There are indeed beads that are made from seeds. But seed beads generally mean small glass beads used as spacers or as the main component of our jewelry. They range from "Oh-my-goodness-I'm-never-going-to-be-able to-bead-with-THOSE" sizes to about several mms. The smallest size we use is the 11/0 size - there are yet smaller ones but we won't go there. Do not despair - there is a tip on how to string 11/0 seed beads easily.

11/0 is pronounced as "eleven aught". Other seed bead options include the 8/0 which are slightly bigger but still dainty looking and the 6/0 (pony beads) which is just under 4 mm wide. E-beads are 5/0 in size. And crow beads are even larger yet at 9mm. These are all classified as seed beads. Notice the diminishing number as the beads get larger. That is because they are graded according to how many fit in a standard measure. The smaller the bead, the more will fit.

The best seed beads are those made in the Czech Republic and in Japan. I have both. The Czech beads have the most interesting finishes. Japanese beads are renowned for precise sizing which is very important for bead embroidery or bead-weaving using looms. These particular crafts depend on evenly sized beads. My mother is an expert bead embroiderer - I'll save that for another post.

Look closely and you will see that seed beads come in not only all sorts of colours but in all sorts of finishes. Here is a quick look at the main ones :

Transparent - lets light through just like tinted glass

Translucent - lets some light through, frosted effect

Opaque - solid colour

Lustre - a shine to the surface

Matte-has a dull surface

Metallic - has the look of metal

Silver or copper-lined - the inside of the bead is finished with a metallic look, giving it an inner sparkle

Colour-lined - only the inside of the bead is coloured

Iris or Aurora Borealis (AB) - an iridescent finish

You could have a matte transparent bead or a frosted AB bead. The combinations are endless! That is why beadaholics say that there is no such thing as too many beads. One cannot possibly have too many beads.

The Beading Gem's Journal
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