Q: Anyway, Fire Mountain is now offering a Taiwanese version. I've been happy with their quality on other beads (except seed beads because they are non uniform) and I am thinking about getting some of these rather than waiting to find the Japanese ones. Has anybody seen these beads?

A: Yes, I have used them. Their colors aren't quite as bright as the Japanese beads and some of them came stuck together. But for the price they aren't bad. I have mixed them with seed beads, including matte, crystals and glass beads. The combinations have worked well together. Actually, I was really displeased with them. Someone online mentioned that Fire Mountain was having a sale on them a couple of months ago. I called Fire Mountain to see whether they were the real thing from Japan or the cheap Taiwan copies and they told me they were the real thing. I ordered a bunch and when they came the were the fakes with lots of them stuck together and the orange an icky color and the green too dark to use or even look like a miracle bead. The red and purple were acceptable but not anywhere near the Japanese in quality. I called to complain but kept most of them because of the sale price. I would not recommend them at regular price. The Taiwanese miracles I have seen (not from FMG) aren't that bad. Their '3-d' effect isn't quite as good as the Japanese ones. General Bead in San Francisco has a good selection of the Taiwan ones, for instance, a bag of 144 6MM is $4.00 in about 12 colours. I have seen no defects in the ones I have been buying there for about 4 years - P HOLM63 I've used them too and the only way to describe the difference is that the Japanese colors seem to be "softer" or gentler. The Taiwanese beads have an abruptness to the color that isn't in the Japanese version.