Miyuki Seed Bead Jewellery
If you've come here, you've probably heard people talking about Miyuki and are not sure what it is, why it is special or are wondering where to buy it. The short answer is Miyuki is a type of a glass seed bead manufactured in Japan and we have a collection of miyuki bead bracelets, the most popular being our evil eye collection. No doubt you're more curious, so we'll give you the skinny in a top down approach.
Beads have been used in jewellery for millennia and simply refers to a decorative object that has been strung together to form a necklace, bracelet or other accessory. These decorative objectives might included shells, stones, glass, pearls and plastic. The smallest of beads are referred to as seed beads, usually round, are made from glass.
One of the oldest examples of bead jewellery would come from Neanderthal man, tens of thousands of years ago, who wore beads of teeth and bones. Not exactly pretty, but I suppose at the time it made its statement.
The Ancient Egyptians used a lot of this type of jewellery and the above is an example from Pharaoh Tutankhamun over three thousand years ago, who was buried with this intricate collar.
Pharaoh Tutankhamun was also found with this stunning bracelet on his right forearm, which is a carnelian Eye of Horus, with strings of seed jewellery made from gold, ceramic and glass beads.
The Ancient Indus Valley civilisation in India was also known for its bead jewellery and the above is an example of one from Mohanjodaro made from hollowed beads of gold, agate, jasper, stealite and a green stone that is probably either lizardite or grossular garnet.
In more modern usage, some of you might be familiar with religious prayer beads. Catholic prayer beads, or rosaries, are often worn around one's wrist most often consist of 59 beads, the Islamic Misbaha have 100 beads and many Buddhists and Hindus wear Japa malas, made of over 100 beads, in large part from wood.
One of the oldest surviving trading companeis in the world, The Hudson Bay Company (incorporated in 1670), in Canada traded sead beads with the North American indigenous populations made from stones, bones, wood, metal and shells. Their value was often in the colours available.
We have of course come a lot further from these examples from thousands of years ago to even hundreds of years ago. As science and technology has progressed, we have been able to design beeds that are smaller, more uniform, with a vastly superior colour range. We are able to cut with greater precision, drill finer holes and make this with greater availability than our ancient relatives. It's a loooong way from Neaderthal man's teeth and bone strung jewellery!
Why is origin so important you might wonder? Origin always matters! Think of whether you'd prefer a Swiss made watch or one made in Djibouti. There's no comparison. You'd know the Swiss made watch was of far higher quality, would last longer and they have much more history (more knowledge) of making watches. Same goes with chocolate, if you want the best most people know you have to think about Swiss or Belgium chocolate. And so it is with seed beads, origin matters! Japan makes the best seed beads in terms of quality and variety. Don't just take out word though...
"The best quality beads are made mainly in Japan and the Czech Republic, with cheaper, more variable-quality beads imported from China and India. The most uniform-shaped seed beads come from Japan." (The Art of Beadwork by Jane Lock, 2013)
"Glass beads from Japan, where manufacturers have brought a high level of skill to their product." (Bead Riffs by Rachel Nelson-Smith, 1st ed, 2001)
What Is Miyuki And Why Are Their Seed Beeds So Special?
During the early part of the Showa period in Japan (first few years of Emperor Hirohito's reign in the 1930s), Seiichi Katsuoka started glass seed manufacturing in Fukuyama. His grandson, Masayoshi Katsuoka, established and named the Miyuki brand in 1974, preparing it to become the world famous manufacturer it is today. Their mission focused on creating beauty.
"Beauty, our eternal wish, is something that has been valued in every culture since ancient times. It has the power to create dreams and to inspire. We are all searching for beauty and inspiration. While we are continuing our pursuit, we look forward to helping you in yours by offering the finest products available." (Kenji Katsuoka, President - Miyuki Co Ltd)
Miyuki beads are prized for their world class quality, colours, innovation, artistry and uniform shape, relied upon by makers of delicate jewellery all around the globe. The colour formulations by glass bead manufacturers are closely guarded secrets and this is where Miyuki has invested a lot in research and development. This is in comparison to say companies that manufacture cheaper beads in India and China, which in the worst of cases has seen the dyes/colour sometimes wear off on the wearer or their clothes.
There are several types of beads but the most well known are the Delica beads which are a cylindrical and offer massive flexibility in design work. They look as though they lock together to present an unbroken surface and with maybe over a thousand colours to choose from, have the ability to produce some amazing work!
If you considering buying some Miyuki seed bead jewellery, why not consider a our range of Miyuki bracelets and necklaces from our collection below: