Available in an amazing array of colours, finishes, and styles, they are most often used in bead weaving and loom work. Larger sizes are smaller, with 11/0 being the most common.

Seed Beads  are one of the most commonly used beads for jewelry making and decorating garments.

Seed Beads  are primarily fabricated from glass in the Czech Republic and Japan.

Seed Beads range in size from 1.3 mm to 3.3 mm. Larger numbers mean smaller beads. The most common smaller sizes are 11/0 and 15/0, and the most common larger sizes are 6/0 and 8/0. This is pronounced "eight-aught", and means that about 8 beads strung together will measure 1". Larger Seed Beads are also called "Pony Beads".

When selecting a size, for example, the 15/0 size is smaller than the 8/0 size.

Glass is the most common material used to fabricate Seed Beads, but they are also made from metal, porcelain or tile. The beads are formed on a mandrel which corresponds to the size of the interior opening. A 10 kg rod of glass will yield about 8 kg of Seed Beads.

Custom colors and designs can be ordered from some companies.

Seed Beads have been found that are centuries old. English traders used these colorful beads as currency when trading with the American Indians, Africans and other colonies.
Seed Beads are available in many colors, from opaque to transparent. Some beads are lined with a different color, or metallic material for a unique variation. An exterior coating of a metallic film adds a lustre to Seed Beads called Aurora Borealis; "AB".

There are several types of Seed Beads.

Bugle Beads are Seed Beads that are longer with sharp cut ends rather than the more common rounded shape.

Delica Beads are a specific size bead made by Miyuki, a Japanese bead maker.

Charlotte Cut and Cylinder Beads are other types of Seed Beads.

Seed Beads are sold either by "hank" or by gram weight. A hank is usually 8 to 14 strands. Strands are usually 20" but may vary from 8" to 20". For example, a hank of size 2 bugles or size 11 Seed Beads generally weighs between 30 and 40 grams.

Many bead shops also sell smaller tubes of beads in a single color or a mixture to best suit your project.

Seed Beads are the primary beads for bead weaving techniques like brick stitch, peyote stitch, and loom work.

You can shop for your choice of Seed Beads at:  



PRECIOSA rocailles are the most used type of glass seed beads. They were created in Venice, Italy in the 15th century. These beads have been produced industrially in Bohemia since the 18th century.

These round-shaped seed beads are manufactured using unique technology for cutting glass tubes with round or square holes into various sized pieces which are then rounded and polished when hot and subsequently classed by size and shape.

The PRECIOSA seed beads are produced in sizes from 1.5 mm to 8 mm and the sizes of the Czech PRECIOSA seed beads are stated using the traditional so-called zero series.

The regular sizes range from the smallest 16/0 through to the largest 1/0, while rarities also include the four large sizes of 31/0, 32/0, 33/0 and 34/0, known colloquially as potatoes.

The PRECIOSA seed beads  are divided into so-called uncoated and coated rocailles according to the level of their subsequent finish.

Whereas uncoated Rocailles are left with the pure glass finish, a coated Rocaille is given a further surface finish, for example colouring, galvanising or other types of decoration.

Cut PRECIOSA seed beads are a special type of PRECIOSA seed bead on which 2-3 small facets are cut on a special cutting wheel.

This makes the PRECIOSA Rocaille sparkle and it acquires exceptional optical properties in combination with some other surface finishes.

The most popular size of these cut PRECIOSA seed beads is the 13/0 size, traditionally known as Charlotte beads.

Czech PRECIOSA seed beads are often compared with other well-known Japanese seed beads (for example, the Miyuki brand).

You will also come across them in many places throughout the world and in many contexts: in costume jewelery, hobby articles, Christmas decorations, clothing and shoe embroidery and appliqués and fashion and home accessories or in the most traditional of seed bead products, i.e. ethnic souvenirs made by the Indians of both Americas, African tribes or a number of Asian nations.

Preciosa Rocaille Traditional Czech Seed Beads


Preciosa Rocaille Traditional Czech Seed Beads


About 60 years ago, Seiichi Katsuoka first came across some glass seed beads and instantly became fascinated by their brilliance and beauty,so in 1949, he dedicated himself to learning the art of glass seed bead making.

Seiichi's passion for making beautiful, high quality glass seed beads was passed down to his son, Hiroshi.

Hiroshi added innovation to passion and began creating new types and styles of beads. This resulted in the founding of Japan's first successful mass-producing bead manufacturing company called MIYUKI.

