I am new to beading and was wondering if there is much of a difference in bead manufactures than just price? I can find seed beads, czech, for $1.60 for 45 grams or delica for $1.52 for 7.5 grams. That is a huge difference in quantity for almost the same price and i was wondering why?
Welcome to our beady family!
And the prices can very in several ways, one of them being if you're doing business with a bead whlesaler as opposed to a beads retailer. Keep in mind, if you're dealing with a bead wholesaler, they usually expect you to have a business tax ID, and that you're buying in bulk.
Delicas and czech seed beads are actually quite different (and both are different from regular Japanese seed beads). Delicas are very uniform, with thin walls and vertical sides. Due to the uniformity, they are great for peyote and square stitch, and can easily handle multiple thread passes. They are actually a bit smaller than a regular size 11 seed bead (closer to size 12), so are not really interchangeable with regular seed beads. They are lighter than regular seeds, so you get more of them per gram. In my book, they are worth the extra cost.
Czech seed beads are more donut shaped, with thicker walls and smaller holes, and are less uniform. I used them in one bracelet, and had trouble getting multiple passes of thread through them. I much prefer Japanese seed beads!
There are three main manufacturers of Japanese seed beads. There are subtle differences (Tohos are a little more donut shaped, Matsuno a little more straight walled, Miyuki somewhere in-between), but I would consider them interchangeable. I use them a lot in beadweaving, for most everything except peyote and square stitch (have used them for those, but you don't get quite the same uniformity as with Delicas).
Kathy's post was excellent. A very comprehensive definition of the differences and while she didn't emphasize it, Miyuki and Toho make BOTH cylinder and seed beads thus the differences in her description.
There is also the issue of color availability, in the cylinder bead category Miyuki's delicas have the biggest color selection at about 1,000. Toho's cylinders have lots less colors, but their premium priced Aiko's have about 1,000 colors but are wildly more expensive. Personally I truly do NOT see the rationale for paying the higher price for Aiko beads, but that is personal experience. Over time I have accumulated all colors of delicas, but not in every finish.
In seed beads, the more doughnut shaped ones, the Czech beads currently have the best quality and color variety. Both India and China are trying to close the gap, but haven't so far.
If you are doing bead embroidery, you can mix all sorts of beads and it works, if you are doing looming or peyote or brick where the beads are the real show pieces, try to stick to one brand per design piece. It will get you a better finished effect. If you are stringing, you can mix more, just go by your eye. I had decided very early on that I was going to stick with delicas because of the colors and finishes available in a consistent size. I know others who use mainly Toho 15's, or Czech seed beads........You'll get the hang of it all. Donna