Seed Bead Sizing in the 21st Century

PotomacBeads Blog

Recently, in the Potomac Bead Company’s private Facebook group, someone asked “What does the number mean when referencing seed beads?” So I set out to answer the sizing question in depth during a Facebook live session…


I work with these little marvels of glass every day and still had to do some research before having a detailed answer to provide fellow beaders.  Traditionally speaking, the number associated with the size of the seed bead has been explained to me time and time again as the number of beads per inch.  For example, in the 1800s when the sizing was loosely standardized, an 11/0 seed bead meant that there were approximately 11 tiny glass beads per inch, 8/0 has 8, ect.  However, that was in the 1800s.  Today production has become much more technologically advanced and precise, so these classic figures are no longer accurate.

In the pictures above, you…

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