How to choose right Czech glass beads and their colors.

This text is prepared by the White Giraffe online store. Copying or reproducing of this information is allowed on the condition of saving the whole text, links and authorship.


If you regularly order glass beads in online stores, you have probably faced the situation when the color of beads didn't correspond their photos or didn't meet your expectations. 

Sometimes this difference will not do any harm to your jewelry, but it may happen that this discrepancy between real colors and your expectations won’t let you finish your piece. You have to look for the beads of the required color in other stores, spend more time and money on delivery ... In other words, all you get is just frustration and waste of money.

Can you safeguard yourself from this disappointment? Luckily, yes, you can! 

In our article we will tell you what you should know. But do not forget - we are talking about Czech glass beads. 

And we have a lot to tell you about their color shades. We will try to sum up our knowledge and offer basic information, which will be sufficient to feel confident in choosing beads.

Our knowledge resulted in this longread, so make yourself comfortable, pour yourself a cup of tea and prepare yourself for the new experience!

What are the difficulties you can come across when choosing beads in an online store:

✔ Photos do not reflect the colors of beads correctly or they are just absent 

✔ You are not sure if you can trust the description of the color for there is always personal opinion of the author 

✔ There are no clear parameters to judge what this or that color will look like  

Absolutely all Czech glass beads are made from the same raw material, that is glass of Preciosa manufactory. That means that beads of different producers, made from the same batch of glass, will be identical. But we need to clarify that glass is a "living" material and sometimes its shade can vary from batch to batch. 

Each color of Preciosa glass has its own catalogue five-digit code, which depicts its shade, clarity and texture. Almost all producers use these codes as item numbers for their beads.

 Understanding their meaning, you will always be able to buy Czech glass beads and avoid confusion in their colors.

As a rule, most bead shop mentions the code of glass in item numbers or descriptions of the beads. We can say that if you see this code that means that the beads are made in the Czech Republic. 

For example, in White Giraffe this code is a part of the article number and you can always trust it. If the manufactory mentions the color code in the article number, we will write the same. Look where it is written on our website:


Often you can come across such color definitions as "bright", "deep", "pastel", "soft", "light", "dark" and others. But keep in mind that a person who described these colors can understand their meaning differently. And in this case it is better to trust the color code :) 

So, what can you learn about the bead color from the code?

Let's start!


First we will tell you how to read and use glass codes and then we will give you examples how to apply your new knowledge while choosing beads. 

The color code looks like this: 30020

Each digit is responsible for its parameter, that is why you don't need to memorize thousands of codes but you have to know the rules according to which they are formed.




The first digit shows the color shade or its group: 

Each color group has its name equivalent to the names of precious and semi precious stones, which have the same colors. Reading them, you can understand to which group this bead relates more quickly.




The second digit corresponds to the clarity and texture:


Understanding the meaning of these two digits will significantly ease your choice even without photos.


As a rule, it depicts the shade within the basic color shade.


For example, here is the variety of the green color:


In this picture you can see that not all green colors match each other. That is why when choosing the beads pay attention not only at the first but also at the third digit because that is the very digit that shows the shade within the basic color

Blue shades:




The fourth digit shows the level of brightness.

The higher the digit, the darker the shade of a bead.


To indicate a very dark bead, the third and fourth digit is used to show the level of brightness. It continues the row ...ххх70, ххх80, ххх90, хх100... in this case its meaning will be 1. Beads with number xx2xx will belong to the next color group.


We would like to mention that the difference of brightness between neighbor shades is not significant. That is why if you haven't found the required shade, but the neighbor shade is available, you can always use it without spoiling your future jewelry. 

For example, you can substitute beads with number 10070 with codes 10060 (a little lighter) or 10080 (a darker shade).


It almost always has the meaning of 0. Rarely it shows the other digit to indicate glass with sophisticated colors.


Sophisticated colors

Sometimes you can find color codes with Latin letters, e.g. t0140, z0010 or the code itself can contain several parts divided by a slash or a dash sign: 00010-22501, 23980/84010. What does it mean?


The point is that some of the beads are made of multicolored glass composition or are covered the different coatings. These codes indicate such sophisticated colors. 

Combination of different glass 

Sometimes multicolored glass is produced by combination of several classical shades of glass. In this case Latin letters are added to the code: x0000. E.g., t0140, z0010. Sometimes such combinations are indicated by the code 9999x, where x is a variable digit.

As this glass is an original design of a bead manufactory, that is why there is no a definite formula to describe these codes.. However if you have found such a code, you can understand what type of glass was used and how the bead's coloring was made. 

Examples of these beads:


Beads with coatings  

Beads made of sole-toned glass, such as clear, are often covered with special durable paints, which are called lusters. 

The code of beads with coating consists of two (and sometimes three) parts: 00010-22501 or 70120/28701. The first part shows the basic color of glass, which you can tell from the code and the second part is the code of the coating. Coatings used by Czech glass beads manufactories have the same standards as the colors of glass and have five-digit numbers.

Matte beads have additional code 84010 or 84110.

Popular Picasso coating is indicated by the code 86800 or 86805.


Coatings starting with 22xxx add metallic luster of various shades to beads and coatings with 1xxxx show colorful lusters with natural stone texture.


Coatings are often applied onto clear or black beads. But, of course, beads of other colors can be covered as well. With the help of coatings beads with natural stone imitation as well as the colors which can not be created in other ways are produced.


Examples of beads with coating:


Let's have some practice.

How to use a glass code while choosing beads.

Choosing beads of one color group.

If you need beads of the same color group, for example of amethyst color but with different levels of brightness and clarity, follow our instructions:

1. Define the basic color tone and its shade - use the first and the third digits. They must be the same for all beads. 


2. Then pay attention at the clarity (the second digit) and brightness (the fourth digit). Their values can be different.



All chosen beads should start with 2 and have 0 as the third digit. That means that they are all of the same shade and color group. They have different clarity and brightness. They will ideally match each other.


Choosing beads with various shapes but of one color group.

That is the simplest thing to do! Choose the color you need and find the beads with the required sizes and shapes. 


We took Olivine color with the code 50230 as an example.


Our longread is coming to its end. We would like to thank all of you who reached the end of our article. We know that was not simple :) But now you possess very useful knowledge which will help you choose required beads and avoid mistakes.


And now it is time to pour another cup of tea, to visit White Giraffe store and start choosing beads using your new skills!