Choosing seed bead colors for a bead embroidery project can be a challenge.
The color numbers often make no sense. You would think that 460 is 460. Not so fast. Take for example the array of choices for just one color number on the whimbeads.com website:
- 460 : Raspberry Bronze
- 460A : Raspberry Bronze Iris
- 460B : Purple Metal Iris
- 460C : Purple Fuchsia Metal Iris
- 460D : Purple Fuchsia Goldlustre
- 460E : Blue Teal Metal Iris
- 460F : Antique Bronze
- 460G : Steel Blue Metallic
- 460H : Bronze/Olivine Iris
- 460i : Bright Fuchsia Gold Iris
- F460A : Raspberry Bronze Matte
- F460B : Dk. Army Green Matte
- F460C : Bronze Purple Matte
- F460D : Purple Fuchsia Metal Matte
- F460E : Dragon Scales
- F460F : Denim Purple Iris Matte
- F460G : Steel Green Gold Iris Matte
- F460H : Bronze/Olivine Iris Matte
- F460i : Bright Fuchsia Gold Iris Matte
- F460J : Purple Midnight Iris Matte
- F460K : Blue Cardinal Iris Matte
- F460L : Teal Cardinal Iris matte
- F460M : Teal Purple Iris matte
- F460N : Transparent Amy./Purple Matte
- F460P : Transparent Amy./Purple Iris Matte
- F460Q : Grey/Blue/Gold Iris Matte
- F460R : Lizard Skin
- F460S : Fuchsia/Lime/Gold Iris Matte
- F460T : Desert Sun
F usually means frosted or matte. PF means permanent finish. Y is often hybrid.
Let's complicate things further: At some point Miyuki decided to change their numbering system. For example, 457F is also known as 2006-- depending on who's selling it. They even have a chart on their web page specifying beads which have two different color numbers.
You'd assume that you could just go by the color name. Wrong again.
Caravan Beads, a major US importer of Miyuki seed beads, says on their website:
"Each Delica bead is assigned an item number by Miyuki, which correspond between sizes of Delica (though not between Delicas and seed beads). For example: DB0010 Black is #10 in 11/0 Delicas and DBL-0010 (#10) in 8/0 Delicas as well. In seed beads Miyuki's number for black is 401. Miyuki does not name the colors, so different companies may call colors by different names."
As a rule, when I've established a color for a larger piece I like to purchase it in 15/0, 11/0, 8/0 and cylinder. That's where the problems start. Beads identified by the same color number can be VERY different depending on the size of the bead. The surface area of the bead makes a big difference. IT can also be just differences in dye-lots. Many recommend that you overbuy beads for an important project, because, different batches of the same color beads can vary tremendously. If the color is just too off for the project, I just omit the bead in the offending size. In fact, not all bead colors are available in al the sizes. The 11/0 beads have much greater color choices than the 15/0 and 8/0. Delica beads also have the greatest color selection in 11/0 than 10/0, 8/0 and 15/0.
But wait, there's more. Round Miyuki seed beads have a completely different numbering system that the Miyuki Delica beads. Matte Met Dk Raspberry Iris is 2005 in round seed beads and 312 in cylinder beads. If you want to match them up, just check out Miyuki's conversion charts. You can go from Round to Delica or Delica to Round.