10 Staple Gemstone Bead Shapes

Throughout history, people have chosen to adorn themselves with jewelry. Gemstone beads were initially popular because they could be sewn onto garments or strung together with string.

As gemstone beads gained popularity in jewelry, certain shapes developed and obtained prominence. Today, these shapes are classics that are still used in jewelry design.

If you are a jeweler or want to invest in timeless jewelry designs, you may want to learn more about the ten staple bead shapes.

round shaped jade beads

1. Round Shaped Beads

The most classic gemstone bead shape is the round shape. This bead is known for its versatility and is popular with jewelers and designers. We associate this shape with a range of occasions, such as pearls for weddings and Mardi Gras necklaces. In fact, it is easy to imagine that round-shaped beads were likely inspired by the natural beauty of a round saltwater pearl.


2. Flat Round Beads

A slight departure from the round bead with its perfectly spherical shape, the flat round bead has a flattened, rounded disc shape. These beads have a larger scale visually; however, their shape makes them easy to wear, and they weigh less than a set of round beads. When flat round beads have straight sides with angular edges, they are called coin-shaped beads.

Strands of flat round beads are a good addition to your jewelry collection because they are the perfect complement to a variety of outfits and are suitable for any occasion.


3. Oval Shaped Beads

Another frequently used gemstone bead shape is the oval. The oval shape has a more mature and distinguished look and is an elongated round bead. This shape is also known as the bean, egg, or rice shape, looks stunning in a variety of jewelry pieces, and is easy to work into designs as a focal bead.


4. Rondelle Shaped Beads

A classic bead shape that also brings an element of visual interest is the rondelle bead shape. The rondelle bead shape can look like a flattened or squashed round bead. Due to their round shape and flattened or faceted ends, they are often used as a spacer between other gemstone beads, adding balance to a bracelet or necklace.


5. Pear Shaped Beads

Like the rondelle shaped bead, pear shaped beads are popular because of their unique shape that adds some visual interest. Pear shaped beads are versatile because they can be threaded in multiple directions for a variety of styles.


6. Tear Drop Beads

blue teardrop sapphire beadsTear drops 


have one wide rounded and one narrow end that resembles a drop of falling liquid. They can be flat, puffed, or 3-dimensional. They can also be tip drilled, center drilled, smooth, or faceted allowing their inclusion in multiple designs. They look especially glamorous in Elizabethan vintage pieces.


7. Marquise Shaped Beads

A classic shape that gives a flair of royal class, the Marquise-shaped bead is an elongated shape with pointed ends. These can come in a variety of sizes but, in a larger size, they appear quite dynamic, especially on a larger statement necklace.

This shape is a favorite among designers, with its long history and use among royalty. On runways today, you often see models sporting marquise-shaped beads in strands.


8. Rectangle Shaped Beads

When we imagine a rectangle, we typically picture a linear and angular shape. Rectangle-shaped beads resemble this, or they can have rounded edges. They can be flat or puffed with adjacent sides of unequal length. These shapes work well side by side in bracelets or in a statement necklace.

This shape is seen in current runway trends of combining both masculine and feminine elements in one design.


9. Cube or Square Beads

gemstone bracelets on holder


Another staple bead shape is the cube- or square-shaped beads. These beads look dynamic in a variety of sizes. They can be mixed in with other shapes or made into strands for necklaces. They are often given designs such as letters to form a word, especially for casual beach bracelets or pieces to mark a milestone. When threaded at an angle, they are called dice shaped.


10. Tube Shaped Beads

Some tube-shaped beads are more rounded. Others are more angled. This long, narrow, usually cylindrical shape is often crafted into strands for necklaces, but they are also good for embellishing clothing.

This shape is great for casual everyday wear.



Staple gemstone bead shapes are classics because of their versatility across a variety of jewelry designs. Each of these shapes adorns royalty, is used in prayer beads, or can be seen in a personal collection to reflect an individual’s unique style.