 kilo)

Quick Conversions
- Inches x 25.4 = millimeters
- Millimeters x 0.04 = inches
- Centimeters x 0.4 = inches

Beads Per Inch
To figure out how many beads you will need to make a piece of jewelry, first decide how long you want your piece to be, and what size beads you want to use. Then check the chart below for how many beads per inch you will need (approximately) for the size of beads that you will be using. Then take the number of beads per inch and multiply it by how long your piece will be. For example, if you wanted to make an 16" long necklace of 4mm beads, you would need approximately 112 beads.


Beads Per Inch


Bead stringing tips from Beadalon®
Stringing beads and pearls takes time and can be expensive. After all of your hard work, you want your designs to last for many years of wear and enjoyment. The following guidelines were developed to help you extend the longevity of your bracelets, necklaces, watchbands, and other designs. Be careful to select the proper diameter, strength, and flexibility of wire you need for your design based on the type of beads you are stringing, the weight of the beads, and the amount of spacing between them.

Abrasion is the number one enemy of wire and all bead stringing material. Sharp-edged beads, beads with burrs, heavy beads, and tightly strung designs can, over time, cut through bead stringing wire. By following these simple rules, you will reduce the effects of abrasion and prolong the life of your designs:

Rule 1 - Use the largest diameter wire you can. Larger diameter wires are more abrasion resistant than smaller ones and stand up to more wear. Use the largest diameter wire that will comfortably pass through the smallest bead hole in your design. If you can pass the wire through the smallest bead hole more than once, you definitely should use a larger diameter wire. This rule is especially true for designs that are subject to increased wear and abuse such as bracelets and watchbands. Be careful to use the largest diameter wire also when stringing glass, metal, semi-precious stone, and other abrasive beads. See Rule 3 for diameter vs. break strength.

Rule 2 - When stringing your designs, allow enough space in between beads so the design can move freely and unrestricted. You can significantly increase the longevity of your designs simply by increasing your spacing. When beads are able to move side-to-side slightly, the contact with the wire is spread over a greater area reducing the effects of abrasion.

Rule 3 - Choose a wire with a breaking strength consistent with the weight and type of beads being used. The heavier the beads, the greater the breaking strength of wire needed. If you are stringing heavy glass, metal, and semi-precious stone beads, be sure to use a wire with a strong enough break strength to support the total weight of the design, plus additional strength to handle occasional snags or pulls. The diameter of the wire is not always a good indicator of the strength; some examples:

.015" (0.38 mm)
Beadalon® 49 - 20 lbs. (9 kgs)
Beadalon® 19 - 17 lbs. (8 kgs)
Beadalon® 7 - 15 lbs. (7 kgs)

.024" (0.61 mm)
Beadalon® 49 - 40 lbs. (18 kgs)
Beadalon® 19 - 48 lbs. (21 kgs)
Beadalon® 7 - 20 lbs. (9 kgs)

Rule 4 - Select a grade of wire best suited for your designs; the greater the number of strands, the more flexible the wire. In other words, Beadalon® 49 is the most flexible, Beadalon® 19 more flexible, and Beadalon® 7 flexible. After you have considered rules 1 through 3, choose the grade of wire that will allow your design to look and feel the way you want.

Rule 5 - Use a Bead Reamer to gently smooth and round out the holes of each bead. Be sure to use the reamer on both sides of the bead hole until they are smooth and free of sharp edges and burrs. The beads should 'slide' on the wire. Beads that slide along the wire cause less abrasion.

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