Toho beads are one of the most recognizable blanks in the world. They are associated with impeccable quality of workmanship, as well as a huge selection of beads. Perfectly equal sizes of these glass beads quickly won the hearts of handicraftsmen around the world. Many artists who decided to try this Japanese classic after years of using cheaper beads were amazed. It's hard to believe how much difference beads of the highest quality can make in designing, creating and wearing jewelry.
The history of making Japanese beads began in 1930 in the Hiroshima region. The first company to produce beads was "Mom-and-Pop". Later, on November 3, 1952, the Toho company was established in Hiroshima, which quickly gained worldwide popularity. Since then, he has been constantly trying to perfect the techniques of producing glass beads.
The company's idea is to try to serve society, to change and create, and to adapt to changes over time. Interestingly, this is not only to ensure the well-being of the company, but also to keep all employees' minds clear. Toho products are tested for durability, sensitivity to light and other factors to which jewelry is exposed. As a result, manufacturers know the strengths and weaknesses of their products, which allows them to work on their improvement.
How Toho beads are made
The first step in creating glass beads is, of course, the production of glass. Suitable powders are mixed to obtain glass with the desired color and clarity. Transparent, semi-transparent, called Ceylon, and opaque beads are created. Then the whole mixture is heated to over a thousand degrees Celsius for several hours.
The molten glass is formed into thin tubes with round or square holes. The bore size is regulated by the air blown into the piston. Then the raw glass canes are checked. It is tested that the width of the stick and the diameter of the opening are of the correct size. Canes that do not meet the manufacturer's specifications are melted again. Thanks to this, the raw material is not wasted. The next step is to cut the glass tubes on the same length of beads. They are then mixed with coal sand and heated to 700 degrees in a rotary kiln. The sand prevents the beads from sticking together or damaging their holes. The next step is rinsing and polishing the beads while hot.
Finally, the beads are cleaned and filtered according to their size. This is another element of quality control. The beads go through three types of sieves, first the too small beads fall, then the appropriate size ones, and then too large blanks. The final step is to coat the beads with their outer layer. This process varies depending on the finish of the particular type of beads.
Types of Toho beads
Toho beads come in many different shapes. From classic, round beads, through a tube and cubes to various shapes. In addition, I have already mentioned the different transparency of the beads, but that's not all. Toho beads can also have different types of finishes. Some glow rainbow colors, others look frosty. Some of them are transparent and have only a colored insert inside, and some of them have a metallic filling. Others are also pearly, quite metallic or just shine with their color. So it gives you a huge selection of small glass beads for your handicrafts.
How to use Toho beads
Toho beads are great for countless craft projects. Of course, they are suitable for any beading technique, from peyote, through various stitches, to hand weaving and on a loom. What's more, Toho beads will work great in a soutache. They are perfect blanks for decorating handbags and shoes, and even clothing. In addition, Toho are beads that will work as tiny spacers. You can also create colorful ankle and wrist bracelets, as well as necklaces and even earrings.