Stitch Pro: Twins vs. Super Duos

Mar 21, 2013

I had a bead shop owner friend call me a few weeks ago, asking about the differences between Twins and Super Duos, two brand names for the two-hole oval seed beads that are all the craze among beaders right now. She said she'd called around to vendors, artists, and fellow shop owners, but she didn't feel like she was getting clear answers. My friend isn't an off-loom beadworker, so she didn't have first-hand experience with the beads, but as a shop owner she wanted to support her customers with knowledge and the right product. Makes sense!

I gave her the information and she ordered her stock accordingly, but her phone call got me thinking...maybe my shop-owner buddy isn't the only one who is confused about the differences in these two beads?

So I thought I should share what I know. And just to be sure, I called my buddy Steven Weiss at the BeadSmith (one of the largest wholesale companies in the U.S. that sells both types of these beads to shops) to make sure my information is correct. I also had a nice email conversation on the topic with Sabine Lippert, a fantastic designer and teacher, and one of the first to work with these beads. (Thanks, Sabine, for sharing these clear photos with us!)

TWINS


Country of origin: Czech Republic (created by Preciosa)

Size: 5mm long by 3mm wide by 3mm by 2.5mm deep at center

Shape: Flat oval with slight taper at ends

Material: crystal base; many colors are created with coatings

Consistency: Inconsistent in size; must be culled

Weight: About 18 beads per gram

Price: A quick online scan of prices today shows that they run about $2 - $11 for tubes of 300; price difference depends on color

Notes

-Some designers like the inconsistency of these beads to make more organic-looking designs. The size variance is also helpful for forming increases/decreases in sculptural work.

-These beads tend to be slightly thinner in the middle, so don't work as a substitute for Super Duos. 

-Because many of these beads are coated, they often have holes that are plugged shut with coating. You may also want to double-check the stability of the coating for wear.

-Sabine explained that these are rocaille beads (made like Czech seed beads), and that's why they aren't very uniform. She also noted that the company that makes Twins (Preciosa) has also marketed a pressed-glass version.

 

SUPER DUOS

Country of origin: Czech Republic

Size: 5mm long by 3.5mm wide by 3mm deep at center

Shape: Flat oval with pronounced taper, almost a dimple at ends

Material: glass base; many colors are created within the glass as opposed to coated

Consistency: Very consistent in size; very little, if any, culling is needed

Weight: About 15 beads per gram

Price: A quick online scan of prices today shows that they run about $3 - $12 for tubes of 300; price difference depends on color

Notes

-These beads are very consistent, so work well for methodical, technical designs. There is really no culling necessary.

-These beads tend to be slightly fatter in their middles, so don't work as a substitute for Twins.

-The color of these beads is stable because most of the beads are colored within the glass, not as a coating.

-Sabine explained that these beads are made in a press; thus the uniformity.

 

What do you know about Twins vs. Super Duos? Please share your experiences here so we can all learn together.

Happy beading-

Jean Campbell

Senior editor, Beadwork magazine


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Comments

on Mar 21, 2013 11:43 AM

The SuperDuos are made in a variety of different factories, so there actually can be some slight variation I think from factory to factory.  Also, the dimple in the center does not appear to be as pronounced on beads that have been coated, as the coating seems to slightly hide that dimple to some degree.

Joycetherese wrote
on Mar 21, 2013 2:28 PM

Excellent info...Thanks, Jean!

JudithH@38 wrote
on Mar 21, 2013 2:30 PM

I find the Super Duos fit with each other a lot better than the twin beads. For instance if you make an item with the beads sitting together like bricks there are gaps formed with  the twin beads, the Super Duos interlock better.

Susan@477 wrote
on Mar 21, 2013 2:42 PM

Thanks for this article Jean. I love to bezel rivolis with twins (see my work on page 138 & 19 of the April issue of Beadwork magazine). I do find the thinner twin beads work a bit better than the fatter Duos for this purpose.....However, those Duos are lovely especially for flat beadwork!!!

