A bead is a small, decorative
object that is pierced for threading or
Beads range in size from
under a millimeter to several centimeters
Glass, plastic, and
stone are the most common materials,
but beads are also made from bone, horn,
ivory, metal, shell, pearl, coral, gemstones,
polymer clay, metal clay, resin, synthetic
minerals, wood, ceramic, fiber, paper.
A pair of beads made from
Nassarius shells that are approximately
100,000 years old are thought to be the
first known examples of jewelry.
Beadwork is the art of
attaching beads to one another or to cloth
using a needle and thread. Most beadwork
takes the form of jewelry or other personal
adornment, but beads are also used in wall
hangings and sculpture.
Beadwork techniques are
divided into loom and off-loom weaving,
stringing, bead embroidery, bead crochet,
bead knitting, and surface
records show that people made and used
beads as long as 5000
years ago. Beads
have also been used for personal adornment,
religious purposes, as good luck talismans,
and as curative agents.