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Czech Pressed Glass Leaf Beads: Different Types and What to Make with Them
I'm not sure exactly how my leaf bead obsession started, but I became very interested in Czech glass leaf beads sometime in 2009. Three years later, this obsession is still going strong.
A quick background on this subject: Czech pressed glass is handmade in the Czech Republic. It can date up to 100 years old. It is a superior quality of glass, which makes it highly desirable all over the world. To make pressed glass beads, a long glass rod cane is inserted into a gas furnace. Then at the same time, the molten glass is pressed into a mold and a needle is inserted, forming a hole. After the beads cool, any excess glass is broken off and the surface is smoothed.
I think that leaf beads are something that anyone who enjoys making jewelry, particularly beadwoven jewelry, should work with at least a few times. I've provided an overview of the different types of leaf beads available as well as patterns and jewelry pieces with these beads. I could not find a lot of patterns that use these beads. I included everything that I found in this hub. During my search, I found a variety of other leafy beading patterns. I may write another hub about creating beaded leaves, which will include those patterns. If you're interested in them now, let me know.
If you are having trouble finding any specific types and/or colors of leaf beads or are having trouble finding a specific type of pattern, let me know. I'll be happy to help you in any way that I can. Happy beading!
Beaded Bracelet - The Leafy Series - Christmas
Different Bead Finishes
The most common finishes for Czech pressed glass leaves are opaque, transparent, and AB (aurora borealis). Some beads have metallic finishes or detail, such as gold outlining on the leaf veins. Not all finishes are available for all sizes and/or colors.
Sunflower Beaded Brooch Corsage
Medium sized leaves are somewhere in the range of 6-8 x 10-14mm. Most beads these size have the shape pictured on the right but there are some more rare versions with round or ridged edges.
Wide leaf beads are typically curved and measure 13x12mm. There are a number available that are transparent with slightly metallic or AB finishes, which creates a neat look. These larger beads will stand out in any jewelry piece.
Wavy leaves are also curved and measure 14x9mm. They are one of the most popular styles of Czech leaf beads. As I detailed above, this is one type where sometimes the leaf veins are outlined in gold or other metallics.
These adorable little leaves are 9mm across. They are perfect accent beads for a wide variety of pieces. Mix them with larger leaves to create a natural, leafy look with different sizes or let them stand out on their own in a more delicate piece.
Maple leaf beads are straight drilled and 10x13mm. The distinct maple leaf shape gives them a specific purpose that most Czech glass leaf beads, which are more general or even abstract leaf shapes, don't have.
Large, Flat Leaves
Large, flat Czech glass leaves measure 18.5x14mm. Unlike many other larger Czech leaf varieties, these leaves do not have any curvature or waviness. Paired with other larger beads, they create a nice contrasting texture in a jewelry piece.
Additional Straight Drilled Leaves
With the exception of the maple leaf beads, all of the leaf types that I've detailed thus far have been top drilled, which means that they have a hole that runs across or through the top of the bead. There are a few other varieties of straight drilled leaves, which have holes through the centers of the beads, running from top to bottom. Consider which drill design is more appropriate for the type of jewelry or project that you are making.