True Friends: Best Beads to Use When Making a Friendship Bracelet
Are you and your friends making friendship bracelets for one another? The you won’t want to miss out on this guide on the best beads to use!
It’s been a long year. Whether you’re working 16-hour shifts at an overcrowded hospital, your 9-5 has you trekking to and fro in a mask, or you’re stuck behind a computer all day, you’re struggling to make ends meet in the midst of a global economic crisis.
We could all use a break.
If you’re fortunate enough to know the joy of jewelry-making, you know how relaxing, peaceful, and creatively stimulating it can be. While TV and video games have their merits, it’s wonderful to create something you can hold, touch, keep, or give away.
Jewelry making is one of those hobbies, and friendship bracelets are among the most rewarding pieces of jewelry to create. With the variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials, you can make pieces that say precisely what you want about your friendship with another person — all at home!
Beads have a long history of meaning in jewelry, and there’s a message for every person in your life. Plus, adults can make bracelets, too! Come with us as we explore what you can say with the variety of materials in today’s friendship bracelets.
What’s in a Bead?
Though most of us know the basics of the symbolism of stones like diamonds and pearls, there are so many materials from all over the world that the message in each bead can be combined to compose a poem for the recipient.
In addition to the material, the color, size, and nature of each bead define the nature of the bracelet.
Color is among the easiest of the symbolic gestures to understand. There are even mood rings that define one’s emotions by the color it changes to when worn. Color is essential in the symbolism of jewelry.
We’ll evaluate them based on the order of the colors in the rainbow, with a few exceptions due to the nature of the craft.
Red is a color often associated with intense emotions. While red can convey emotions like love, passion, and sexuality, it can also symbolize anger, danger, and sacrifice. The beads you select to complement red beads when making a friendship bracelet should convey complementary emotions like peace, affection, and goodwill.
While pink is typically associated with femininity in the western world, selecting the shade of pink you use is as important as the complementary colors you choose. Light, pale pink is often associated with love and gentleness. Middle pink conveys sentimentality and romance, and hot pink represents youth, vigor, and excitement.
Pink can be a great color to offset the intensity of red and clarify its intent.
Orange is a color of vitality — and for good reason! Whether because it’s associated with its fruity namesake or because it’s a blend of passionate red and optimistic yellow, orange beads add excitement and life to any friendship bracelet.
Think happy thoughts! Yellow is the color of optimism, friendliness, joy, energy, and cheerfulness. But as we all know, it’s the color used for caution tape, street signs, and safety vests, so it’s easy to be perceived as a cautionary color.
It can be dangerous to combine red and yellow, as the implications of danger and caution can be visually alarming. This is when elements like finish, material, size, and shape come into play.
The word green derives from the roots for “grass” and “grow.” It is the color of vitality, growth, life, and sustainability. But be careful who you’re making it for! US money is green, and using darker green beads can convey wealth, abundance, and prestige, which is great if that’s what you want for your friend!
It may be the most diverse color on the list. Blue may be most often associated with the ocean — meaning nature — conveying peace, calm, and placidity. Blue can also mean royalty or the military and convey messages like trustworthiness and reliability.
However, blue can also convey feelings of sadness and depression. Because of this, choosing your shade of blue is important. Sky, turquoise, and teal are more natural (hence the names). Royal, navy, or slate convey loyalty and dependability, and deep shades like midnight, space, or steel can seem depressing.
Choose wisely when selecting blue beads for your friendship bracelet.
As royal as blue can be, purple is truly the color of nobility, royalty, and grace. Lighter shades are feminine and nostalgic, like lavender, while darker shades convey opulence and mystery, like violet. Purple is also sometimes associated with arousal, so it can be interesting to play with it, considering the intent of the bracelet.
It’s the color of purity, perfection, innocence, and simplicity. It can be hard to use white beads successfully in bracelets sometimes, depending on what other colors you’re using. But if you’re able to utilize white beads successfully, you can convey your reliability and trustworthiness as a friend.
