Call Us | 01484 485100
Email Us |
Visit our Showroom
Trade Discounts


It’s all about beads


If you’re into jewellery making, you’ll understand that colour and texture play a huge role in a piece’s design. That’s why beads make a fantastic component for interesting and unique jewellery items.

These historically significant little gems have been around since the start of civilisation and are used in various ways by all cultures and religions. Now, they feature in artwork, costume design, embroidery and jewellery design – but they’re so versatile, their uses are endless.

Here, we consider the many benefits of beads in jewellery making and why this small item can be a fantastic expression of individuality.

Getting materialistic

Beads are available in many materials, which provides a great opportunity for a totally unique finish.


Burhouse supplies gemstone, pearl, glass, shell and wood. We specialise in gemstone and natural materials but there are a few exceptions that have crept into our collections.

A consistent finish

Most round beads are calibrated. They are manufactured to a precise size, which ensures a uniform shape and size. Our round beads range between 4mm and 20mm in size. Chips and nuggets will state an approximate size. Pearls are an approximate size too, as they are naturally formed so can never be measured precisely - a strand will be made up of similar-sized beads.

Stringing it together

gemstone beads

The standard hole drill size for gemstones is 0.7-1.0mm, while pearls are smaller at 05.-0.7mm. Be sure you give this consideration in the early stages of your jewellery design. Don’t risk a great idea potentially failing when you realise the beads won’t fit on your stringing material (although this can sometimes be rescued by reaming out the hole to increase the hole size).

Down to the drill

drilling direction

This above image shows button pearls. Believe it or not, they are all the same shape, but because of the way they’re drilled, they appear different. From the left, the first two strands are centre drilled, the next is top side drilled, then another centre drilled and the fifth strand is long drilled. The far-right strand is top side drilled. The different ways in which they are drilled create a very different look and work well for different styles of jewellery.

Need more inspiration for how to use beads to stunning effect? Visit the Burhouse collection now.