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How to Make Bracelets with Beads - The Bead Traders

How to Make Bracelets with Beads

Naturally, you can always buy cute beaded jewelry readymade for yourself or a loved one. But there’s just something about a piece you planned and created with your very own hands.

Making your own beaded jewelry is a terrific way to add a touch of personal flair to your accessory collection or spend a Sunday afternoon doing something creative. As a hobby, it’s affordable, fun, and relaxing. And truly beautiful beaded jewelry is easier than you think to make, even for beginners.

Beaded bracelets are terrific items to start with for lots of reasons. They’re approachable, easy to wear, and versatile. Here’s a closer look at how to make a bracelet with beads that you’re sure to love, as well as how to get the absolute most out of your new hobby.

What Types of Bracelets Can You Make with Beads?

Don’t assume that if you’ve seen one beaded bracelet, you’ve seen them all. There are lots of different kinds to consider, each with its own unique vibe and style. The following are just a few popular options to consider.

Stretch bracelets

If you’re a beginner looking for an approachable way to get started with beaded bracelets, stretch bracelets are a great option. There’s no need to worry about clasps or wiring, as you simply stack the beads onto a stretch cord that expands to fit your wrist.

Friendship bracelets

Although there are many different ways to approach friendship bracelets, most combine simple knots with beautiful beads to create beautifully unique patterns. Friendship bracelets are perfect for gifting or trading with friends, family members, children, etc.

Wire-wrapped bracelets

If you’re looking to achieve a more elegant, refined look to your bracelets, wire-wrapped options are a great choice. Wire wrapping involves using thin jewelry wire to create patterns that include gemstones, crystals, beads, focal items, and more.

Beaded cuff bracelets

Cuff-style bracelets allow for lots of elaborate beadwork, creative patterns, and different gemstones. A sturdy base makes all this possible, making it a favorite approach for jewelry makers who love to let their uniquely creative spirits run wild.

Charm bracelets

One way to add a quirky, fun touch of personality to a beaded bracelet is to turn it into a charm bracelet. The charms dangle freely from the bracelet and come in many different styles, making them a wonderful way to customize your work.

What Materials Do You Need to Start Making Beaded Bracelets?

Before you get to work on your first bracelet, you’ll want to gather all the materials you’ll need so everything’s on hand. Here’s a simple list of basics to get you started:

  • Beads: Naturally, the beads you choose will give your bracelet its spirit and style, so choose carefully. You can go with anything you like from inexpensive acrylic or glass options to beautiful gemstones and crystals.
  • Wire, cord, or string: You’ll need one or all of these, depending on what type of bracelets you’re making. Stretchy cord is better for easy wearability, while wire and other options are better for intricate, elegant designs.
  • Fasteners: Unless you’re sticking to stretch bracelets, you’ll need a way to fasten your bracelets once they’re complete. Check out classic options like claw clasps or toggle alternatives, along with jump rings and (if you’re making wire bracelets) crimp beads.
  • Jewelry tools: Essential beading tools and equipment, including wire cutters and jewelry pliers.

How to Make a Bracelet with Beads

Once you’ve chosen your beads and preferred options for threading and securing your creations, it’s time to get down to business. Here’s a simple step-by-step rundown to refer to as you dive into your new hobby.

Get organized

Although you can adopt a more organic approach to jewelry making if you wish, most jewelry makers prefer to plan ahead. Invest in a bead board or a dedicated bead tray for organizing and keeping track of your beads. Plan your design, as well, so you can create with purpose and direction.

Take some measurements

Always measure your wrist (or the wrist of the person who’ll be wearing your creation) before creating to ensure a comfortable fit. Add an extra inch or so to ensure the bracelet will fit comfortably, and cut your wire or cord accordingly.

Prepare to start stringing

If you’re making a wire bracelet, the first thing you’ll want to do is attach your clasp using a crimp bead. Run the wire through the crimp bead, add the clasp you’ve chosen, thread the wire back through the bead, and use your pliers to secure your work by flattening the bead.

If you’re using string or stretch cord, you can start your bracelet by simply folding a piece of tape over one end to keep the beads from slipping off during the creation process.

String your beads

Now comes the fun part. Start adding your beads to your wire, string, or cord in any pattern or configuration you like. Don’t be afraid to get creative! You can experiment with patterns, alternating bead sizes, spacer beads, or freeform configurations. Make your bracelet your own.

Check your work

As you get closer to finishing the stringing process, check your bracelet every once in a while against your wrist to ensure it will sit correctly and that the beads will fill the cord without becoming overcrowded. If you need to, add or remove some beads until things are just right.

Consider any additions

If you want your bracelet to include any charms or other accessories in addition to just the beads, now is the time to add them. Simply slide them onto your cord or wire and position them as needed or desired between the beads to add some visual interest and personality to your bracelet.