While brown is undoubtedly a natural color, it doesn’t exactly convey life and vitality the way green does. Brown is sturdy, durable, and honest, which is why a lot of makeup and organic food brands use it. Using brown beads in your friendship bracelet conveys an everlasting relationship.
Luxury, power, exclusivity on one hand, and death, evil, and mystery on the other. You don’t trifle with black. It’s a beautifully high-contrast color, so use it in combination with colors like gold, white, yellow, and orange to convey the nuance and mystery in your friendships!
One of the most exciting things about selecting beads is the selection of materials! Stone has been used by civilizations for ages and has accumulated complex and deeply-embedded symbology. Materials can convey things like health, courage, commitment, wisdom, stability, and more!
While we can’t go into all of the stone beads available to you as a DIY craft connoisseur, there is a selection of materials whose historical and cultural significance is so great that they’ve become somewhat mythical in themselves.
Passion, creativity, and determination make garnet a dead ringer for the color it most often represents. Adding garnet to a friendship bracelet implies fierce loyalty and friendship and intensity of emotion toward that person. Garnet can be expensive as well, but it is easy to simulate with cheaper materials.
Tiger Eye (Yellow/Brown)
If you’re impressed by your friend’s intelligence, you may want to consider using Tiger Eye in your friendship bracelet! It represents insight, confidence, and balance, and its brown and yellow swirls combine optimism and honesty. Tiger Eye is a wonderful stone for conveying respect for someone’s intellect.
Green Jade (Green)
Because of the green jade’s association with serenity, wisdom, and power, Southeast Asian countries often used it in royal and spiritual capacities. Using green jade beads can sometimes be expensive, but the stone comes packed with the history of entire dynasties and can lend a regal, eternal quality to a friendship bracelet.
As the name implies, aquamarine is an ocean-like or sky-like material that symbolizes courage, balance, and peace. This is an excellent bead for someone who calms you down—your “rock.” It’s one of the most easily found affordable options, too!
There is a huge variety of colors, shades, qualities, and finishes in crystal beads, from Swarovski to rhinestone, so the stylistic options are endless! Crystal carries its own meaning (rather than being a diamond replacement) and conveys health, protection, and positivity. Crystal beads indicate affectionate or motherly feelings toward someone.
Is there anything more classic than a pearl? It means innocence, grace, and wealth — Audrey Hepburn in a precious stone. Use pearls like a compliment; “you’re beautiful, graceful, classic, and so is our friendship.”
Lava Stone (Black)
It’s been heralded as an expensive option, but some variations can lower prices. Lava stone is indicative of strength, passion, and creation. Use lava stone when you’re trying to convey that the other person brings out the “poet” in you, so to speak.
What Is the Best Way to Buy Beads?
How lucky we are that we have so many ways to purchase the things we need to create the crafts we love! While it’s a blessing to many, it can seem like a curse when you consider things like variations in price, shipping costs and methods, and responsible sourcing. It’s nice to know you’ve gotten the best deal on the best beads.
Online options are great for price comparisons. You can be almost sure you’re getting the best deal on the beads due to the low cost in comparison with brick-and-mortar stores. Drawbacks of purchasing online include long shipping waits and the lack of reliability in sourcing management.
Craft stores and DIY outlets are a wonderful place to buy beads as well. While you may not get the same prices you would online, there’s no wait, and there are often professionals that can help you hone in on the best options for your price range and how you’ll be using the beads.
You can also purchase specific beads from crafters and DIY professionals who make glass beads, lava beads, gold, silver, crystal, and more. Beware, though, you’ll pay a premium price for the premium nature of the beads!
You can even buy used craft supplies if people no longer need unused materials they’ve purchased.
The Best Beads for My Friendship Bracelets
What better way to spend your free time than by making something that someone will love, cherish, and appreciate for ages to come?
You know the significance of the color of beads and have a starting point on which to start selecting materials based both on those colors and the messages you’re going for. People have been known to keep friendship bracelets their whole lives, so make sure your friendship bracelets are a representation of the special friendship you and the recipient share!
If you’re itching to get creating right now, check out our selection of beads today.