10 Common Types of Beads Wholesale from China

"Approximately 100,000 years old, a pair of beads made from Nassarius sea snail shells are thought to be the earliest known examples of jewelry. From then on, people began to know how to make beads from various materials and string them together as decorative objects."

---Wikipedia

In ancient times, the materials used to make beads were directly derived from nature, such as shells, pearls, animal bones and stones. With the development of human beings, some people have been able to produce some simple beads from raw materials. At this time, the material of the beads became more abundant, including plant roots, seeds, nut cores, crystal and enamel. Later, with the development of science and technology, a variety of new synthetic materials, further expanded the materials scope of beads. Acrylic, glass, rhinestones, alloys, ceramics and more have been added to the material list.

Gradually, beads are becoming more and more popular with jewelry makers. And the art or craft of making things with beads is called Beadwork. Nowadays people who do Beadwork will source all kinds of beads from all over the world, and many of them choose to import beads from China and then distribute them in their own country. 

There are many types of beads, such as Acrylic Beads, Wood Beads, Pony Beads, Bugle Beads, Mala Beads, Miyuki Beads, Gemstone Beads, Letter Beads, Czech Beads. You may already have heard these beads. However, I bet you do not know all the material for the beads mentioned above.

So today I have collected 10 kinds of most common wholesale beads from China. They are:

Metal Gemstone Ceramic Crystal Rhinestone
Wood Acrylic Glass Rice Pearls

Let's dive in to find the secret of the bead materials.


  1. Metal

The raw material of metal beads is often gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals. Although there are also beads made of iron. But because iron is easy to rust and other characteristics are often not suitable for making ornamental jewelry.

Precious metal has a metallic luster, and in the historical development, it had been the symbol of power. But the material itself is more valuable, so the beads are expensive.

In this case, people began to use the modern technology to produce alloy which has become an effective alternative to reduce the cost of preciousmetal. Alloy beads are the most common type of metal beads currently imported by importers in China.

  1. Gemstone

In fact, the gemstone beads are what we call stone beads. Their raw materials are natural ores, which carved by human. The most popular are Agate, Jade, Quartz, Lava and Tiger-eye.

  1. Ceramic

Ceramic beads, as know as clay beads, are very famous in China. The Chinese people learned to use clay to make ceramic long ago. Like ordinary ceramic, ceramic beads are made at high temperatures as well. The only difference is that ceramic beads are basically round and smaller than ordinary ceramic. Among the ceramic beads, the most famous one is Cloisonne beads.

  1. Crystal

Crystal beads are made from natural crystal. Usually the color of the crystal beads will not be very much, since it is determined by the color of the raw material. But because the origin of the crystal is different, the crystal growth environment is different, the color of the crystal can be a little different, some colors are deeper, some colors are lighter.

  1. Rhinestone

Rhinestones are artificial diamonds. Rhinestones shine like diamonds in the sun. They look like a diamond in appearance but much cheaper in price.

Rhinestone beads are often made by attaching rhinestones to other material beads.  Rhinestone beads are common in populated countries because rhinestone inlays are done manually. This is why many people prefer to wholesale rhinestone beads from China.

  1. Wood

Wood is the most common raw material for beads. Wood beads were originally used primarily for religious and cultural ornaments. You can find wooden beads in all kinds of religious jewelry, some of which may be used as a small accessory for the whole decoration, and some of which may be made of beads for the entire buddhis’ decoration.

But today, wooden beads are used in more than just buddhis’ culture. More and more ordinary people also use simple wooden beads to make bracelets as jewelry.

  1. Acrylic

Acrylic is a versatile material and it can also be used to make beads. Acrylic beads can be of any shape due to their excellent plasticity. They are as light as plastic and are perfect for making necklaces and bracelets.

  1. Glass

Glass beads are generally heavier, so they are not suitable for personal use. They are used more for the decoration of houses. Glass bead curtain is kind of housing decoration which uses large number of glass beads.

  1. Rice

I bet you've all heard of the seed beads. Many of the sellers’ seed beads are made of acrylic. Because the beads are small in size so they are called seed beads. But what you may not know is that in China the real seed beads are made of rice.

Comparing to nut beads, the technique is similar. They are all carved with various patterns. The only difference is that the seed beads are smaller and the raw materials are rice.

  1. Pearls

The use of pearls as jewelry dates back to a long time ago. At that time, pearl jewelry mainly refers to the pearls directly obtained from nature. Such pearls in the shape are not very regular round, but a variety of oval. The amount of these pearls in nature is far from enough to meet the demand of human jewelry, so the price will be higher. The most famous pearl production is in Qingdao, China.

As a sourcing agent, I helped lots of people to wholesale beads from China, and gained many excellent bead manufacturer sources.

Since these kinds of manufacturers usually focus more on production, they do not promote themselves on the Internet. So, it is really hard for foreigners to find them in China.

If you are DIY jewelry makers who focus on beadwork, you can try to find some bead that you may need.

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