Finish your bracelet

Finish your bracelet by securing your string or cord. If you’re using wire, you’ll need to attach the connection point for your clasp the same way you attached the clasp at the beginning of this process.

If you’re using stretch cord or string, simply tie a nice, secure square knot to complete the process. Be sure to neatly trim any excess string or wire that may be present.

Test your bracelet

Before wearing or gifting your bracelet, give it a quick test first to make sure it fits well and that the clasp works properly (if you did use a clasp). Clasps should be easy to open, close securely, and keep your beads in place.

You’ll also want to look your bracelet over and make sure it looks as lovely and polished as you imagined. Are the beads well-secured? Is the spacing nice and even? Beaded bracelets look best when they’re flawless, so definitely take the time to correct any imperfections you find.

At The Bead Traders, you’ll find a beautiful, well-rounded collection of quality beads, including gemstone and metal options, as well as focal beads. We’re always adding to our catalog, as well, so there’s always something new to discover and add to your repertoire. Browse our selection today, and prepare to be amazed!

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A Dive into the World of Pearls: Freshwater vs. Saltwater - The Bead Traders

A Dive into the World of Pearls: Freshwater vs. Saltwater

When it comes to making an ideal gemstone choice you’ll cherish for years to come, it’s hard to go wrong with pearls. A pearl is a classic choice with the ability to flatter absolutely anyone. Pearls are durable and timeless with the potential to last a lifetime. They’re also strongly associated with concepts like affluence, beauty, elegance, and classic good taste.

However, you shouldn’t assume that all pearls are the same. They come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, colors, and styles. They can also be either freshwater or saltwater. In fact, that’s the first decision you want to make if you’re in the market for pearls – freshwater pearls vs saltwater pearls. Here’s a closer look at what you need to know to make a decision you’ll be happy with.

Freshwater Pearls vs Saltwater Pearls: What Are the Key Differences?

Contrary to what many people believe, oysters aren’t the only mollusks capable of producing pearls. Alternatives like conch, clams, mussels, and abalone can produce them, as well. In fact, you’ll notice that the inside of a mollusk shell often has a similar sheen and luster to an actual pearl.

This is because a mollusk deals with irritants (like sand, parasites, or pearl farmers’ beads) that invade its shell by coating them with layer after layer of calcium carbonate – the same substance that lines the shell itself. Over time, this process results in a substance known as nacre – mother-of-pearl.

Although many different mollusks can and do produce pearls, the most common two options are saltwater oysters and freshwater mussels. Here’s a closer look at some other differences to know.

Geographic origin

Collectively speaking, pearls can originate from many different areas of the world, including but not limited to Australia, the Philippines, Fiji, Mexico, China, Japan, and Thailand. However, most freshwater pearls on the market today come from either China or Japan’s iconic Biwa Lake.

Saltwater pearls, on the other hand, typically come from carefully protected lagoons, bays, and similarly warm bodies of water located throughout Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Australia, and French Polynesia.


Although pearls are most commonly associated with the color white, they actually come in many different beautiful shades and hues. However, those colors can vary as far as freshwater pearls vs saltwater pearls.

Freshwater pearls tend to closely mirror the natural look and feel of the nacre lining the inside of a mollusk’s shell. Shell nacre can vary quite a bit, so the pearls do, as well. Light, traditional colors like white or cream are common, but so are alternatives like peach, lavender, or pink. In some cases, dye may be added to the pearl to punch up its natural color a bit.

Although saltwater pearls can be bleached to achieve the coveted white color so many people still prefer, they are often actually darker in color. Grey, blue, and similar tones are common, especially among Akoya pearls. However, saltwater pearls can also be black, green, or even deep purple, as with Tahitian pearls. Some options – like the signature pearls of the South Sea – can even be a rich silver or gold.


Saltwater pearls and freshwater pearls form via similar processes, but they also differ quite a bit due to certain variables.

For example, saltwater pearls usually form quite slowly around solid foundations like farmers’ beads or grains of sand. Meanwhile, freshwater options usually form around a biodegradable irritant that will eventually break down. In these cases, the nacre layers form quickly, making the pearl denser.

These formation differences result in differing lusters. Freshwater pearls have a soft, misty luster to them, while saltwater pearls are hyper-brilliant, sometimes even exhibiting a mirror-esque surface.


When pearls form around organic material, as with many freshwater pearls, it’s more common for the shape to be irregular and organic, as well. Alternatively, saltwater pearls usually form around round beads or similar objects, resulting in the smooth, symmetrical appearance many people associate with classic pearls.

Contrary to what some believe, the organic, unusual shape associated with many freshwater pearls is not proof that they’re naturally occurring (as opposed to cultured). Natural pearls do exist. However, they’re very rare, so most commercial pearls are the result of human intervention.

