Bead

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A bead is a small, decorative object that is usually pierced for threading or stringing. Beads range in size from under 1 millimetre (0.039 in) to over 1 centimetre (0.39 in) in diameter. A pair of beads made from Nassarius sea snail shells, approximately 100,000 years old, are thought to be the earliest known examples of jewellery. [1][2] Beadwork is the art or craft of making things with beads. Beads can be woven together with specialized thread, strung onto thread or soft, flexible wire, or adhered to a surface (e.g. fabric, clay).

Contents

Types of beads

Beads may be divided into several types of overlapping categories, based on different criteria such as component materials, manufacturing process, place or period of origin, surface patterning, or general shape. In some cases, such as millefiori and cloisonné beads, multiple categories may overlap in an inseparably interdependent fashion.

Components

Beads can be made of many types of materials. The earliest beads were made of convenient natural materials; when found, these could be readily drilled and shaped. As human technology became capable of obtaining or working with more difficult natural materials, those were added to the range of available substances. The same was true of new synthetic materials when created.

In modern manufacturing, the most common bead materials are wood, plastic, glass, metal, and stone.

Natural materials

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