Since then MIYUKI have been continuing Hiroshi's innovative drive, and they have produced many new and wonderful kinds of beads, like Delica Beads, Drop Beads, and Twisted Beads, to name a few.

MIYUKI glass beads are considered a "world standard" for their high quality, brilliance, and uniform shape. They are highly sought after by fashion designers, artists and bead fans alike. 


People often ask, 'what is the difference between the delicas and regular seed beads?' It is usually easy to explain that Delicas are a cylinder shape, with larger holes and perfectly cut, but sometimes the difference is easier to see in this video that explains! 


All these small beads come in many types of finishes.  The bead finishes are listed below along with names.

Alabaster - Beads that have a unique finish much like the old milk glass of the past, a dense translucent white or tinted finish. 

Aurora Borealis - Beads that are also known as Rainbow and Iris and Fancy.

The bead has a finish that appears to either have several shades of the same color highlighted or various highlights in more than one color on the bead surface. Example; a pink bead that twinkles with pink, gold and blue highlights, or there may be beads in more than one color, having 3 or more bead colors grouped together. Example; a black diamond bead may have black, blue, bronze and brown as the bead colors or there may not even be a black bead as one of the colors. These beads are also called rainbow. 
Black-Lined - The bead hole is lined with black and gives depth to the bead color.

Brass-Lined - The bead hole is lined with brass and radiates a brass tone throughout the bead.

Ceylon - beads are sometimes identified as pearlized because of the pearly appearance of the finish.  Ceylon beads can have a color line in the bead hole which will change or enhance the bead appearance.  This bead is a favorite for making beadwork that appears to be composed of pearls.

Color-Lined - The bead hole is lined with a color.

Color-Lined Transparent - Clear glass beads with color added inside the bead hole after the bead is made.

Colored transparent beads are also lined sometimes, for example, a green transparent bead with a brown color-lined in the bead hole or a lavender transparent bead with a rose-lined center.

If you put color-lined beads up to the light, you will see the transparent bead rim and the color within the bead hole.  

Most color-lined beads will keep their color unless they are laundered, such as beadwork on clothing or if you wear jewelry that includes color-lined beads out in the bright sunlight for several hours at a time.

Copper-Lined - The bead hole is lined with copper and radiates a copper tone throughout the bead.

Dark - Beads that are extremely dark in hue (color).

Deep - The bead has more depth and color saturation compared to a "dark" bead of the same color.

Silver-Lined (SL)  The bead hole is lined with silver color.

Transparent, crystal and opal beads are some of those with a silver-lined finish.  S/L beads have been made for at least 200 years.

In the past a silver foil lined the bead instead of a silver color lined in the crystal glass beads.

Ghost - beads are lined with copper, silver, brass, gold or other metal.  a rainbow or silver-lined bead with a matte finish.

These beads are matted, bringing a depth to the overall bead.

Ghost beads look mysterious, sometimes as if part of the bead is hidden, giving it a ghost-like appearance.

Foil beads are sometimes identified as ghost beads. The bead is usually copper, silver or brass-lined with or without a full or partial rainbow finish.

Hex - Size 11/0 and 8/0 Hex beads have 6 distinct sides.  They are glitzy because light hits the various 6 sides of each bead, creating a shiny reflection.

The top and bottom of each bead is flat, not rounded off. 

Hex beads are used for many of the same techniques as seed beads.

They will have a different texture appearance.

The 11/0 hex beads are more uniform than the 8/0 hex beads.

The Hex beads are also known as 2-cuts.

Light - The bead overall appearance is a light saturation in comparison to other beads in the same color family. The beads are extremely light in hue (color).
Luster - The bead finish is a soft reflected light, sometimes having a radiant sheen.

Gold Luster beads includes real gold in the luster finish, creating breath-taking finishes with a richness not seen in other beads.

Matte - Beads that have been submerged in an etch compound or tumbled, removing part or all of the top layer of the bead surface, leaving the bead smooth.

Matte beads have a unique feel to them; when you hold a bunch of these beads together or beadwork piece with these beads included, you will hear a soothing crinkly sound as you rub them together.

Beads can appear very matted or semi-matted, depending on how long the beads were left in the etching compound.

Most matte beads do not have a shiny appearance. However, if the bead is color-lined with brass, silver, or copper, the surface will be matted with a shiny surface showing through from the color-lining, making the bead look frosty in appearance.

