Let's talk shapes. I'm in shape - after all - round is a shape. ;-)
Actually - I was thinking more about bead shapes. It's all very well for me to tell you to string 15 size 52 icosatetrahedrons - but what does that MEAN! (Ok - I would never do that - there's no such thing as size 52 in beads. Yet. )
So let's run down some basic shapes that beads come in. I'll use examples from our own website - to make it more relevant. (BTW - if you click on the image - it will take you to that bead!)
Round Beads. Popular in both glass and metal beads, a round bead, also known as a Druk in glass beads, is the most basic and obvious shape. (Druk rhymes with Truck.)
Rounds can be smooth or faceted. A facet (fah' - set) is a flat face cut or polished onto the face of a surface. A faceted round can have a different number of facets. The more facets (flat surface areas) it has - the closer it is to round.
Bicones. Bicones are like two cones, attached base to base.
Again, they can be smooth, or faceted.
Or ornately decorated, like this metal bicone.
When you have a bead that is round, but flat, that is - not spherical round but round like dinner plate - then that is a Flat Round, or a Coin, or a Disk.
These beads add less weigh for more visual impact - they look bigger with out dragging you down. Their low, flat profile also makes them excellent for bracelets, as they lay flat and don't snag on stuff as much.
A Lentil is also a flat round shape, but more domed - like a lens!
Some time you will see a shape described as a "Puff Something" - like a Puff Coin, or "Puffy," Puffy Heart, etc. "Puff" means that it is not flat on the sides but "puffed up" and curved from the centre to the sides. Like a pillow.
Ovals of course, are oval - seems pretty obvious, and they can be flat or puffy.
Rice is a dimensional oval - so not a flat oval - but oval all the way - so to speak. It is similar to a bicone - longer than it is wide, rounded in cross-section, and tapering towards the ends. The distinguishing factor is a bicone had more of a break or stop at the centre, and the oval is more curved.
You see it most used for pearls and stone beads. Pearls, may be not entirely smooth, of course, and Faceted Rice means an oval with facets cut into it.
The term "Oat" is also used for oval beads. Anyway you slice it - it refers to the shape being similar to that particular seed!
Olive and Barrel is also used to describe an oval bead - barrels tend to have squared-off ends.
Barrel is also a specific pattern of facets cut into the surface of a bead (or gemstone) - resulting in flat, parallel surface planes that resemble the slats of a barrel.
A Tube or Cylinder is also round in cross section, but does not taper down to the ends.
The very long, thin metal tubes are often referred to as "Noodles" - and they are often curved as well - giving you a Curved Tube Noodle - which sounds positively Dr. Seussian.
Very thin tubes of glass - and usually included in with the seed beads - are "Bugles."
Beads that are still either cylinders or bicones or ovals but that are wider than they are long are called "Rondelles." They can be faceted or smooth.
If they are more like a cylinder - they can be described as a wheel, and if they have curved sides, they may be referred to as donuts. We often use both terms together - to make them easier to find, i.e. Donut Rondelle or Wheel Rondelle.
However, to confuse things - a very wide bead with a very large centre hole that is meant to be displayed with the hole facing forward is also known as a Donut.
Now, pretty much anything that is similar to this, with a single, very wide hole, can be referred to as a donut - resulting in square donuts, heart donuts, etc.
A square bead, predictably, is a flat square, and likewise, a rectangle is longer than it is wide.
Beads that are flattish, whether round or rectangular - are also referred to as "tablets" for the large, flat, visible "table" of the bead.
A cube is a dimensional square - the same length on all sides.
A rhombus is the same as a square - but with the hole running from corner to corner. We also refer to these sometimes as "Dancing Squares" - for the way they look when they hang.
That covers a lot of the basics for now. More exotic shapes Next Week.