One of the most popular beads to use in most jewelry projects is the rhinestone. There is a wide variety of quality levels available in these nifty little gems, and one of the most affordable are the silver rhinestone beads. One of the things about these beads that crafters love the most about them is the fact that they have as wide a variety of shapes as do other affordable bead styles. For those that might be new to the craft, and unfamiliar with these beads, we will cover the five basic shapes for you here.
Definitely one of the most popular choices when it comes to choosing silver rhinestone beads, the round shape has to be the one most widely used. Available in a variety of sizes, from the very tiny to larger than a quarter, and in two distinct styles: plain and faceted. Plain means that the surface of the stone is clear, without additions or facets. These will often have a flat back as well, with silver foil, perfect for mounting in a cabochon. Faceted means that the stone mimics the look of semi-precious and precious gemstones, with a quality that makes it hard to tell the difference.
These thin, elongated silver rhinestone beads are often used in traditional American Indian designs. Usually used in the best earthy tones, they are often paired with turquoise beads to simulate intricate designs from hundreds of years ago. Their long and fluted shape also makes them perfect to use in bead weaving patterns, as well as a sewn on accent to clothing and home furnishing projects.
Rounded and thick in the middle, but tapered at either end, the barrel shape of silver rhinestone beads is a popular choice for some of today's contemporary designs. One popular design is to create a medium to long length chain of these beads, separated from one another by either silver or gold spacer beads. They also work wonderfully with drop pendants of a non-gemlike nature.
This type of silver rhinestone beads can be one of the most beautiful of them all. A barrel or tube bead is carved with an intricate design, turning it from a plain but pretty bead, into a miniature work of art. The carvings can be left transparent, lines darkened, or hand painted with tiny dots of color. Whichever one you choose, be sure to make them the centerpiece of your piece, and they will work great in earrings, anklets and necklaces.
Standing out aesthetically over other rhinestone beads, the shaped beads are also carved, but into a shape, instead of having a design added to them. Made out of flat or slightly rounded beads, shapes made include flowers, hearts, animals and birds, or graceful geometric figures. Best used as pendants or the central beads on chokers, bracelets and earrings, they are comparable in beauty and quality to more expensive gemstones and crystals.