Last Monday - I reviewed some basic bead shapes - shapes that are essentially round, oval or rectangular, and their various names.
Today - let's tackle the more, for what of a better term, "exotic" shapes. ;-)
In defiance of all logic, "pear" shape is rounded at one end, and pointed at the other - much like a raindrop or tear drop. This, came, I think, from the same shape in gems. A pear can be flat or 3-D. And sometimes you will see it referred to as a pear drop - to emphasis that is droplet shape.
When we want to talk about the holes that have been put into a bead to string them on - we talk about how they are drilled. Top-drilled means that the hole is near one end of the bead - the end that will be the top once it is strung. So it is fair to say that most "pear" shapes are top-drilled. That hole may run from one side of the bead to the other, or from the front to the back. Occasionally - they will be "vertically" drilled - with the hole running the length of the longest axis.
One might have expected a pear to be shaped, well, more like a pear, which is to say - more rounded on the top. But then, we used to carry these "Butlet Pears." Which I thought were fairly hideous. Butlet wasn't actually a typo. :-P
A Briolette - is also a pear shape - but tends to refer to crystal beads, and is always faceted. This too - harks to its roots as a gem-stone-cut name.
Drop beads - beads shaped like drops of water - are a large category, and are great for texture - although tricky to calculate in advance how many you need. When you string them side by side, they snuggle together and create a great look, usually quite organic.
They also look elegant on their own, and so can used alone for earrings, etc. Plenty of other styles of beads are designed to hang down, so the term "drop" also gets used to indicate a bead that is designed to hang - as opposed to being oriented horizontally.
These beads also look great in any fringe-y application, such as those little amulet bags, or a purse or jacket.
Daggers are their own category of "drop." These flat-bladed drops can be scary spiky if used all together in bunches (although they do not feel sharp - they may look uncomfortable, but they aren't!)
We also have a line of beads known as "Tiny Tims" - cute little drop shaped beads. When they arrived in a larger size, I felt we had no choice but to call them "Monster Tims." ;-)
Baroque refers to an irregular, lumpy shape.
Nuggets are also fairly hard to define, irregular shapes (faceted or smooth). Chips usually reserved for stone beads are smaller and flatter. As we got into more shapes of stone beads, Nuggets morphed in to pebbles, chunks, boulders, and the like to indicate differences in size and cragginess.
A Lantern is a faceted bead with the ends coloured and textured differently, usually metallic. I've also seen these referred to as "Cathedral" cut.
Window beads are a technique, as opposed to a shape. Window beads are made with a core colour, with a different outer layer encased over the entire bead, which is ground and polished away in some places. It refers to there being a "window" cut into the bead.
Hearts are, well - heart-shaped - although there are a lot of liberties taken with the double-curved-top, pointed-bottom shape. Some "hearts" are only in the ballpark of heart-iness - so to speak.
Swarovski, of course, names it's own shapes, some of them with non-obvious names, such as Polygon, Graphic, and Cosmic.
By the same token, we invent our own names to describe shapes - trying to be as descriptive and evocative as possible. Hence these mostly long gone: Squooshagons, Spheroids, Lumpies, Squashies, Squops, and other ill-defined shapes.
Oh, and wave nuggets - at least we still have those!