Topics: Heishi vs. Rondelles

Q.
What is the difference between heishi and rondelles, and how do you determine the hole size?
- Nina
A.
Heishi beads and rondelle beads can look very similar in appearance when pictured side by side. Rondelles may appear a little more finished, slightly rounded and smoother in cut. They can sometimes be faceted. Heishi beads are always disc-shaped.

Heishi is a term jewelry makers use to make a particular style of jewelry, as well as the beads used to create that style. Heishi beads are traditionally made from shell, turquoise or lapis lazuli but can be made from many other stones as well. Each bead begins as a tiny flat piece of shell or stone. A tiny stringing hole is drilled through the fragment. These jagged pieces are then strung together on a wire and sanded into evenness using a fine-grained sandstone, followed by sandpaper. The result is a strand of smooth beads.

Rondelle beads have larger hole sizes, depending on the size of the bead. The hole sizes are the same as those in round beads of the same material. Heishi beads have hole sizes similar to those in chip beads.

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