You will find beads vary dramatically between manufacturers. They are generally divided into Japanese Seed Beads, Japanese Cylinder Beads, Czech Seed Beads and Others. Bead selection makes a tremendous difference in the finished effect of your jewellery .Seed beads are small beads that are said to resemble plant seeds, hence the name. Another word for a seed bead is a Rocaille. Although an exact definition of a Rocaille is hard to find, it is generally taken to mean a basic round seed bead. There are several different types of seed beads but most of the better quality ones come from Japan and the Czech Republic. Toho and Miyuki Seed Beads are both precision manufactured Japanese seed beads, renowned for their consistency in colour and size. These high quality beads are ideal for bead weaving, bead loom work and bead stringing thus resulting in perfect and beautiful results every time.
AIKO - TOHO's premium quality, precision cut cylinders. Also known throughout the industry as the world's most perfect bead. People who have had the opportunity to feel woven examples of Aiko beads have compared them to soft, silky fabric that's supple and malleable to the touch.
Charlottes/True Cuts : Charlottes are seed beads with a single facet ground into them to give sparkle. They may also be called one-cuts or true cuts, Charlotte and True Cut Seed Beads are round seed beads with a single facet or flat side. This single facet results in irregular shimmers and sparkles, adding interest and depth to your designs.
Czech Seed Beads: Preciosa Rocaille seed beads are by far our most popular and versatile seed bead available. Preciosa Ornela rocaille (round) seed beads are of superior quality, machine cut, and are highly valued for their use in bead stringing, bead weaving, embroidery and much much more! Preciosa seed beads are proven to be of the utmost value, and demonstrate the highest level of shape consistency.
Japanese Cylinder Beads:These include Miyuki Delicas, Toho Treasures and Toho Aikos are small tubular beads with thin walls and large holes. These beads are the same size.They are excellent for off-loom bead work such as peyote stitch and give a lovely uniform finish to a finished project. Japanese tubular beads are known for their uniform size and cut consistency standards, which makes them excellent beads for bead weaving and looming.
Japanese Seed Beads "Rounds” :These include Miyuki, Matsumoto and Toho. They are precision cut and very uniform in size. They also have large holes which allow you to pass the thread through them several times and are ideal for off-loom bead weaving.
Japanese Cylinder Cuts-Delica cuts are smoother and more uniform than typical two-cuts. They're available in sizes 15/0 and 11/0. Czech (Preciosa) two-cuts are available in sizes 12/0, 11/0, 10/0, 9/0, and 8/0.
Czech Two-cut beads (also called "two-cuts"): are cylinder-shaped beads (short tubes) with five equal, long facets that run from hole to hole. They're manufactured by the Japanese company Miyuki and by Preciosa, Miyuki produces two types of two-cuts: two-cut seed beads and Delica cut beads. Miyuki two-cuts are typical two-cuts available in sizes 11/0 and 8/0.
Czech Three-cut beads (also called "tri-cuts"): are three cut beads with extra facets at their ends. This gives them a more rounded and irregular shape than two-cuts. Three-cuts are manufactured by Miyuki, Toho, and Preciosa. Miyuki three-cuts are available in size 10/0. Toho produces three-cuts in sizes 15/0, 12/0, and 9/0. Czech (Preciosa) three-cuts are available in sizes 12/0, 11/0, 10/0, 9/0, and 8/0.
Size 13/0 are also called charlottes.
Size 11/0 are also called true cut seed beads.
Two-cuts are also called hex beads and hexagon beads.
Hex Cut Beads: Are cut to have 6 sides so that they look like a hexagon when viewed from the top. Again this gives them a sparkle. Hex cut beads are also sometimes called two-cuts. Three-cuts are similar but they have additional facets on the ends giving them a more irregular appearance.
Bugle Beads: Are skinny tubes. They can be either straight or twisted.
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