Five Fantastic Pearl Shapes For Your Beaded Jewelry Designs

May 13, 2013

It's true -- pearls never go out of style. Whether you like to do bead stringing or bead stitching, freshwater pearls are an elegant and classic addition to any beaded jewelry design. Pearls come in so many different shapes these days that it's easy to find just the right style to compliment your beading projects.

If you're just starting to add to your collection of freshwater pearl beads, I can recommend looking for these five popular shapes to get started. Most of them come in a wide array of colors to suit any of your beaded jewelry design ideas!

Potato Pearls

What they look like: Potato pearls are oval-shaped, with a hole drilled through the center vertically, as opposed to lengthwise. They usually have some striations as natural variations on them.

What they're good for: Potato pearls are fabulous for adding a little bit of earthy elegance to strung jewelry designs or fringe. They can be found in a huge array of colors and sizes, making them perfect for almost any beading project.

Button Pearls

What they look like: Button pearls have one flat side and one rounded side, with the hole drilled top-to-bottom.

What they're good for: Use these almost like end caps up against glass or ceramic beads in stringing projects (flat sides against either end of the focal bead), or stitch them flat-side down for use in your favorite bead embroidery projects.

Rice Pearls

What they look like: Like their name suggests, these pearls look like tiny grains of rice. They are not consistent in shape and size, although most of them are usually smaller than 4mm.

What they're good for: Mix them with precious metal beads like tiny gold seamless rounds and smaller gemstone beads like garnets and peridot for simple, classic beaded jewelry designs.

Stick Pearls

What they look like: These are long, rectangle-shaped pearls with lots of bumps and grooves. Usually flat, there are some that are round in shape. These pearls can be drilled horizontally through the center or close to one end, or they can be drilled vertically, from end to end.

What they're good for: These are the pearls to use for your best tribal-inspired beaded jewelry designs. In pairs, they also make great drops for earrings.

Keishi Pearls

What they look like: Usually flat, with the hole drilled through the center, these pearls resemble wavy discs, with some natural variations (bumps and lumps and striations).

What they're good for: When strung in small clusters, these pearls always look "fluffy" to me, and they give a wonderful, organic feel to more refined jewelry designs. They also work well as spacers between gemstones or your favorite Czech glass beads, too.

My new favorite way to use pearls in my jewelry stringing designs is to mix them up with the big, bold colors of stones like turquoise, carnelian, and even some of my favorite dark agates. And if you want to stay on-trend, try mixing your favorite freshwater pearls with some of the fabulous new neon crystal pearls and beads popping up all over!

Ready for more fashion-forward jewelry stringing designs? Make sure you don't miss out on a single issue of Jewelry Stringing magazine! You'll find dozens of gorgeous beaded jewelry design ideas using gemstones, pearls, and all of the latest and greatest glass beads coming from the Czech Republic. Subscribe to Jewelry Stringing for the best in today's beaded jewelry design ideas.

When it comes to freshwater pearls, do you have a favorite shape? Why? How do you use your freshwater pearls in your jewelry design projects? Leave a comment and share your thoughts and ideas with us here on the Beading Daily blog!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

hkurzman wrote
on May 13, 2013 5:07 AM

I tried to pin this to Pinterest, but it said it couldn't find any images. Is anyone else having a problem?

acre wrote
on May 13, 2013 11:20 AM

I'm new to beading and found that pearls have a smaller hole for stringing.  Combining them with turquoise was pretty, but the wire required for the heavier stones didn't fit through many of the pearls.

on May 13, 2013 2:06 PM

Acre, have you tried using a pearl reamer?  Sometimes a small hole just needs a little help.  Easy to do, and the reamers are inexpensive.

on May 18, 2013 11:55 PM

Acre, some retailers do sell pearls with larger holes, I've seen them on etsy. Also the Swarovski pearls come in regular and large hole. Check at Fire Mountain Gems.

on May 18, 2013 11:55 PM

Acre, some retailers do sell pearls with larger holes, I've seen them on etsy. Also the Swarovski pearls come in regular and large hole. Check at Fire Mountain Gems.