A bead is a small, decorative object that is usually pierced for threading or stringing. Beads range in size from under 1 millimetre to over 1 centimetre in diameter. A pair of beads found in Morocco made from Nassarius sea snail shells are thought to be approximately 100,000 years old.
Beads can be made of many types of materials. The earliest beads were made of convenient natural materials. When found, these could be readily drilled and shaped.
In modern manufacturing, the most common bead materials are wood, plastic, glass, metal, and stone.