The term crystal has several meaning, in conjunction with the word “beads”, and this creates some confusion. For this reason, it is necessary to ask further question to make sure you are getting the materials you want.
Crystal chandelier beads means lead formula glass beads. These are strung with brass wire to form ropes which are looped from central positions out to the arms of the chandelier. The term crystal also is used for the free hanging, blade-like pieces of glass attached to a chandelier or other type of lamps. These chandelier crystal beads have been made for centuries, and new ones are still made today, although you would think there would be as many as we need by now.
Crystal beads can also mean the fine glass beads used in jewelry, some of which are clear but most of which are some color, quite often in jewel tones. These beautiful crystal beads are usually referred to by the name of the manufacturer, like Swarovsky crystal, or by the region where they are made, like German or Austrian crystal beads. Other nationalities try to horn in on the reputation of the best maker’s, but a little experience will teach you to know the difference.
The other major use of the term crystal beads applies to beads made from quartz crystals. Quartz is the second most common mineral in the Earth’s crust, and the crystalline form is available world-wide. For centuries this mineral has been formed into jewelry, beads and bibelot, many of which now reside in museums. New crystal beads, made from quartz, are made still, so asking about the actual material is necessary to determine the difference between crystal and glass beads.
The term “crystal beads” can mean glass or quartz beads, or beads for jewelry or chandeliers. Be sure to ask questions to make sure you get what you are looking for.