Difference between E beads, rocaille beads, and seed beads? (spoilers: nothing)

Being a better beader means knowing your tools and materials inside and out. This will also save you time, energy and frustration which means: Less abandoned projects. At the beads stores I worked in over the years a common question I would get is: What’s difference between E beads, rocailles, and seed beads.

Long answer short: Nothing.  So why the difference?  Are people just being difficult to make my life harder? No, well – mostly no.  This was my question for a long time as well until I dug deeper into the reasons behind the varied names.

Mystery: Solved

One of these things is not like the… oh wait.

Rocaille is derived from a French word meaning pebble or rock. I was told once that only round beads with silver lined square holes were called rocailles. Now a days most seed beads are called rocailles, it actually depends on what the company that makes them want to call them. It seems to be a matter of marketing…

So if a pattern calls for rocailles, it just needs seed beads.

“What’s difference between E beads, rocailles, and seed beads?”

So what about E beads?

Same thing really, E beads are the larger seed beads, size 2° and 4°, and sometimes size 6° is thrown in there for giggles. E beads are also called pony beads. You might have seen the plastic ones on dream catchers or on those ridiculous fringe shirts from the 80’s which I may or may not have worn.

So that’s it, there is no difference. Why don’t people just decide on one name and then let it be the same everywhere? I don’t know, I feel the same way about the position of door handles on the inside of cars: I don’t care where it is, as long as it is in the same spot in every car.

What’s the weirdest item you’ve ever had a pattern call for?


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