Crystal Beads

Written by Sarah Provost
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Did you ever wonder why crystal sparkles and reflect colors so much more than plain glass? It's because crystal adds lead oxide, which allows the glass to refract light. It also makes crystal heavier than plain glass.

The higher the lead content, the better the quality of the crystal is considered to be. In the United States, glass must have at least one percent of lead in it to be labeled crystal. In Europe, there must be at least four percent lead. And it's no wonder that Swarovski crystal is considered to be the finest, since theirs has at least 30 percent lead content.

Crystal Beads Have Many Uses

Most crystal beads, of course, end up in jewelry. A necklace or bracelet of crystal alone is regal and brilliant, and crystal earrings, especially the chandelier style, light up the wearer's face. Crystal beads also mix well with gemstones and other kinds of beads, though they are probably best with more formal beads. Bridal jewelry is often made of crystal, since it is both dazzling and pure.

Crystal beads are also widely used in other crafts. That bride with the crystal necklace might also have crystal beads sewn onto her gown, either individually or in patterns. Purses, sweaters and shoes can also be embellished with crystal. Even lamp shades can be adorned with a fringe of crystal for an art deco look. Since crystal beads come in a very wide palette of colors and in many interesting shapes, they lend themselves to all sorts of projects.

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