Rocailles Versus Seed Beads.

Q: Although many beaders consider "rocaille" and "seed" interchangeable terms, others have told me that rocailles are distinguished as silver or gold lined cathedral glass seed beads. However, British beading publications often use the term "rocailles" to describe all types of seed beads in projects.

A: Here in Britain, I think that rocailles are distinguished from other seed- beads by having a square hole. By the way, as an established "lurker" here, I must thank everyone who posts and shares their ideas and expertise so generously. Even though I first started beading in 1971, I have learned more here and on the rest of the net in the last 18 months than I have in the previous 27 years! You are really onto something! I have a project that I am purchasing materials for now. The author of the book where I got the project from is 'Janet Coles' from Worcester, England. Her book confuses me sometimes. An example would be: "it calls for rocailles" (1/16). Is there an easy way to convert to mm? Right now I just use a ruler. Hmmm, the author could be referring to bead size, but I wonder...Is it possible that they're size 16s (can't figure out how to make the degree sign for size)? Is there a photo of the project? Do the beads look tinier than 11s? I think that's important to note. Virginia Blakelock, one of the "American Beading Goddesses" (ABGs), describes rocailles as having either square or cylindrical holes. I've got a little more info on the subject (which could be more than we need, but...) A book I'm reading now on bead embroidery by British artists 'Valerie Campbell-Harding' and 'Pamela Watts' describes rocaille as a "trade name" for small glass beads. There are divisions under that term of round rocailles (smooth outside and inside); Tosca, or square rocailles (smooth outside, square-cut (?) inside to catch the light; and Charlottes (ridged, faceted outside with metal lining inside). I'm not sure how you achieve a square cut hole since I think these beads are manufactured from drawn cane with a air bubble forced and drawn with the glass to make the hole. Maybe you let the cane cool in a square mold. A glass artist would know more about that... At any rate, the hole and color differences would all be important distinctions when you're trying for a certain effect in a project. I tend to forget all this when I'm working, but thank heavens 'CCA' brought me to the task of looking it up again. Well guess what? I don't know what 11s is or 16s. I don't work with seed beads much. There is a photo ("Beads: An Exploration Of Bead Traditions Around the World" by 'Janet Coles', page 18). They look like seed beads (from what I know about them). This is a beautiful book, but the projects are confusing. The terminology is one of the problems. From this discussion, I have come to the conclusion that rocaille is not a frequently used word when discussing beads in the US. I am not experienced with seed beads, therefore, I was not aware of that. It makes me wonder what other bead differences there are around the world that I don't know about.