Monday, December 28, 2009

Bead Spotlight: Colorful Cat’s Eyes

Assorted Cat's Eye Beads

Glass accent beads come in an almost endless variety of shapes and colors. Whether you’re looking for pieces to make beaded beads, or to dress up a multi-strand necklace, finding just the right accent beads is always a treat.

When I was searching for the perfect glass rounds to create beaded starfish with, I was really drawn to the shimmer of fiber optic beads. Not only were they the perfect color, but the unique shine of the layered glass added a little extra something to an otherwise simple design. They’re so much more than just colored glass.

The band of light that runs through fiber optic beads - called chatoyance - is intended to mimic the gemstone Chrysoberyl. The synthetic glass versions are not only less expensive, but come in a variety of interesting colors and shapes.

Although the selection of fiber optic beads is small compared to other glass beads like crystals, the combinations of shapes and colors are endless. My personal favorite is the 6mm round, but you can also find cat’s eye cubes, donuts, and even fetishes in a handful of fun colors.

Bangle Bracelet with Fiber Optic Rounds

Some excellent examples of how beautiful fiber optic beads can be in jewelry designs include Melon Menagerie by DaydreamBeadlover, and Asilia Tribal African Necklace by AfriqueLaChic. These pieces use an abundance of cat’s eyes for maximum effect. But these little beauties are great for a splash of shine or color as well. They make great accents for earrings, like simplebetty’s Antique Silver Charms, and LaBellaJewelry’s Ocean Theme Trio.

If you’re looking to try out some fun techniques showcasing shiny cat’s eyes, a few great projects to try are:

Raja Floating Wire Necklace from Lytha Studios
Golden Glimmer Choker and Princess Bracelet from
Illusion Bracelet from Witty Living

Glass cat’s eye beads may not be all-seeing, but they can certainly turn heads. Have fun!

Copyright 2009 Inspirational Beading


  1. Thank you! It's a great example of how fiber optic beads make for stunning accents. Plain pink beads would have been nice, but the shimmer of the cat's eyes add that extra something.

    1. Would you happen to know where I could find a pattern similar to the yellow bracelet in order to showcase the cat's eye beads? That yellow bracelet is gorgeous!

    2. That piece is done in tubular herringbone with an increase between rows to allow for the cat eyes. You can find instructions for tubular herringbone and increased (bridged) herringbone under the Beading Tutorials link at the top of this page. I haven't yet covered the combination of these stitches specifically, but it will be coming up in the Herringbone Master Class series later this year!


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