Seed Beads, vintage and antique, various sizes

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The following beads are old stock. They were manufactured around 1900 up to 1945 in France, Venice and Bohemia. The colors are beautifully muted and quite distinctive. I have compared the colors to our extensive range of modern 14/0 and 11/0 beads and discovered that none of the old bead colors were exactly the same in the modern range.  The color of the old beads is the result of the colored glass, not any additional surface treatment (except for a couple of metallics) as is common in modern beads. The surface is never very glossy because years of rubbing have resulted in a lovely satin sheen on most beads.

Of course, the old beads are all limited stock. The old seed beads are not as regular as the modern ones, since they were not made with the aid of machines, as is the case nowadays. These beads are eminently suitable for the cabochon technique, as described in Gildebrief 2/2008, since one requires several bead sizes for this technique. Of course, you can use them just as well for weaving, knitting or crocheting beaded items,  for any jewelry projects, or for lovely wired beaded flowers.

With some beads you will find one size and then another one in brackets, for example:

12/0(11/0) = The beads are size 12/0, yet they are close to size 11/0 (larger) and can be used with either size 12/0 or size 11/0 seed beads, new or old.

12/0(13/0) = The beads are size 12/0, yet they are close to size 13/0 (smaller) and can be used with either size 12/0 or size 13/0 seed beads, new or old.

 pre-1900 = Beads were made before 1900

Seed Bead Sizes

After measuring countless beads, it seems that many seed bead suppliers use a slightly diferent scale for measuring seed beads. A 10/0 from one source ends up being an 11/0 from another source etc. Seed beads are measured across the belly. sometimes a size lies just between two sizes and can be allocated to either one. One is for sure: the sizing of seed beads is not an exact science. The following list is not the "measure of all things" but will provide  you with a good guideline. I used these sizes for the seed beads in our shop: 

 

Size 10/0 = 2,40 to 2,55 mm

Size 11/0 = 2,10 to 2,25 mm

Size 12/0 = 1,85 to 1,95 mm

Size 13/0 = 1,73 to 1,78 mm

Size 14/0 = 1,58 to 1,68 mm

Size 15/0 = 1,30 to 1,40 mm

Size 20/0 = 1,02 to 1,08 mm

 

I found these sizes in an old book on beads (Bohemian):

9/0 = 2, 5 mm

10/0 = 2,3 mm

11/0 = 2,1 mm

12/0 = 1,9 mm

13/0 = 1,7 mm

14/0 = 1,6 mm

15/0 = 1,5 mm

16/0 = 1,3 mm

17/0 = 1,2 mm

18/0 = 1,1 mm

20/0 = 1 mm

 

Abbreviations

OP = opaque

IR = irisidescent

TR = transparent

GR=Greasy(semi-transparent, translucent)

MT = metallic

S/L = silver-lined

C/L = color-lined

WH = inside white glass, outside colored glass (white-hearts)

CS = candy striped

 

Seed beads, 10/0, pink/white, WH, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 11/0, orange/white WH, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 11/0, grass green/white WH, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 11/0(12/0), old violet TR, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 11/0(10/0), brick brown OP, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 12/0(11/0), bright medium blue GR, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 10/0, light turquoise OP,per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 11/0, turquoise OP, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 12/0, light old rose GR, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 12/0(13/0), smocky violet GR, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 11/0(12/0), smoky lilac OP, per 10 Gramm

 

Seed beads, 11/0, grey violet, TR matt, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 11/0, deep red OP, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads,11/0, pale grey blue OP, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 12/0, medium blue OP, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 12/0(11/0), aquamarine TR, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 11/0, midnight blue OP, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 12/0, turquoise green OP, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 12/0(13/0), deep blue green TR, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 11/0(10/0), pale olive OP, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 10/0, apple green TR, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 11/0, medium blue OP, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 11/0, dark turquoise OP, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 11/0, orange OP, per 10 grams

 

Seed beads, 12/0, smoky turquoise blue OP, per 10 grams

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