Quality of Round Japanese Seed Beads from Fusion Beads and Fire Mountain Beads?

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TessieQ wrote
on Aug 18, 2010 4:57 PM

Hiya, Folks...

I recently had some difficulties with the very poor quality of several packages of round Japanese seed beads I'd purchased online from Fusion Beads.  Round ones...#11's...not Delicas.

My past experiences with them have been very good.  I'd received nothing but high-quality seed beads (both #11s and #15s) and other beading items from them.  But this order...placed in July...just had really poor-quality seed beads.

In all fairness to Fusion Beads, their customer service is exemplary and I received no-hassle full refunds on all the packages I returned.

I also have purchased a lot of beads from Fire Mountain but have learned the hard way NOT to purchase their ROUND seed beads (Dyna-mites by Matsuno).  I've found the quality of those to be poor...some of what I purchased looked like they were cheapo beads from China.  Their Delicas, on the other hand, are good because they ARE from the quality Japanese manufacturer Miyuki...I guess "Delica" is Miyuki's brand name.  I know Toho makes cylindrical beads that are good, too, but Fire Mountain doesn't sell them...I wish they did.

I know that occasional misshapen beads are to be expected in any package of seed beads, be they round or Delicas, but when most to the entire package are misshapen it's simply not acceptable.  That's what happened recently with Fusion Beads.

I'm curious...what have your experiences been with purchasing round Japanese seed beads from Fusion Beads?  Was my past order a fluke or is it indicative of what is happening there nowadays?  How do you feel about the Dyna-mites from Fire Mountain?  Did I get fluke packages of those as well?  Finally, what shop or shops are your favorite resources for quality round Japanese seed beads?

Thanks for your input! Smile

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Ruth. wrote
on Aug 18, 2010 5:53 PM

I always have ordered from fusion and mostly round instead of delicas. I have always found they are relatively uniform and have never had a problem within the past 2 years I have been ordering from them. Maybe it was just a bad batch of seeds that they received. I like their return policy too and have used it when I decided that I didn't like some beads that I ordered for a certain project.

Shippensburg Pennsylvania - about 30 minutes from Gettysburg

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KipperCat wrote
on Aug 18, 2010 6:29 PM

Is it Fusion that doesn't identify the manufacturer of their Japanese seed beads?  I asked one online vendor who their seed bead supplier was and they told me they ordered from Toho and Miyuki and might have either one in stock at a given time.  I want to know in case I want more of the same color.  I know manufacturing lots can vary a bit in color, but I expect that ruby matte frost from the same manufacturer would match better than from 2 different manufacturers.

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JSmaz wrote
on Aug 19, 2010 1:03 AM

I haven't ordered from Fusion but Japanese seed beads in general tend to be good quality so perhaps you just got a bad batch.

I have a few Dynamites that my grandma found me at a garage sale and they're ok but not great.  They're mostly inside color lined and I find that the colors are pretty uneven and in some cases missing altogether.  The transparent & opaque that I have are fine.


Oklahoma City

ArtFire Studio & blog  |  Gallery 



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BeadBarn wrote
on Aug 19, 2010 7:24 AM

Hi Tessie.. I have ordered from Fusion in the past and like you it has been a hit & miss experience.  As Kat said... they do not identify which Japanese supplier they use for a particular color... They told me they hold stock from all 3 big Names.. Miyuki, Toho & Matsumo... My last order from them was about a year ago and I was very disappointed in my size 15/o's... I have changed to Bellomodo.com and prefer Toho rounds... They carry the full line of size 11/o's (over 600 colors) and have recently added size 15/o to their site.  Size 11/o is in a 28grm tube for just a few cents more than most places charge for 14grms... Free shipping in the US and no minimum order.... and I have no complaints about customer service when anything is wrong.


BeadBarn – Lynn

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on Aug 19, 2010 11:30 PM

 I believe theres no such thing as a bad bead. When you say poor-quality beads, do you mean they are misshapen or just different sizes? I used to hate the cheap seed beads until I used them. The different sizes make for a unique necklace. I think you should try to use them, you may like it. Give them a chance.

 I started a necklace with different sizes of seed beads, at first I didnt like tthem, but as the necklace progessed it was so pretty. Not all beads are perfect, like people. lol Your bad beads are like the ugly duck, can you make them into a swan?

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NicoleT24 wrote
on Aug 20, 2010 3:52 PM

I actually frequent the brick and mortar Fusion in Seattle. I was there in July and bought a bunch of seeds. The quality didn't seem any better or worse to me.

