• Art

Elegant Accessories Made Using Czech Beads Reflect Exquisite Craftsmanship

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Czech beads are known for their intricate designs and a wide range of nuanced colors.

Czech beads are renowned for their rich colors, diverse shapes and sophisticated designs. Their beauty transcends the notion of regular beads and embodies exquisite craftsmanship in each tiny piece.

The beads, a specialty of the Czech Republic, are mainly produced in the northern part of the country and date back to around the 10th century, according to Kiwa Products Co., a Tokyo-based company that imports, sells and manufactures accessories.

“The beads’ high quality has been maintained through craftspeople making them by hand,” said Misaki Shizukusa, 31, from the company’s trade department. “I hear it can sometimes take several months to produce the beads.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun
An earring (center), a hairpin (back), and a cluster made of several beads are all crafted using Czech beads.

The Czech beads, which are generally about 1 to 2 centimeters in size with a hole about a few millimeters in diameter, are categorized into three main types: press beads, which are formed into various shapes using metal molds; fire polish beads, which are made by using fire to melt the surface and produce a luster; and seed beads, which are round and small like plant seeds.

Their shapes vary widely, ranging from droplets and hearts to plant and animal motifs. Some beads are painted to accentuate the designs while others are created by combining different colored glass materials to produce one that is multi-colored.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Czech beads threaded on a nylon string

More than 800 types of Czech beads are available at Kiwa Products’ Asakusabashi store in Taito Ward, Tokyo.

Despite the detailed work, the beads are quite affordable. One set of six beads shaped like red tulips costs ¥187.

According to the company, some customers buy the beads, not only to make accessories but also to just appreciate them as something beautiful to look at.

Well-balanced

I asked Shizukusa for tips on how to create accessories using Czech beads, and she recommended using beads shaped as droplets to form a cluster.

“Have fun making accessories while keeping in mind the season,” Shizukusa said.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A necklace made from a repeated pattern of green and white beads creates a harmonious design.

Customers can select from a wide variety of items including threads, clasps and Czech beads at the company’s stores to create the perfect accessory. They also have an opportunity to learn how to use these materials to make items like necklaces.

“By threading the beads in a specific pattern while considering the shapes and sizes, you can make a well-balanced necklace,” Shizukusa said.

Necklaces made using green and white beads create a harmonious blend of colors.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Misaki Shizukusa

It is advisable to sort the Czech beads by type and size and store them in acrylic cases or something similar for easy access.

Misaki Shizukusa

Born in Fukushima Prefecture in 1992, she graduated from a university in Tokyo before working for an apparel company. In 2016, she joined Kiwa Products, where she is currently in charge of various tasks in the trade department, including importing Czech beads. The company’s 17 stores have sections dedicated to selling and displaying Czech beads.