Seed Bead Finishes

30 April 2021

Get ready to gain a better understanding of seed bead finishes from Opaque to Lustre, Silverlined to Matte, Metallic and AB. We are going to explain all the different coatings and glass types that make up our extensive range of seed beads Cranberry has to offer. Keep reading to learn more!

Opaque Seed Beads

Opaque seed beads are a plain solid colour of glass, usually made in basic primary and secondary colours. Think of the colours of the rainbow. No light can shine through opaque beads which are shiny on the surface of the glass unless they have a matte finish added as well.

Miyuki Duracoat Opaque Seed Beads

Miyuki has created a finish for their seed beads, “Duracoat”, a more durable extra coating for certain finishes, such as dyed opaques and galvanised metallic. Duracoat is a clear protective coating that is over the top of the finish. Duracoat beads are superior to regular beads with these finishes as they are more resistant to the colour rubbing off.


Transparent seed beads are made from plain colours of glass that you can see through, the degree of transparency depends on the colour. Transparent beads are usually inexpensive as they do not have any coatings applied over the base glass. Your thread colour can also change the colour of transparent beads.

Transparent Crystal Beads used with coloured thread, made by Joanne Ivy

Daisy, made by Joanne Ivy, using Transparent Crystal Matte beads

Transparent Crystal comes in both the shiny glass version as well as the Matte which is a non shiny finish. Matte seed beads are tumbled or treated with acid to create a frosted sea-glass exterior finish. The description will always contain “Matte”, and Miyuki seed beads will usually have an “F” for frosted at the end of the item number.

The beauty of this finish has been showcased in these stunning Lariat design made by Joanne Ivy (pictured above, top right). The colour of the thread used creates a subtle blend of pastel colours visible through the crystal beads. In the last photo above the central core bead in the “Daisy” pendant spiral rope is the Transparent Crystal Matte. It is the colour in the thread Joanne has used that reflects how the transparent beads look.

Next is the beautiful Opaque AB also known as Opaque Rainbow. AB stands for Aurora Borealis or sometimes referred to as rainbow finish. It is a bright shiny “all colours of the rainbow” effect added to the bead which can be more or less visible depending on the darkness of the bead. The product description will always contain AB.

Opaque Lustre is a bright shiny finish, beads with this finish beads stand out. An extra shiny glow over the surface of the seed bead. We have a wonderful rainbow of primary colours available at Cranberry.


opaque lustre

Now take a look at the Matte Opaque Beads. Matte seed beads are tumbled or treated with acid to create a frosted finish. Depending on the underlying colour these can be vibrant or very subtle.

matte opaque

In the photo above you can see different finishes compared in the one photo, left to right, Opaque Matte, Opaque Lustre and Plain Opaque. Using Matte and shiny beads together in your beadwork can create a beautiful contrast. The shiny beads will “pop” or stand out whereas the matte beads will ground the piece and sit in the background. This can help with shading and adding depth to your designs.

Next lets have a look at Matte Opaque AB. Here in the photo (above) it shows a great contrast between Matte Black (left) and Matte Black AB (right). This finish is a combination of the frosted/matte finish and the AB/Rainbow finish. If searching for these on the website, the description will contain “Matte AB”.

Ceylon is a lustre coating which gives a whitish shine to the base glass. Think of a beaded wedding gown or veil embellished with a pearly white lustre beads. Ceylon is usually found on white, off-white, pale yellow, pale blues, pale lilacs and pinks. The Ceylon finish is most often added over light pastel colours of base glass.

Where would we be without the stunning Gilt Lined seed beads? These are similar to the silverlined beads but they are not as bright, more of a subtle glow. We have a lovely selection of colours and sizes in this finish.

Here is the Marbled finish. These beads are marbled in different metallic colours and reflect the light beautifully. The shiny finish makes them pop out in your designs. Ranging from golden hues to more subtle finishes.

Transparent glass Colourlined beads are where the surface layer of the bead is transparent while the colour adhered to the inside shows through the transparent glass. As the colour is inside the bead, it adds a wonderful depth to your beadwork.

Above are the Colourlined beads that have coloured transparent glass which is then lined on the inside with a different coordinating colour. This results in a completely different range of colours, adding depth and interest to your beaded designs.

Colourlined Matte Seed Beads are the same finish as the coloured transparent glass, but the beads have been taken through one more process of etching the beads to make the surface matte, much like the look of sea glass. This means we have many coordinating colours, available in both matte and shiny.

Colourlined AB has all the beauty of the Colourlined beads with the added rainbow coating also known as Aurora Borealis abbreviated on our labels to AB.

Have you seen our lovely rainbow of Permanent Finish Beads from Toho? These stunning seed beads are available in lots of sizes and colours in both Matte and Shiny Metallic. The permanent finish is made by Toho in Japan and means the galvanised coating is much less likely to wear off like some galvanised finishes do. On the labels they are marked as PF (Permanent Finish) or PFF (Permanent Finish Frosted) also known as Matte.

Silverlined seed beads are when the hole in these beads are lined with Silver, making them bright and shiny. The colour of bead depends on the colour of transparent glass the bead is made from.

This photo shows two colours of Silverlined seed beads and their matching colours of Matte Silverlined seed beads. The photos help illustrate the difference between the two, the matte being like a frosted sea glass finish. These seed beads can be stunning used in conjunction with each other for shading and adding depth to your designs.

Silverlined AB have the same transparent coloured glass with a silver lining and an added AB coating over the top. AB stands for Aurora Borealis which is a stunning all colours of the rainbow coating.

Silverlined Matte AB seed beads are the frosted or etched version of the Silverlined AB beads. The Silverlined AB beads have been etched to give the sea glass look.

Miyuki seed beads with a Czech coating. In the above photo beads from top to bottom we have, Jet Silver, Jet Apollo, CZ Silver, Crystal Marea and Jet CA Silver. These stunning beads add a pop of metallic shine to your designs and can coordinate with other Czech beads we sell in the store.

Now the delicious Matte Metallic finish beads. The dull metal finish in many matte metallic colours may remind you of an oil slick, or a beetle carapace. Needless to say, these rock star colours are extremely popular sellers and very durable. They are often on the more expensive end of the pricing range, but are worth every penny

Now we are going to share with you a series of videos for our metalic gold, silver and champagne beads.

Watch the first video below to learn more about our different types of gold metallic seed beads.


The next video below takes you through the different silver metallic beads we stock at cranberry.

This last video below takes a look at the Champagne and Cinnamon seed bead colour comparison