One thing I have noticed is that different finishes will have differing degrees of consistency. This seems to be universal for all the brands. The silver and gold lined seeds tend to be more cylinder-ish than doughnut shaped and are never as uniform as say the transparent rounds or ceylon finishes. I've also noticed the matt finish in most of the seed brands tend to be less uniform.

Fusion doesn't say what brand each of their seeds are, and they buy in bulk and tube them there in the warehouse. From what I have purchased from them, and from my experienced eye... most of their stuff is Miyuki and Toho, I think I've only come across 3 or four oddball colors that are Matsumo. I could be wrong, but that's how it looks to me when I compare them against the ones I've bought where I know the name brand for sure.

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DorothyH@10 wrote
on Aug 22, 2010 3:31 PM

Hi Tess

I'm glad you brought this subject to the forum.  Dynamites are good for free-form designs. (Remember you get what you pay for.)

My favorite sites for beads are Bellomodo.com,  Beadseast.com,  Knotjustbeads and artgemsinc.com for Miyuki at half price.

Hope this is helpfulGeeked

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DorothyH@10 wrote
on Aug 22, 2010 5:18 PM

Tess, I forgot to add the .com to the Knotjustbeads websiteSad

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TessieQ wrote
on Aug 25, 2010 9:47 PM

My appreciation to all that responded to my inquiry.  And thanks, as well, for the recommended bead websites...I'll be certain to check them all out!

As for "bad" beads.  I think any bead that isn't the shape it's supposed to be or not the color it's supposed to be is a bad bead.  Sorry, but beads are expensive for my budget and I don't think it's unreasonable of me to expect to receive what's advertised, especially when the beads are from reputable companies.  I have specific needs for the types of beads I purchase and I have no room for ones that are bad.  Culling is a pain in the tookas.  To me, misshapen beads stand out like sore thumbs and I cringe every time I see something I made where I let one...or, worse...some!...slip past.  Spotting misshapen beads in others' work...especially if it's for sale...just makes me move on.

Unquestionably there will always be a few bad beads in any lot but when almost the ENTIRE package is not what it's supposed to be I get ticky about it.

I'm willing to give Fusion another go...and, when I visit Seattle (hopefully soon...it's my home town)...I'll definitely visit their shop.  It DOES irritate me, though, that they aren't up-front about their supply sources.  Perhaps other stores do the same thing...or not...I've never really considered it until it was brought up here. 

Beads vary greatly between manufacturers as well as dye lots and if one is trying to match beads already in one's stash, and orders more of the same beads from the same store, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect to receive at least a very close approximation to what one already has.  Frustrating.

Thanks again for all your input!

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DorothyH@10 wrote
on Aug 25, 2010 10:24 PM


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bryanbear wrote
on Dec 8, 2012 9:52 PM

I understand the bitching about not perfect beads but the not perfect ones are great for bead embroidery jewelry pieces when you need a oddball shaped bead to fit in the little space created by surrounding beads...

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spoodle22 wrote
on Nov 24, 2014 5:32 AM

i felt uncomfortable with the fact that Fusion doesn't list the manufacturer of the seed beads. Most of the stitches do not look good with bad beads... lumpy bumpy and misshapen bracelets that do not lay flat are not worth wasting my valuable time on, nor earring that hang lopsided, there is a place for the beads that lack uniformity....  but unless you know what you are buying how can you plan properly? I do not want to make it twice or buy the beads twice because the first batch wasn't right. Thanks for the tip on the Bellomodo web site. Fusion does have some very beautiful beads and I will be buying from them in the future.....  :)

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DorothyH@10 wrote
on Dec 1, 2014 10:57 PM

Dear Spoodle22 - In September 2010 Fusion had responded to my inquiry regarding the reason why they do not list the manufacturer.  I don't know if its legal to quote their response verbatim, so I will advise you that they admit to mixing Miyuki, Matsuno and and Toho seed beads.   The shape and hole size of these companies are not the same :  Matsuno holes are "square-ish" , Toho holes are larger than Miyuki, etc.  How sad that Fusion compromises their seed beads, because the site has a great selection of other products, especially their ear wires.   My favorite sites for seed beads are Justletmebead  ( Laura McCabe)   for first quality beads, Whimbeads, Artbeads, Knotjustbeads to name a few.  I never buy seed beads from China.  Czech seeds are beautiful, not consistent  for flat work, but good for other designs.    I hope I have been helpful.

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MargretAma wrote
on Jan 15, 2015 10:55 AM

I'm a bit late to the party hear, but I've wondered about why Fusion Beads never identifies the manufacturer and I'm glad to now know. Though pricier, I really love Toho beads and rarely find a ones I have to cull out. My favorite online store for Toho beads is BobbyBead.com based in Minnesota. They have been extremely helpful in getting colors for me even when not shown on their website.

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