Seed Beads and Bugle Beads

The many types and sizes of Seed Beeds

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There are many types and sizes of seed beads. Below is information that will be useful in your wanderings in the delicate and delightful world of these petite beads.


Types of Seed & Bugle Beads

Bugle Beads
These are small beads that are tube-shaped and long; coming in a multitude of lengths.

Charlotte Beads
These are seed beads with facet cuts, giving them sparkle. The more cuts/facets - the more the sparkle.

Seed BeadsDelicas
(aka Japanese cylinder beads)
Delicas are precision-made, perfectly cylindrical size 11 beads. Delicas have a relatively large hole vis-a-vis its small size - making them light. This means you get more beads per gram! Also, because of their relative lightness, they are ideal for bead-weaving projects.

(pronounced: roh-kai)
This was originally used to describe a round, silver-lined bead with a square hole.

However today, the term rocaille refers to all round seed beads; regardless of the shape of the hole. Rocaille beads are generally not totally uniform - adding to its interest & appeal.

Sizes of Seed Beads

There is no general agreement on how these beads are measured. Generally, they are measured by their diameter (i.e. perpendicular to the direction of the hole). The larger the see beads number, the smaller the bead. For example, size of 14/o is smaller than 11/o.

As a general rule of thumb, through experimentations, a 11/o size gives about 11 beads strung along a 20mm length. (That could vary depending on the variations in the bead and the source of origin of the beads).

Size Diameter (mm)
6/o 3.3
7/o 2.9
8/o 2.5
9/o 2.2
10/o 2.0
11/o 1.8
12/o 1.7
13/o 1.5
14/o 1.4
15/o 1.3
16/o 1.2
18/o 1.1
20/o 1.0
22/o 0.9
24/o too small to bead!

Based on this rule of thumb, the following table gives you a good, close approximation to the size of a bead based on it's diameter measurement.

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