Frosted beads are usually shiny color-lined beads with a matte finish.  Many of the shiny beads you use today are the same type beads that are matted using the etch dip.

The beads that are rainbow should retain their finish after the bead has had the etch treatment.

Matte Rainbow - These beads have a matte finish over the rainbow colored beads.

Medium - The bead's overall appearance is a medium saturation in comparison to other beads in the same color family.

Beads that are between light and dark in color saturation.
Metallic Rainbow - Beads that appear to be made of metallic colors. Purple, Blue, Brown and Green.

These beads have permanent colors. 

Each color includes more than the basic color, such as purple metallic rainbow and will have primarily purple with dashes of bronze, green and blue metallic beads.

Not all beads known as metallic rainbow are permanent.

Opaque - These beads have no transparency; you cannot see through the bead.

The finish is flat and there is minimal shine to the surface. 

Opaque beads can have a rainbow finish. 

Opaque beads are good contrast next to shiny, matte and beads with other finishes.

Opaque Rain- The beads have no transparency and the surface has a rainbow appearance.

If you had a black opaque bead and it had a rainbow finish, the rainbow could include blue and green rainbow highlights, or even a purple highlight.

Rain- These beads are also known as Aurora Borealis (AB), Iris and Fancy.

The beads have finishes that appear either as several shades of the same color highlighted or various highlights in more than one color on the bead surface.

Examples: brown with a rainbow of plum, burgundy, brown and blue; pink beads may have pink, gold and blue highlights, or it may have various shades of pink plus deeper shades that are more than one color bead, both dark and light.

Round Hole - These beads have a round hole in the center.

They are not as shiny as the square hole beads and usually have a more sedate surface and an elegance to the finish. 

The holes are a little smaller than the square hole beads.

These beads are sometimes mistaken for cut beads. 

Silver-lined, brass-lined and copper-lined beads that have round bead holes; making the bead surfaces more understated in shine than square hole beads.

Square Hole - These beads have a square hole in the center and traditionally the hole is larger than the round hole beads. 

These beads are sometimes mistaken for the cut beads. 

Silver-lined, brass-lined and copper-lined beads that have a square bead hole; making the bead surface very glitzy and shiny. 
Transparent - Light passes through it, but quite as clear as transparent.

The name describes this bead; you can see right through it.

Transparent beads can be light, dark, medium or deep in color saturation.
Memory Wire Bracelets are only one of the many items you can create with Seed Beads.
You can combine so many textures and colors into a beautiful piece of jewelry. Here are some of my own handmade bracelets I made with Seed Beads combined with different other elements and beads.

Semi-precious Unakite chip wire wrap bracelet
Semi-precious Unakite chips in shades of mottled green and reddish brown. Between the chips are glass seed beads in transparent gold and orange. The bracelet is memory wire and will wrap around the wrist nicely.

This bracelet is made with a variety of Miyuki Glass and Matt Seed Beads, in Brown, Turquoise, Yellow and Olive Green. Concluded with Matt Acrylic Rose Beads dangling on the ends of the Bracelet.  It is designed to wrap four times, giving the appearance of four and a half strands of beads around the wrist, like a cuff bracelet, or it can be worn looser and low on the wrist. The slimmer your wrist, the looser the fit will be.

No clasp = No problem. This bracelet will fit most wrists and bounce playfully on your arm.

Miyuki Glass and Matt Seed Beads, in Brown, Turquoise, Yellow and Olive Green
Harvest spice memory wire bracelet

This beaded wrap bracelet is made with a mixture of green and orange colored Glass Seed Beads spaced with Acrylic Bicone's and Green Silverfoil Rounds that have been strung on memory wire, and decorated with a Transparent Orange Daisy Charm on one end and a Silver Flower Charm on the other. This beaded wrap bracelet has three loops and will fit most size wrists. Memory Wire Bracelets have no clasp and are easy to slip on and off by stretching or uncoiling them. It'll bounce back to its original coiled shape when you take it off. This looks great alone or stacked with other bracelets in your collection.

Memory Wire Bracelets  are so simple - they have no clasps and just wrap around your wrist - whatever your size. Here I've used a 4 mm violet oval pearls with Miyuki Glass Seed Beads and 10 mm Faceted Acrylic Beads. Concluded with a matching violet Butterfly Charm. This bracelet will wrap around your wrist three times.

Violet Memory Wire Bracelet with Seed Beads
Memory Wire Bracelet with Miyuki Seed Beads