In addition to Treasure Beads, Toho offers another line of cylindrical beads called "Aiko Beads" that have been designed especially for bead weaving.
Aiko Beads are top-quality beads manufactured with dedicated, state-of-the art machinery. To honor the company's president's determination to make these the finest beads in the world, they have named these beautiful, delicate beads after Aiko, his beloved wife.
The Toho Company invested in a specialized machine that cost over half a million dollars to produce the Aiko bead. They come out totally consistent in size and shape making them a pleasure to work with.
Since they are totally consistent in shape and size, weaving with them is a delight, and the resulting woven piece has a wonderfully smooth, silken finish. Aiko Beads are available in the same colors as Treasure Beads. Perhaps you have heard of the consistency of Toho's Aiko Beads and are wondering if its really true? Well, I was skeptical too, but after handling and working with them I can tell you that it is! They are absolutely perfect! There is no culling necessary, as every bead it just as it should be. And they have nicely rounded off edges so they will not cut threads when weaving with them.
They are slightly more expensive, but the consistency and quality more than make up for the expense. Aiko's are 10.5/0, they are larger than 11/0 but smaller than a 10/0 and for that reason will not work symetrically with Delicas or Treasures. They can be intermingled for a textural look, if that is what is desired.
Toho is currently producing over 1000 colors in the Aiko line. We are building up our stock to better serve our customers, so please let us know if there are colors you would like us to carry and we will put them on the top of our order list.
The images below illustrate the difference between the Aiko Bead and other cylinder beads. The Aiko (the top or left one) is very consistent, while other cylinder beads miss the mark.
We offer Toho Aiko's in 5 gram tubes or bags, to make it possible to best serve our customers. The more you purchase, the deeper the discount. There are approximately 180 beads per gram, so about 900 beads per tube!