Your Cart is Empty

Acrylic Vs. Crystal Beads: Everything you need to know

June 21, 2023 3 min read

Acrylic Vs. Crystal Beads: Everything you need to know

In the world of jewellery making, bead choice is a fundamental decision that can significantly affect the overall quality, look, and price of your pieces. One common question that frequently arises is how to tell crystal from glass beads, especially when deciding between acrylic and crystal beads for a specific jewellery project. 

In the following guide, we’re going to go over the key differences between these two types of beads, and explain why these differences can be crucial for jewellers, craftspeople, and collectors alike. Let’s take a look!


What are acrylic beads?

Acrylic beads are a popular choice for many crafters and jewellery makers, and are made from a synthetic material known as acrylic or plastic. Their main appeal lies in their lightweight nature, allowing for the creation of sizeable yet comfortable jewellery pieces.

Acrylic beads tend to come in a wide array of colours, sizes, and shapes, making them highly versatile, and are also relatively durable given their plastic construction, and are typically more affordable than their glass or crystal counterparts. This affordability and flexibility make acrylic beads particularly well-suited for large-scale production or beginner hobbyists.


What are crystal beads?

Crystal beads, on the other hand, are high-quality glass beads, with notable examples beingSwarovski beads. The glass-cutting manufacturing process for these beads enhances their ability to refract light, giving them a distinctive sparkling effect akin to a diamond's brilliance. Renowned manufacturers like Swarovski and Preciosa are famous for producing premium crystal beads of exceptional quality and shine.

The allure of an authentic crystal bead is undeniable when it comes to jewellery pieces; their radiant light refraction can bring a luxurious touch reminiscent of that of a real diamond! That being said, due to their manufacturing process, crystal beads are generally more expensive than acrylic or standard glass beads, so can be pricier for those starting out in their new business.


Acrylic vs Crystal Beads: key differences

So, how to tell crystal from glass beads? There are several key differences that distinguish acrylic beads from crystal beads:


Firstly, the weight difference is perhaps the most noticeable factor: acrylic beads are much lighter than crystal beads due to their plastic construction. This characteristic can influence the comfort and wearability of jewellery pieces, especially larger designs.


Secondly, the brilliance and light-refracting capabilities of these bead types vary. Crystal beads, with their glass-cutting manufacturing process, have superior light refraction, resulting in an unmistakable sparkle akin to a real diamond. Acrylic beads, while they can be shiny, don't quite match the luminosity of crystal beads.


Thirdly, durability can be a significant factor. Although acrylic beads are resistant to chipping or shattering, they can be prone to scratching over time. Crystal beads are more resilient in this aspect but can chip if not handled with care.


Lastly, price is a notable differentiator. Due to the materials and process involved, crystal beads typically command higher prices than acrylic beads.That being said, jewellery pieces made with crystal beads will also sell for a higher price, so businesses can make up for this expense when pricing their products.


Acrylic Vs. Crystal Beads: which is best for me?

Choosing between acrylic and crystal beads depends largely on your specific needs and preferences. If you're after lightweight, cost-effective beads for large-scale projects or are just starting in jewellery making, acrylic beads might be the best choice due to their versatility and affordability. 

However, if you're looking for a luxurious, high-end finish with a distinctive sparkle, and aren't concerned about weight or cost, then crystal beads are the way to go. They offer superior light refraction and can significantly elevate the aesthetic - and price - of your pieces, while also allowing you to cultivate a luxury brand. Ultimately, the best choice depends on your project's requirements, your budget, and your personal preference.


The bottom line

Overall, both acrylic beads and crystal beads have their place in the jewellery market, and your decision as a business will come down to your own goals, brand image, and budget. If you are interested in purchasing Swarovski crystals or Preciosa beads, we at Bluestreak Crystals offer one of the largest ranges of beads on the market - and we’re also a Swarovski-authorised partner! Browse our website or reach out to us if you have a custom request, we’d love to hear from you!


Check out our most popular Swarovski Crystal Beads

Swarovski Crystal Beads