A sequin is a disk-shaped bead used for decorative purposes. In earlier centuries, they were made from shiny metals. Today, sequins are most often made from plastic. They are available in a wide variety of colors and geometrical shapes. Sequins are commonly used on clothing, jewelry, bags, shoes and many other accessories.
Sequins are sometimes also referred to as spangles, paillettes, or diamantes, but technically differ. In costuming, sequins have a center hole, while spangles have the hole located at the top. Paillettes are typically very large and flat. Sequins may be stitched flat to the fabric, so they do not move, and are less likely to fall off; or they may be stitched at only one point, so they dangle and move easily, catching more light. Some sequins are made with multiple facets, to increase their reflective ability.
Evidence exists that gold sequins were being used as decoration on clothing or paraphernalia in the Indus Valley as early as 2500BC, during the Kot Diji phase.
The name “sequin” originates from the Venetian colloquial noun zecchino, meaning a Venetian Ducat coin, rendered into French as sequin. The Ducat stopped being minted after the Napoleonic invasion of Italy, and the name sequin was falling out of use in its original sense. It was then that the name was taken up in France to designate what it means today. The 19th century sequins were made of shiny metal.
Large spangles, fastened only at the top, have been used on billboards and other signage, particularly prior to the development of lighted and neon signs.