Another way a manufacturer can change the general shape of the bead is through faceting. Faceted beads are beads with many flattened edges done in such a way to make it look like a cut gemstone. Faceted beads can be any material, theoretically, but they tend to be made of either amber, stone (including gemstones), or glass.
The term ‘faceted’ basically means that the bead has many flattened edges, as if the corners have been cut off. But faceting can take any number of forms, depending on the bead.
Sometimes it might mean the bead had been square or rectangular, but the corners were cut off to make a faceted, but still fairly square bead.
Other times it can be a round, fairly circular bead that has been flattened around the perforation to make almost a faceted bicone.
Still others might be round beads with various parts flattened or cut in diamond-shaped patterns to look like cut gemstones.
Interestingly, I’ve recently seen some of these style beads being made from recycled glass, like broken bottles and things. They look exactly like the blue bead above. The faceting for those seems a bit more like the only option for a shape rather than an active choice. And since that’s the case today, I wonder if it were similar in the past. Admittedly, though, the one above seems more out of choice than necessity.
But, there are certainly many faceted beads that are clearly an active choice on the part of the manufacturer. For glass beads, these can be molded or they can be drawn or wound or folded and then pressed to created the facets. For stone beads (including gemstones), they are generally cut and polished or ground and polished. Amber beads are faceted in much the same way as stone.
I tend to associate faceted beads with later periods than I usually study or areas I don’t usually study. They tend to be medieval or later, and I have a tendency to associate them with continental Europe or with the Middle East. That doesn’t mean those associations are correct, but I certainly don’t generally see faceted beads much in other contexts.
The only exception would be the Romans or areas with potentially Roman connections. Those tend to be the first style I described, square or rectangular beads with the corners cut off.