Sunday, November 29, 2009

Basics of Seed Bead Finishes, Sizes, Types & Manufacturers

I was reading a post today on the Beading Daily blog when I came across this Handy Guide to Jewelry Making Terms posted by Jean Campbell. I thought "Wouldn't it be nice to have something similar on seed bead weaving?" So I sat down and wrote a few pages on seed beads - from seed bead finishes to needles & threads to stitches - and included a list of links on the web. (Thank you for the inspiration Jean!) So, without further a-do, here is my first post of four: Basics of Seed Bead Finishes, Sizes, Types, and Manufacturers.

Basic Seed Bead Finishes
· Opaque: Solid colored glass
· Transparent: Clear glass in colors
· Matte: Etched glass
· Luster: High shine surface often with a silver or gold hue
· AB: Aurora Borealis - A rainbow effect on the surface of the glass
· Rainbow: Same as “AB”
· Iris: A mixture of glass beads, often opaque, metallic, or AB
· Metallic: A metal surface coating over an opaque or transparent bead
· Dyed: Glass that has been dyed a secondary color
· Galvanized: A colored surface coating with a metallic appearance
· Ceylon: A high shine surface coating
· Pearl: Opaque glass bead with a pearlized surface
· Lined: Color that has been applied to the interior surface
· Satin: A translucent glass with low luster
· Opal: A translucent surface lined with silver or gold
· Stripe: A bead made with a variety of glass colors

Seed Bead Sizing (listed largest to smallest currently used)*
Seed beads used for weaving are sized from the largest (~6/o) to the smallest (~22/o). The most frequently used sizes in bead weaving are 8/o, 10/o, 11/o, 13/o, 15/o. Below I've listed what's commonly available from the different manufacturers.
· Japanese Beads: 5/o, 6/o, 8/o, 11/o, 15/o
· Czech Beads: 6/o, 8/o, 10/o, 11/o, 13/o, 16/o
· French Beads: 10/o, 11/o, 14/o
· Venetian Beads: (sizes variable from specialty suppliers)
· Chinese Beads: 11/o (some larger, smaller)
· India Beads: 6/0, 11/o (some larger, smaller)

· Note: There are no sizing standards between bead manufacturers. Ex. A Czech 11/o is not the same size as a Japanese 11/o.

Seed Bead Types
· Rocailles: Beads with rounded edges and round or square holes.
· Cut: One or more flattened surfaces
· Charlotte: One cut in size 13/o
· True cut: One cut in sizes other than 13/o
· Hex cut: Six sided bead
· Drop: Shaped like a teardrop
· Farfalle: Double teardrop shape
· Triangle: Triangular in shape
· Bugle: Long, thin tube shape – twisted or straight
· Maco: Super thin, short bugles
· Cylinder: Cylindrical (can) in shape: Delicas, Treasures, Aikos
· Square: Shaped like a square

Seed Bead Manufacturers (past and present):
· Czech Beads: Jablonex - Ornela
· Japanese Beads: Miyuki, Toho, and Matsuno
· French Beads: Bovis Beads (past)
· Venetian Beads: The Society Veneziana Conterie
· Chinese Beads: Ming Tree
· India Beads: Onam International

Links to more information on the web:
· Beading Daily's Info Links
· Delica Finishes
· Fire Mountain Gem's Encyclobeadia
· 7beads Info
· Ask Anna
· Dancing Glass
· Bead & Button Info on Seed Beads
· Seed Bead Sizing
· Caravan Beads Images
· European Bead Sources


Pamy said...

Fantastic bunch of info. Here are links to each of the Japanese manufacturer's pages - directly to the size/shape info if I found a page with that info:

I just love databases of good information like you have started Susan. Again - thanks for the package of goodies last month second place was the real winner. *VBG* I really needed it and I have been showing it off to EVERYONE and pointing them to your blog! It's full of great bead info! We should get together soon.

Sweetpea said...

Thank you so much for this post - very, very informative! I've bookmarked it for linking to later when I'm wondering, "Now, what on earth is a Rocaille?"

The Lone Beader said...

Great post! :)

Memory said...

Hi I was looking for seed beads and I stumbled into your blog. I would luv to get some seed beads @ cheap price either the cost is high or the shipping charges are more for a begginer like me I cannot afford such expensive ones. Could you please suggest some place where I could buy some nice seed beads at a nominal rate?

SuzyQ said...

Hi Pamy!!! Thank you so much for the additional links.
I just figured out how to work comment moderation (sorry to post these so late!). I had to do the Comment Moderation because I had someone who kept posting spam on old posts. Anyhow, now I know how to do it.
I hope to see you Saturday!!!

SuzyQ said...

Hi Sweet Pea!
Rocaille, a French word, means pebbles or small stones, rubble. It's used by beaders to describe small glass seed beads which are used in both loom and off loom beadweaving.

From Miriam Webster:
Etymology: French, literally, stone debris, from Middle French roquailles, plural, rocky terrain, from roc rock, alteration of roche, from Vulgar Latin *rocca.

The word is pronounced "Row - Kai" with a hard C.

SuzyQ said...

Hi Memory,
That's a very good question. I would first look in your local area for a craft store. You can also check the PennySaver or similar local publications - people are always downsizing their stashes. Online I would suggest starting with because they have reasonably priced selection and good shipping prices. You might also look to the Yahoo Groups for other beader's suggestions.