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Beads, beads, beads

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  • Beads, beads, beads

    Hi everyone,
    I'm new here, and I could really use some advice about beads. I'm getting ready to start a new dress (northern buckskin), just working out the colors and whatnot. I was looking at an online bead catalog, it's huge and they have stuff listed that I've never used before. Has anyone worked with "silk," or "copper lined," or "silver lined," or the 2- or 3-cut metallic beads (like, bronze colored) before?? I'd like to try a few of these, but I'm scared the colors will fade, or flake off, or something awful like that. I did a set of beadwork some years ago, with what turned out to be crummy beads, and now I'm always worrying about how things are going to hold up. So if anyone has experience with these kinds of beads, I'd really really like to hear about it.

    - oops, I just realized I posted in the wrong place. The "beadwork" forum would make a lot more sense, huh? Gaahh, first post, and I already messed up -
    Last edited by mutnik; 01-28-2008, 08:56 PM. Reason: wrong forum

  • #2
    I've had bad luck with metallic finish beads. The oils from my skin just attack them and they seldom live long after I've worked with them. Washing with a neutral soap before work helps. So does spraying the beads with a fixative before use. (Test with a small number of beads as some coatings will dissolve from the solvents in the fixative.)

    However for the metallic colors, I have found buying the silver and gold plated beads worth the expense. The silver will tarnish over time, but the silver-colored palladium plated beads do not. These beads are painfully expensive but less so than having the color rub off a year after you finish the dress.

    The coatings on metallic lined beads are a more protected. In my experience they do discolor after several years if they are exposed to mositure and/or certain environments. But this behavior seems really unpredictable. I know people who have used them with no problem.

    The Czech silk finish beads I have seem to be a sol-gel coating, which is fairly inert. I love the new ivory and cream colors in the sol gel. The coating, being a thin layer of chemically deposited glass, held up to acetone and handling. (Do not try to give them a matte finish with glass etching solution, as the coating will be eaten right off.)

    I test beads I don't trust this way: I buy a small quantity, string some, and wear them around my neck or wrist for a couple days. If the color comes off or crazes, I skip them. I also crack a few open and see if the color goes all the way through. Then I swap another couple with nail polish remover. If the color comes off, I don't use them. Then a rub another sample back and forth over canvas or cloth for a bit and look for scratches. Then I lay a few beads out in direct sunlight (not behind glass as this filters out the UV) for a week and compare the color to beads not exposed. (Of course some people have told me I'm a touch compulsive.... LOL.)


    • #3
      Those are a lot of great suggestions! I've tried asking the people who work at the stores, but they never seem to have any idea. It's a shame about the metallic and lined beads, but I'm happy to hear the silk ones hold up better. And I'll definitely try some of the experiments - nail polish remover, wearing, breaking, sunlight, etc. - before using varieties I'm unfamiliar with. If it's compulsive, I'd say it's a [I]good[I] kind of compulsive! I'd far rather invest a little effort like that up front, than risk it and have regrets a year later -


      • #4
        I love using silver lined beads-got a thing for sparklies-but I haven't sued them for the little bit of bead embroidery I have done because like OL said, they will tarnish. since I have well water and it's sulpur water, stuff tarnishes fast aroud my place. LOL! I have had earrings made witl SL beads tarnish and so far, just dipping them into silver cleaner , rinsing them with bottled water has fixed that problem. I did have to re-do the first pair of earrings I did because I hung them on an earring stand to dry and the thead stretched. It was one of those DUH moments.
        Take nothing for granted. Life can change irrevocably in a heartbeat.

        I will not feed the troll-well, I will try.


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