Most Ancient Egyptian beads were made of faience, a glass-composite glaze which was introduced as early as the Pre-Dynastic period.
According to Egyptologists, such beads were made on an axis, probably of thread, which would burn up during firing, leaving a hole. Disc, ring and tubular beads were made by coating the axis with the unfired body-paste, rolling the cylinder to an even diameter on a flat surface, and then scoring it with a knife into sections of the desired length. Other shapes, such as ball beads, were rolled between the hands and perforated while still wet with a stiff point such as a wire needle. The beads were then dried, coated with glaze (if the glaze had not already been mixed with the paste), and fired. The firing process often gave the beads a beautiful translucent quality. The majority of faience beads are blue or green in color, but black, red, yellow and white ones were also produced, especially in the New Egyptian Kingdom. In the art of Ancient Egypt, we see lovely women adorned with such jewels. To wear these beads today is to follow in the royal tradition of Nefertiti and Cleopatra.