Cath@17 wrote
on Mar 23, 2013 4:49 AM

I received a lot of twin beads lately and was a bit worried about inconsistency. before opening the package.

But I was happily surprised that they have become much more consistent than the first twin beads on the market.

Maybe they were a little bit too much in a hurry to present their new 'baby', but the first purple Twins I bought and the beads I received this time truly seem to be from another world.

Amybeader wrote
on Mar 23, 2013 9:31 AM

Appreciate the clarification about these.

none@14 wrote
on Mar 23, 2013 1:10 PM

Thanks, very helpful, but now there is another Super Duo, so says my local bead shop which they are labeling as Super Duo 2 to alert customers.  I don't know what if any difference there is.  Would appreciate additional information.

on Mar 25, 2013 8:33 AM

There are some questions here about the differences between Twins 1 and Twins 2 and Super Duos 1 and Super Duos 2...here's what I know: The first Twins were made in the way regular Czech glass seed beads are made (glass is heated, stretched, holes are blown through--something like that), the second version is pressed/made with molds. As far as the two types of Super Duos (I think they are both pressed?), the second version is just a knock-off by a competing company in the Czech Republic that had the chutzpah to call them by the exact same name! From what I hear, they just aren't as good, but I haven't seen them with my own eyes.

on Mar 28, 2013 10:14 AM

I loved Jean Campbell's post last week on the difference between Superduo and Twin beads so much

dhinesrn wrote
on Mar 31, 2013 8:14 AM

I seem to have a few different types of twins and super duos. Some of the super duos don't have the tapered ends, they are just fat all the way around. I think this is the knock off from the original super duo beads (from what I have read). I find the newer tapered super duos to fit together better in many beading projects. I would like more information on these beads as they look and feel great in my patterns. Thank you to all who gave their information here.

on May 28, 2013 7:37 PM

Well, I haven't ordered any of them yet, and after reading this I'm really confused!  How do you know which ones to get?  I like the interlocking effect better, but where can one purchase them wholesale to get the 'real' ones?  Deborah

cosmicp52 wrote
on Jun 20, 2013 8:58 PM

@BlueSkiesStudio - I do not have any Super Duos, only Twins because they were the only ones available last year. The ones I have definitely need to be culled but not by 50%, which seems to be the average price difference between the two. Since they are not supposed to play well together I'm going to use up the Twins for now. The best prices I've seen on both are at Shipwreck, especially if you're buying mass quantities.

merlinabc wrote
on May 28, 2014 6:54 AM

I wish I had seen this information prior to investing in a stack of twins :(  It didnt occur to me to cull before starting my project - only when I realised the beads werent sitting neatly did I do this.   I had to reject half my stock because of inconsistencies.

I then purchased a small amount of Super Duos and everthing fell into place nicely.  So lesson learned.  Research new products before investing :)

Thank you

merlinabc wrote
on May 28, 2014 6:58 AM

I wish I had seen this article prior to investing in twins - It didnt occur to me to cull prior to starting my project and only did this when I realised that they werent sitting nicely.  They were inconsistent in colour/size and some of them only had one hole or one useable hole.

I rejected half my stock and eventually gave up and purchased the Super Duos and I love these.

Lesson learned - research your beads first :)

grammajojo wrote
on Sep 2, 2014 7:54 PM

I too have found that the newer twins are much better quality, and I'm sorry, but I have found a LOT of SuperDuo's that had plugged holes, much more than my twins.  So plugged that they broke when I tried to GENTLY remove the plug. :(   I still use them both.

on Oct 16, 2014 10:48 PM

The way I tell the difference between the Twin beads and the Super Duos is the little hump in the middle. On a Super Duo the hump is quite pronounced, on a twin bead it is barely visible or not there at all. I agree that the coating of the crystal base of the Twin beads is the reason for this. I have heard that there are Super Duo 'knock-offs' being sold out there in the big bead world and was wondering if anybody had come across any of these and is it possible they are just a Twin bead being sold as a Super Duo?