I always love to be able to experiment with new beads and I think the bead industry does a great job of supplying us with new challenges in the form of unusual shapes, sizes and hole orientation. However, I have noticed a recent trend of manufacturers duplicating shapes already in existance. I am thinking about GemDuos and DiamonDuos, which are virtually the same bead. There are a few minor differences, but for beaders and braiders they both do the same job. The Zoliduo was a great new bead to hit the market, but not long afterwards we were presented with the PaisleyDuo. While there are differences between these two beads, again they do pretty much the same job for beaders and braiders. What a shame! There are so many new shapes and sizes which are waiting to be developed and wouldn’t it be great if the bead industry concentrated on new concepts, rather than copying each other? Candy Beads and 2-hole Cabochons, may sound like very different beads, but while one is slightly larger and flatter than the other, they are used in much the same way. If only one was oval, rather than round it could open up new design possibilites. Instead, the minor variation in size and shape means that these two beads are not totally interchangeable in the very precise world of beadweaving. Happily, kumihimo is a little more forgiving, so in most cases you can make the swap, with a few minor tweaks to the design.
Having said all that, we have to work with what we are given. I have spent today amending a tutorial. Last year I was given some beautiful etched glass ZoliDuo beads and had great fun working out how to use them with the Prumihimo disk. I was really pleased with the result and the bracelets I made for myself are some of my most frequently worn designs. The design is very quick to make up and does not require too many beads, which keeps the cost down. The rival bead, the PaisleyDuo works very well in this design, so I wanted to show how it looks made up into a bracelet and I needed to give advice on how it needs to be used slightly differently. The ZoliDuo features a curved front to the bead and a flat back. This means that they have been produced in a right and a left version. The PaisleyDuo is flat on both the front and the back of the bead, which means they can be reversed and do not need to be made in different versions.
So here they are all together. The ZoliDuo bracelets are the two shown fastened and the PaisleyDuo bracelets are shown open. I hope you will agree that they are all very attractive bracelets and there are some subtle differences, but essentially they are the same.