Hand shaped beads

All my beads are all hand shaped. This means I shape and polish them individually. I don’t use spherical grinding wheels or a bead mill.

Most beads these days are machine shaped. You put in a rough shaped piece of stone and the machine shapes a whole lot of them exactly the same. This is more time/cost effective but you have no variety.

Hand shaping is when you hold each bead on a pin vice and using a grinder shape each bead individually. Each one is a different so you can make a strand with a variety of widths and sizes that graduate in size from the clasp up to the middle bead.

The two approaches suit different people. Machine shaped is cheaper and uniform, hand shaped takes a lot longer/cost more but I think with the diversity you end up with something special.

I learnt bead making from Daniel Lopacki. Google him if you want to see some amazing hand shaped bead strands.

You can see some of the process below. It starts with cutting little bead blanks out of a piece of jade and then slowly shaping and refining each one.

When I have enough for a strand (around 60 – 80 beads) I measure each one and string them up by size so they taper from the largest at the front till the smallest at the back.

Then its onto making the silver clasp, loop and stringing the whole strand together.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


siberian jade beads
The beginning, bead blanks cut out of a earthy Siberian jade (Nephrite)
jade beads
Beads blanks from Canadian (Cassiar) and Northern American (Wyoming Honey Olive) Jade.
jade beads
Blanks, cylinders and rounds (Canadian Jade (Cassiar)
siberian jade beads
A Siberian jade strand in progress. All these beads were cut out of the same small block of jade.
jade beads
A strand showing bead rounds in different stages of being cleaned up and finished.
flower pounamu
Flower Pounamu beads
jade beads
A mixture of beads from Guatemala, Canada, USA and New Zealand
jade beads
A finished stranded of beads carved from Canadian (Cassiar) Jade. Notice the difference in size and shape. This is a characteristic of hand shaped beads.
jade beads
This strand is made from jade from all over the world with carved cicada and beetles.