I’ve just had an email from my publisher (I can’t get used to saying that), asking me about the Superduo beads. They understandably prefer not to use brand names in their books, and while this is something I hadn’t thought of, it posed a bit of a problem. Everyone knows what Superduos are, and while some may not be aware of the differences between superduos and other twin oval beads, most know one is infinitely better than the other for certain types of beadwork, in the same way as Japanese seed beads are usually better for precision beading than the European equivalent. The European beads may be of equal quality in the material sense but are usually made differently to the Japanese and are less uniform and consistent in size. These are great for freeform beading, as are the two holed beads.
So I did a little bit of research and here is my reply.
On researching, Superduos are made in the Czech Republic by a company called Matura Beads. I realise that Superduo is actually a brand name, but this serves to differentiate from other two holed oval beads. Superduos are made of pressed glass which make them uniform in shape and perfect for the type of sculptural designs I make. Twin beads, made by Preciosa are made in the same way as seed beads, extruded and cut. This makes them less uniform and probably more suitable for freeform designs. The same results cannot be guaranteed using the same design but one or the other of the beads. Some will work, others simply won't. I left (the creative director) with two bracelets, one made with Superduos, and the other with twin beads..and although they just about worked, the twin bead bracelet is much tighter, therefore stiffer, and slightly shorter. It's difficult to work designs to use both to the best effect.
The difficulty here is that beaders know the Superduo name, and actually prefer them, due to their consistency and uniformity. There are very few tutorials out there specifically for the Preciosa Twin beads, but lots of Superduo patterns...so, although it is a brand name, it is also generically known name for this type of pressed glass two holed bead, of which there is just one. Unfortunately the brand has got ahead of us here. Jablonex also made what they called Superduo beads, and nobody knows if that was legal or not, but either way, they never competed with Matura.
Superduos have been around for around four years, websites and bloggers began discussing them around 2012, and their popularity has soared since then.
The only thing I can suggest, mainly because I use other two-holed beads within the book, like Silky beads, Bi-bo beads and Czechmates Tile beads, which will add to the confusion, is to use the term ‘duo’..which implies Superduo without actually using the brand name.
I await further instruction, but the reply was that it was very helpful.
The best way to think of them is in terms of shape. Twin beads are in the main, oval, though they can be flat on one side. Superduos are oval, but with a raised part, like a little bump, between the two holes on both sides, making them look like a cross is trying to emerge. This makes for much easier sculptural designs as these fit together beautifully, whereas you have to take your chances with twin beads, or spend ages picking out the most similar shapes and sizes to use. By the time you’ve done that, you’ll be bored to death and probably not even bother to start the project.
So to conclude. Superduos are perfect for precise, sculptural designs, while twin beads are perfect for freeform designs. Both have their places on the beading mat, with great colours and finishes, both have great potential for some stunning designs. Just be aware that if you are using twin beads to make a superduo design, you may not get the same result, and you definitely won’t achieve the same measurements.
I'm Teresa, the designer and writer of the tutorials you see, and a bead addict.