Seed beads vary depending on the manufacturer. The most popular ones are Japanese and Czech but there are also Indian and Chinese seed bead manufacturers.
The quality and characteristics of seed beads can actually impact on your beading projects e.g. size and shape consistency. The size of the hole in the beads can also be important. If you are working on a project that requires several thread passes through the same bead, you will need a bead with a larger hole.
Japanese Seed Bead Brands
|Size 6 Miyuki seed beads|
Japanese seed beads are pretty high quality as the beads are very consistent in size. The three major Japanese seed bead brands are Miyuki, Toho and Matsuno.
Miyuki and Toho seed beads are more rounded and have large holes while Matsuno seed beads tend to look more cylindrical than the other brands. These beads are most commonly sold in tubes.
Czech seed beads, manufactured in the Czech Republic, have rounded edges and small holes. They are usually sold by the hank and tend to be irregular in size and occasionally, shape. Their size inconsistency makes them a poor choice for bead weaving.
Czech Seed Bead Brands
|Size 11 Delica beads|
In addition to the rounded seed beads, you can also find cylindrical seed beads known as Delica beads. These are produced by Miyuki. Delicas are typically more expensive than rounded seed beads and are sold in smaller quantities.
When stitched, they fit together beautifully to create an even surface. I love using Delica beads for Peyote Stitch. Delicas tend to be smaller than rounded seed beads of the same size so you should keep this in mind when completing patterns. If you substitute Delicas in a pattern designed for seed beads, the look of the finished project can be very different.
Other Cylindrical Seed Beads
Toho also produces cylinder beads known as Treasures, formerly called Antiques. Treasures are similar to Miyuki's Delica beads and can be substituted in a beading pattern. Like the Delicas, Treasures are high quality and consistently sized. They also have large holes which accommodate more thread passes.
Toho manufactures a second brand of cylinder beads specifically for bead weaving called Aiko beads. These beads are larger in size than the 11/0 Treasures or Delicas. They are 10.5/0, falling in between a size 11 and size 10 seed bead.
Aiko beads are top quality beads manufactured with state-of-the art machinery. These beads were actually named after the wife of the company's president to honour his dedication to making these the finest beads in the world.
I have never had the pleasure of working with Aiko beads but supposedly there is no culling needed as they are just that perfect.
My Favourite Kind of Seed Bead Brand
I personally work with Miyuki seed beads more often but I have tried Toho seed beads and I do like them for their quality.
All of the seed bead brands have a wide range of colours so you are spoiled for choice. See my post about Seed Bead Finishes here.
What is your favourite brand of seed beads? Let me know in the comments below.
Labels: beadweaving, seed bead comparison, seed bead differences, seed bead manufacturers, seed beads, The Bead Club Lounge