Bead identification (or I.D.) numbers are product numbers assigned to beads by their manufacturers. Typically, each bead color and finish (or combination thereof) is assigned its own unique number. You can use bead I.D. numbers to track down specific colors and finishes when you shop for beads.
Each manufacturer has its own bead numbering system. One of the most common systems used to identify beads in bead patterns in Miyuki's system for numbering Delica and seed beads.
Delica bead numbers indicate both the size and the color/finish of a bead. For example, numbers that start with the letters "DB" are always size 11/0 cylinder beads, and numbers that begin with "DBS" are size 15/0 cylinder beads. Round Miyuki seed beads begin with a number which indicates their size. For example, a bead number that starts with "11" is a size 11/0 round seed bead.
Most bead sellers label their bead packaging with bead I.D. numbers and include them on their websites. When you have difficulty finding a specific color, try running an Internet search for that number along with the search term "beads" or the manufacturer or brand name, such as "Miyuki" or "Delica."
Tip: When a bead manufacturer licenses beads to a distributor, the distributor may re-label those beads with its own unique identification numbers. This can cause some confusion when you shop for beads supplied by a distributor. An example is the line of Toho Treasure cylinder beads distributed by the company Darice and sold at some craft stores, including Michaels.
- Seed beads labeled "11-0014" are size 11/0 silver-lined chartreuse round seed beads manufactured by Miyuki.
- Cylinder beads labeled "DBL-0115" are size 8/0 topaz gold luster Miyuki Delica beads.