Miyuki Seed Beads and Delica are made by mixing the raw materials SiO2, NaCO3, and CaCO3 with any base-coloring ingredients and placing them in a 1400C furnace to make the melted glass. Miyuki Delica are the highest quality seed beads in production today.
Swarovski comes in a myriad of shapes, colors, and coatings and is consistent with them. Crafters often use Miyuki between beads because they are high quality and add a wee bit of color and sparkle and don’t tarnish like the tiny sterling silver beads that can’t be reached to polish.
I want to create quality pieces for you. I could definitely make them cheaper, but then they’d look, well, cheap. A lot of the inexpensive jewelry you find does use Czech and Chinese crystals. I want my designs to have a quality look to them and so I choose to work with the highest quality bling available.
Below is the manufacturing process of Miyuki seed beads from raw material to products
How Miyuki Glass Seed Beads Are Made？ – English version
Step 1: Raw materials and recycled glass of the same color are mixed and melted in the furnaces. The Miyuki factory has both automatic and manual furnaces operating 24 hours per day. They are on the 2nd floor.
Step 2: When ready, molten glass from the furnaces falls through a hole. The shape of the hole determines the shape of the glass tubes. Compressed air hitting the center of the glass column turns it into a hollow tube of glass.
Step 3: After dropping to the first floor, the vertical tube of falling glass passes under a thick chunk of wood and turns at a right angle to become horizontal. Imagine a vertical length of rope passing under a pulley and then being pulled sideways. The scene in the glass factory is much more dramatic, however. For starters, the glass “rope” is still extremely hot so it is slowly burning its way through the smoking piece of wood. In addition, the tube of glass is actually being pulled over a series of metal troughs by a machine that not only pulls the glass but also cuts it into one meter lengths. The speed of the pulling determines the diameter of the glass tubes. A faster pull makes thinner tubes; a slower speed makes them thicker.
Step 4: The cooled tubes are sorted to make sure that they are the correct diameter for the size beads being produced. Any tubes which are not the correct size will be recycled and remelted to make new glass.
Step 5: The tubes are cut into beads.
As the cutting room is not open to any outsiders, I can’t offer further information. I did learn that one Delica cutting machine can only cut 4-5 kgs per day, which is one reason for their high cost. (And contrary to some rumors, Miyuki cannot run the Delica cutting machines faster to keep up with increased demand, with an accompanying decline in quality. Instead, high demand just leads to longer waits for production). Delicas are not cut by lasers, by the way, another occasional rumor.
Step 6: Cut beads are mixed with carbon black and reheated to make them round. Delicas are only slightly heated; round beads are heated more.
Step 7: The beads are washed. Miyuki has its own on-site water treatment equipment.
Step 8: The beads are heated again to give them a surface polish. Basic opaque and transparent beads are now finished and ready to pack.
Step 9: Fancier beads – AB colors, silver and color-lined, metallic, etc. – are based on the basic opaque and transparent colors.
There are several different locations in the factory where dyes and other coatings are applied. Some beads require multiple treatments which directly influence their final cost. After dyeing or color-lining beads, Miyuki reheats them again to “set” the colors, a step skipped by some bead companies to reduce costs.