Both Toho and Delica beads are small glass beads, collectively known as seed beads, that are used in beadweaving or other beadwork where uniform detail is needed for both texture and clarity of pattern. The small beads fit closely together when woven either freehand or on a loom. They give a good straight edge to rectangular or square decorative, flat pieces that may be either used alone or joined together to form larger pieces of beadwork.
Delica is a brand name for seed beads made by Miyuki, a Japanese bead manufacturer. Toho is a company name. Toho brand names include Treasure which is a reflection of the meaning of "toho" in English, which is "eastern treasure."
Delica beads range in size from 1.3mm to 3mm on the outside diameter. Toho beads are similar in size to Delica and the two may be used together in one item. The companies use different methods of sizing their beads, but conversion charts are available to make comparison easier.
Toho beads have larger holes and thinner walls than other makes of beads, including Delica beads, which means more strands of thread may be used through each bead. This is an advantage in beadweaving or other complex threading techniques where multiple strands of thread or cord pass through each bead.
Colours and Finishes
Both Delica and Toho have a huge range of colours and finishes. Some have an iridescent, or "AB" finish which creates a rainbow effect of colours on the surface of the bead, while others may be opaque. Metallic finishes give a glossy lustre to the outside of the bead, while transparent beads may have a coloured lining, which gives an added sparkle.
Toho beads come in a range of different shapes which includes round, cylindrical and triangular. Delica beads are normally either round or cylindrical. Some Toho beads have a "charlotte" cut, meaning beads have one flat edge on an otherwise round bead. This gives added interest in the finished beadwork by varying the angle at which light is reflected off the surface.
Delica beads are made only by Miyuki, whereas Toho beads are also suppliers of other bead companies, in particular Mill Hill, whose Magnifica range of beads is made by Toho.