Many, many moons ago, when I did the bulk of the buying for beadfx – and you can thank your lucky stars that someone with better negotiating skills is doing that job now! – I was at one of our major wholesalers, and their agent was showing me a new line of beads. “What do you think of these?” she asked me. “Those’d sell,” I grunted, non-noncommittally. “Okay,” she replied, “I’ll bring them in in the usual colours?”
Well, I knew exactly what she meant by “usual colours” – but I thought maybe you’d like to know too.
With the Czech firepolish and pressed glass beads – we see a lot of the same colours in the different shapes. It makes a lot of sense from the manufacturing standpoint – they have glass that they use, they just change the shape of the bead that they are making, but use the same colours over and over. That’s why we get so excited about new colours and especially some of these earthy, swirly colours. They are new and different and spicy.
But you can’t make a cake from spice alone, you need the standards: milk, eggs, flour, sugar – (or whatever you put in cakes – don’t look to me for baking recipes! – I’m too busy beading. I probably would make a cake from spice alone!) – and in the same way, the “standard” colours are the staples of jewelry making – they become so familiar and comfy that you start to think in them – when you tell a friend that your new shoes are “peridot” – you know exactly what you mean – even if she is scratching her head!
So these are the colours that are “standard” in Czech-made Firepolish and Pressed Glass beads. They sort of divide into 1st string and 2nd string – the ones that you get if it’s just the most basic colours, and the “expanded” line, still basic, but a more extensive selection.
And the nice thing about this is, because they are consistent – you have a better feel for what goes with what and what you are ordering online! (Batch-lot differences notwithstanding, and, of course, also given the way the colours do show differently as the beads get larger. Generally, the bigger the bead, the thicker the glass, which translates into deeper and richer colours.)
These colours are mostly named for the gemstones that they closely resemble.
First and Foremost – we have Crystal (clear) and Jet (black).
Emerald (a green just slightly on the blue side of pure green. There is probably more variation in the “emerald” shade in most of the others.)
Peridot (a lighter and slightly more yellow green. I find that the emerald and the peridot do not work particularly well together.)
Sapphire (Sapphire is also not quite so consistently named – as there is a light sapphire as well – and sometimes, in the absence of a Sapphire, Light Sapphire is called Sapphire! This medium blue bead is also one where, as the bead gets larger, the colour appears darker, so the same colour in a 3 mm bead and an 8 mm bead look very different.)
Cobalt (a dark blue, but just to confuse things, the sapphire, as the bead gets darker, tends to look more like cobalt. Cobalt is the colour of Noxema jars – and named for what was, at one time, the principle colouring agent for dark blue glass. Most “cobalt” glass is now made without the addition of actual cobalt, or so I’ve been told.)
Amethyst (A distinctly reddish purple – redder than most actual amethyst (the stone))
Next week – the “2nd string” colours!