Overall value

As with other types of gemstones, scarcity has a lot to do with the value of each pearl type, and there are some pretty profound differences between freshwater and saltwater varieties.

Saltwater pearls usually originate from oysters that only produce a single pearl at a time. Many will also produce only one pearl over an entire lifetime. Naturally, these pearls are much harder to cultivate, significantly rarer, and more valuable, as a result. (Prices also reflect this.)

Meanwhile, the mussels and other mollusks responsible for freshwater pearls are usually capable of producing up to 120 pearls at one time. They’re also easier to farm, even in large quantities, so they tend to be more affordable.

There are fewer restrictions and regulations limiting the number of freshwater pearls a cultivator can produce, as well.

Freshwater Pearls vs Saltwater Pearls: Which Is a Better Choice for You?

Both saltwater and freshwater pearls are beautiful, elegant, and representative of a wonderful investment. Both make incredible gemstone choices that would flatter anyone. However, certain factors might definitely make one a better choice for a particular buyer than the other.

Here are some examples to consider when weighing your personal options:

  • Size: If you prefer bigger pearls, saltwater options might be more your speed. However, those who love the look and feel of smaller alternatives should take a closer look at freshwater.
  • Color: If you’re like most jewelry lovers, color matters when it comes to your choices. Both saltwater and freshwater options come in a variety of different tones. However, freshwater pearls tend to be lighter, while darker, more dramatic pearls are usually saltwater.
  • Shine: If you’re after a mirror-like gleam when it comes to your pearls, go for round, symmetrical saltwater pearls. However, if you love a softer, dewier glow, freshwater pearls are your choice.
  • Shape: Pearls with unusual, irregular shapes are trendier than ever right now, and you’re more likely to see those when shopping for freshwater pearls. However, if you prefer perfectly round, classic pearls, go for saltwater.
  • Budget: Price tag will naturally be a primary concern for anyone in the market for jewelry. Freshwater pearls are a much more wallet-friendly option in this regard, while saltwater pearls sometimes carry a prestige factor because of their cost.

How you plan on wearing your pearls may influence your decision, as well. Freshwater pearls make a solid option for dressing up work outfits or otherwise wearing for everyday purposes. But if you’re the type who prefers to break out the pearls only for special occasions, the flawless perfection of a saltwater pearl option may be a better choice.

Whichever option you choose as far as freshwater pearls vs saltwater pearls, one thing’s for sure. You’re making an excellent, tasteful choice you’re sure to treasure for the rest of your life. Explore your options today, and treat your style to the ultimate upgrade.

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Understanding the Pros and Cons of the 5 Main Types of Pearls - The Bead Traders

Understanding the Pros and Cons of the 5 Main Types of Pearls

Pearls are a fascination that has captured humans' minds, eyes, and hearts throughout many civilizations and generations. They are known for timeless elegance, beauty, divinity, and simplicity, which add to their grace. Royalty and other classes have been known to wear pearls in various ways, including beautiful necklaces and bracelets.

Discovering  Types of Pearls

With this in mind, choosing the right pearl can be a daunting experience. You'll want a pearl that genuinely speaks to you to create a stunning, beautiful, and meaningful design.

Join us as we explore the 5 main types of pearls and the benefits of each category.

The Significance of Pearls

Pearls are not just aesthetically pleasing; they hold profound symbolic significance for many cultures worldwide, historically and today. Pearls symbolize purity, rarity, divinity, grace, femininity, and other gentle vibrations and energy forms. Pearls also represent a longing for love, wisdom, and prosperity in numerous cultures. 

Pearls were initially found ashore by very early human civilizations, so they were a fundamental design that has been passed down throughout the centuries. As they have always done, pearls are trendy for heirloom pieces but are most known to adorn brides, primarily those who preserve their traditions and wish to complement a beautiful white dress.

The 5 Main Types of Pearls

Every pearl is beautiful in its own way and can be used to craft a wide range of jewelry. Below, we will explore the 5 most common types of pearls, where they can be found, and some advantages and drawbacks of selecting them.

Akoya Pearls

When you picture the classic white bead, you most likely associate pearls with the Akoya pearl. Akoya pearls are iconic and cultivated within some Asian countries, most notably Japan and China. Akoya pearls have a brilliant luster and a round shape, making them a prized possession and highly sought-after.

The pearls are smaller than other types, making them timelessly elegant and complementing the themes of grace, wisdom, and love, which can be used in contemporary designs and their more-traditional counterparts.


  • Known for their high luster and round shape.
  • Generally smaller in size, ranging from 2mm to 10mm.


  • Can be more expensive compared to freshwater pearls.
  • Limited color range, typically white or cream with subtle overtones.

Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater pearls are well-known for their affordability and availability and are one of the most abundant types of pearls on the market. They are found within freshwater mollusks that thrive in lakes and rivers. The pearl is formed by inserting a nucleus into a mussel or oyster (or waiting for it to happen naturally), then cultured into a pearl.

Due to their abundance and diverse nature, freshwater pearls come in different shapes, sizes, hues, and colors. Freshwater pearls are perhaps the most versatile for jewelry making, allowing you to pair them with all other types of gems and designs to make a unique collection.


  • Wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes available.
  • Generally more affordable compared to saltwater pearls.
  • Cultivated in freshwater environments, making them more sustainable at a larger scale.
  • Versatile and suitable for a wide range of jewelry designs.


  • Lower luster compared to saltwater pearls.
  • Less round and symmetrical shapes compared to some saltwater pearls.

Tahitian Pearls

Chances are, you may have already heard of Tahitian pearls, even if you have never dabbled in jewelry making before. These were coveted during the late 17th and 18th centuries among traders, aristocrats, and royalty; you may know them as "black pearls." 

Tahitian pearls are cultivated in French Polynesia and are most abundantly collected from the water around the islands of Tahiti. Although they are referred to as "black pearls," there is an assortment of shades that range from dark charcoal black to even deep purple, blues, and greens. Collectors are very fond of Tahitian pearls for their luster and large size.


  • Exotic and distinctive colors, ranging from charcoal gray to peacock green.
  • Large sizes are available, with some pearls exceeding 15mm in diameter.
  • High luster and natural iridescence.
  • Rare and beautiful


  • Higher price point compared to freshwater pearls.
  • Limited availability due to the specific cultivation region.
  • Some products may have surface imperfections or irregular shapes.
  • Large size makes them a valued collector's item, but they do not fit various jewelry designs.

South Sea Pearls

South Sea pearls are beautiful, powerful, and valuable. They are perhaps the largest pearls that are available on the market. Depending on the region, the pearl can have different types of luster, sometimes presenting a satin appearance. The colors of South Sea pearls range from a silver-gray shade to creamy white and even a golden or sunshine-gold yellow.

  • Exquisite luster and satiny appearance.
  • Large sizes are available, with some pearls exceeding 20mm in diameter.
  • Highly valued for their rarity and luxurious appeal.


  • Higher price point compared to other types of pearls.
  • Limited availability due to the specific cultivation regions.

White South Sea

As a subsection of South Sea Pearls, white South Sea pearls are primarily found in the waters around Australia and some parts of Indonesia. They have a classic beauty that matches the traditional "white" elegance that ranges from creamy white to clear and radiant lusters.

Golden South Sea

Many fine jewelers and collectors frequently purchase from the waters of The Philippines and Indonesia, which hold a large assortment of yellow and gold hues.

Sea of Cortez Pearls

Sea of Cortez Pearls are unique and primarily found off the coast of Mexico. Unlike other pearls, they have a wide range of colors not typically known for traditional pearl arrangements and collections. Some pearls found within the Sea of Cortez include shades of pink, light blue, purple, and green.

These types of pearls are rare, and collectors and jewelers opt to purchase them both for display and for ornate jewelry.

  • Stunning array of natural colors, including pink, purple, blue, and green.
  • Exceptional luster and unique beauty.
  • Prized for their rarity and individuality.


  • Extremely rare
  • Not very versatile

Why are Keshi Pearls Different?

Keshi pearls are one-of-a-kind and highly sought-after pearls that are formed accidentally during the culturing process. Unlike traditional pearls, which are cultivated by intentionally inserting a nucleus into an oyster or mussel, Keshi pearls are formed as a byproduct of the culturing process when the implanted nucleus is rejected or expelled by the mollusk.

Keshi pearls are also known as "poppy-seed" pearls, which is the meaning of the Japanese word Keshi. Keshi pearls result from saltwater or freshwater pearls, most of which come from saltwater sources.

At The Bead Traders, we hold the highest quality fresh-water Keshi pearls that are unique and well-priced. We deliver only the most exquisite pearls with unmatched attention to detail and ethically sourced products.

The Bead Traders: Exquisite Pearls for Exquisite Designs

Pearls are a timeless classic that still continues to stun and amaze us. They give the wearer the confidence they need to move forward to grace, passion, and love. You must consider the best cut, shape, quality, color, and texture when selecting your pearls

At The Bead Traders, we offer a wide selection of high-quality pearls worldwide, allowing you to create exquisite jewelry pieces that stand the test of time. We only offer the best pearls that are suitable for all ranges of collections so that you can be on-time, on-trend, and on-brand.  Explore our collection today and elevate your jewelry designs with the timeless beauty of pearls.

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