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Make magic with seed beads. Available in essentially any color and shape, seed beads are, as their name implies, small glass or metal beads under 6.6 mm in size. They are most commonly used for traditional beadwork, but can be used for jewelry, fabric embellishment, art, and more. They often fall into two categories: Czech seed beads, which are torus-shaped, and Japanese seed beads, which are wider, coming closer to a cylinder. The latter tend to be more desirable than their Czech counterparts as they are typically more consistent. Of course, you’ll encounter plenty of other geometries, from bugles to hexagons to triangles. When choosing a bead, keep in mind the size you need. These are often shown as fractions, like 6/0, 8/0, and 11/0. The larger the number, the smaller the bead. Ready to shop? Browse our favorite products below.
Jablonex Czech Seed Beads
When it comes to variety, Jablonex leads the competition. This massive, state-run Czech company once had a monopoly on the glass industry and for good reason—the brand sells some of the best glass beads you can get. This is the place to go for truly unique beads: Take, for instance, this “Witches Brew” mix, which features one ounce of dark-colored beads in different finishes. Jablonex specializes in such sets of complementary colors, although you can find monotone sets too. No matter your choice, the beads are uniform in size and shape.
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John Bead Czech Glass Seed Beads
Looking for simple, opaque beads in one color? Browse the offerings from John Bead, a Czech company founded in 1954. Each bead is made of high-quality glass and is rated size 10/0. There are 23 colors, the majority of which are opaque, from a beautiful turquoise to a lemon yellow. Packaged in tubes of 22 grams (about 3/4 of an ounce) to keep you organized, these beads are an affordable and versatile option.
ANOTHER GOOD OPTION
Mandala Crafts Glass Seed Beads
Build up your bead collection in an instant with this starter set, which includes 15 colors. The beads in this budget-friendly kit are less consistent in size and shape than pricier options, but they are fine for casual crafts or for those who want to practice beading. The beads come in a plastic box with compartments to keep you organized.
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Miyuki Delica Seed Beads
Japanese bead manufacturing company Miyuki creates highly sought after glass beads. They come in all sorts of shapes, from triangles to droplets to hexagons, and in seductive colors such as Bisque White, Amethyst Gold Luster, Picasso Canary, and this vibrant matte red. The finish is always brilliant, and sizing is never inconsistent. You’re paying a premium for these beads—this price is for 5 grams of beads—but the quality is undeniable.
Galvanized beads are an easy way to add extra sparkle to your projects. Toho beads, which are Japanese-made—and, like Miyuki’s beads, are extremely consistent in size and shape—feature an exquisite metallic finish that isn’t gaudy. Find them in different colors, like this sophisticated gold. The finish is permanent so you don’t have to worry about abrasion over time, nor will your beads tarnish. Like the pick above, these are size 11/0 beads, and they are sold in tubes that hold about seven or eight grams (or 1/4 of an ounce) of product.