Jewelry Designers' Favorite Seed Beads

Design Idea A31G Bracelet
by Dan Day, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads resident designer-artists have extensive experience creating beautiful jewelry designs using seed beads. They describe their favorite seed beads, how they use them and why:

Esther Pollock

Esther Pollock Jewelry Artist Bio

Jewelry Designers' Favorite Seed Beads
15/0 Rocaille
I love 15/0 rocailles by Miyuki because they are so small. They create an ideal ending to fringe (putting three together). Rocailles are a must-have to do bezel settings as far as I am concerned. You cinch the weave tighter just by jumping from 11/0 seed beads to 15/0 rocailles. Using them makes it so much easier. They are great for doing picot around the edge of designs. When it comes to filling in little spaces when creating freeform peyote, there is nothing better.

11/0 Delica® or 11/0 Dyna-Mites™--the 11/0 size seed bead creates the body of most designs.
The Delica is a cylinder bead, which works great when you have straight angles to fill. They are as tall as they are wide. Many people are very faithful to this brand and would not bead with anything else.

The 11/0 Dyna-Mites are ideal for some designs because they have rounded edges and are wider than they are tall. When creating "wave" designs, these are terrific. They make the perfect little spacers between beads when stringing, so they are wonderful for more than seed bead work.

Tila® Beads
What a fabulous bead to add to the seed bead family. With two holes it makes this bead wonderful to create geometric designs. Then add the Half Tila bead with the regular Tila bead and you can really create some fabulous designs. If you haven't played with these beads you really need to--they are FUN!

Now, I could go on and on. I love seed beads and they all have wonderful properties. Fringe beads, the colors of triangles, the cubes in some of the matte colors are yummy, and then 6/0 or 8/0. I did not even mention bugle beads--plain or twisted--they are perfect for fringe. Now you know the truth--I am hooked. I love them all, but just for different jobs.

Jamie Smedley

Jamie Smedley Jewelry Artist Bio

Jewelry Designers' Favorite Seed Beads
While I don't do traditional seed beading, I still use seed beads extensively in my jewelry designs.
  1. I adore the subtle glimmer of faceted hex-cut seed beads. They are ideal for embedding into Apoxie® Sculpt and polymer clay designs as bezels. They also add a nice dimension to pourable resin designs. In strung designs they have a way of adding such a nice subtle glimmer between beads that can lend a sense of intrigue, add an ethnic vibe or recall a vintage feel.
  2. I rely heavily on seed beads to economize my strung designs (I don't use as many larger beads when the strand is spaced out with seed beads) and to reduce weight in strung designs (seed beads don't weigh much). I favor large statement-sized beads and multi-strand designs so I use seed beads and lightweight wood beads to accomplish the statement proportions I prefer.
  3. By adding seed beads in metallic finish or colors between large beads, I can change the whole landscape and texture of a strung strand. This is also a subtle way to incorporate color combinations and schemes to strung designs where the eye can't immediately distinguish where the color is generated from. It is an enjoyable and curious effect.
  4. Oftentimes, I use seed beads as stabilizers for beads that have large holes that wouldn't otherwise sit well on stringing materials. I simply thread on the seed beads, then thread on the large-hole bead and it slides right over the top of them. The seed beads fill the hole of the large-hole bead and prevent it from being askew.

Tom Triplett

Tom Triplett Jewelry Artist Bio

Jewelry Designers' Favorite Seed Beads

This is pretty easy for me. My favorite seed beads are silver-lined Delica #11s. I prefer to do bead-weaving projects including right-angle weave (RAW) and peyote stitches. #11 Delicas are very uniform in length and girth making them ideal for projects that need to have a tight fit and detailed patterns. Silver-lined seed beads provide the most sparkle so I use them a LOT! Together they make some of my best and favorite jewelry designs.

Rose Wingenbach

Rose Wingenbach Jewelry Artist Bio

Jewelry Designers' Favorite Seed Beads
My favorites are the Delica seed beads because of their uniform cylinder shape and their large holes. They are great for loomwork, brick and peyote stitch. I might not be the only one to choose this one, so my alternate favorites are the cube beads. I love the way they line up and create a solid brick wall sort of effect.

When I was learning peyote I failed when trying to use Delicas. They were too small. I did not realize that I needed glasses at the time. So I practiced with the nice large cubes and I found out how easy it was. Now I have appropriate glasses and I can do peyote with small beads, but sometimes I like to revert to the ease and comfort of nice big cubes.

Jude Wroblewski

Jude Wroblewski Jewelry Artist Bio

Jewelry Designers' Favorite Seed Beads
I love the magatama seed beads by Miyuki. Their shape gives great texture to kumihimo and macramé designs. The hole size works well with 0.5mm cords and they also give unique effects in designs using seed beads, or simple stringing with crystal, gemstones or glass beads.

The square seed beads make great art deco/geometric-style designs. The large holes work well for wrapped bracelets, macramé and kumihimo designs.

Alice Gershowitz

Alice Gershowitz Jewelry Artis Bio

Jewelry Designers' Favorite Seed Beads
My favorites are Dyna-Mites size 8 in dark bronze and bronze. I use them mostly as spacer/accent beads in stringing projects. These two colors go well with almost any other color.

I love magatama seed beads for the texture they can create. I've made a bracelet with them that resembles snake skin.

I have done a fair amount of peyote and Delicas are by far the best for this. Their uniform size and shape work well, giving you a very smooth, even finished product.

I love seed beads because of the versatility they provide. Whether bead stitching/weaving, or stringing they should be a regular part of your bead stash, in all the shapes and sizes.

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