The History of Seed Beads has been well documented in many excellent publications around the world and if this is of interest they are well worth pursuing.
Suffice to say that seed beads have been manufactured for many, many years in several countries, especially in Europe.
Japanese technology used today, however, produces a more consistent sized bead reducing the need to sort through the beads before starting a project, resulting in less wastage
They also have a good hole size for easy threading and normally can take many threads through the same bead (as is needed in most designs) without making the finished article too stiff
A most popular size for these rocailles is Size 11/o (approx. 1.9mm in diameter) and there are a myriad of colours in different finishes for these delightful beads.
Many of the colours are matched with the Miyuki "Delica" Bead
The 11/0 "Delica" Bead produced by Miyuki is very different to the similar sized 11/0 seed bead (rocailles).
It is a square end cylinder bead with a large hole rather that the pumpkin round of the seed bead which gives the bead worker several distinct advantages for their design.
- Accurate outside diameter dimensions which lends itself to produce designs with a smooth consistent finish.
- Large hole size allows for many passes of fine thread and the chance to use a thicker stronger thread or wire where and when required.
- The outside dimensions are similar to those of the rocailles but the large hole means that the bead is lighter and larger items can be produced or more beads can be added to a garment without incurring the extra weight
Petite Beads are actually Seed Beads but are given this distinction due to the small outside size.
The most popular size produced for these rocailles is Size 15/o (approx. 1.5mm in diameter) and these literal "grains of sand" also come in a myriad of colours and different finishes that match the "Delica" and larger Seed Beads