Saturday, August 28, 2010

How To Buy Vintage Beads On Etsy

Part I:  The Basics - There are no simple hard and fast rules to follow but as a vintage bead seller I would like to offer some common sense advice.  Buying beads, especially vintage ones, can be an emotional experience.  Beads are beautiful little pieces of art and the old ones have a sense of history that doubles their appeal.  Such a divine feast of unusual beads await us and  inspiration can be spontaneous!  The artist in each of us responds to their color and texture while the designer in us processes their size and shape.  With such a variety of beads to choose from at what point does the price conscious shopper in us kick in?  Sometimes not soon enough.

Part II:  Caveat A Lot - This part is where the reality of the transaction has to be considered.  Since the advent of internet sales we have all gotten a little lazy when it comes to doing our homework.  If no one has told you this before then let me be the first - just because it's on the internet doesn't mean it's accurate.  OK, there now, it's all out in the open.  The internet is awash with beady inaccuracies.  Like old wives' tales bead lore often get handed down without benefit of a little fact checking.  If you are buying vintage because their provenance calls to you then I urge you to do a little research and reading.  C'mon, it's fun and you will enjoy it!  If you could care less then skip this part but remember that age often equals higher prices so maybe you'll reconsider your position. 

Part III:  How Much Do They Really Cost? - My intention here is not to comment on bead prices but I will urge you to consider the "how much for how many" rule.  If seller A has a lot of 50 beads listed for $7.00 & seller B has the same exact beads listed at 12 for $3.25 then which is the better buy?  Now side by side like this the answer is obvious that seller B's beads are actually twice the price of seller A's beads.  However, when you are looking at numerous listings will you take the time to comparison shop this bead?  Probably not.  Here's my suggestion - take your Etsy surfing one step further and check prices.  Search the description of the bead you are looking at in the "supplies" category of the search bar and see what you get.  It might surprise you.  Now there is always the possibility that you don't need or want 50 beads.  If this is the case then take a moment & send a convo to seller A and ask for a half lot.  You'll be surprised how many sellers will make reserved listing just for you with the quantities that you want.  It never hurts to ask.

I will continue this series with more vintage bead information in the near future.  In the meantime please feel free to email me at: or send a convo through Etsy at: with any questions.  Oh and by the way, we are seller A & with rare exceptions we will be happy to list smaller lots of our beads for you.  We love questions and we answer them pretty promptly!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Good Beads Come In Funky Packages - A Great New Etsy Listing

Follow this link to see the listing on Etsy
One of the most important things you discover in the quest for vintage beads is that they can be hidden by funky and sometimes even nasty packaging!  Dirty boxes and filmy looking plastic packaging can hide absolute treasures and a far from pristine outside can often conceal the most perfect vintage glass beads inside.  Case in point are these just listed on Etsy vintage Japanese glass beads.  They were still sealed, well stapled, in a rather cloudy looking plastic bag.  These beads were handmade and still held some release powder in their holes making them look even less appetizing.  Opening the package I discovered what gorgeous beads these actually were.  Snow white rounds with rich emerald green spots and sparkly aventurina trailings.  Follow the above link to see them up close!  Just goes to show that the expression "You can't judge a book by it's cover" applies even when it comes to beads!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Two Fun New Etsy Vintage Bead Listings - Autumn Leaves On Wire & Black Diamond Crystal Mix

I couldn't narrow down my favorite Etsy listing for today so I am previewing two different ones.  I have been saving these lovely vintage leaf beads with wire stems until it got closer to fall.  A welcome break in the weather today brought hope that summer will in fact end and autumn will arrive.  These are just delicious!

The next selection is a mix of vintage Swarovski Black Diamond crystal beads that just about scream "Make me into earrings!"  I hope you will, too.

Select you favorite in my Etsy shop & enjoy!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Just Listed On Etsy: Vintage Intricate Glass Bead Bracelet To Repurpose

I am a little confused about the story behind this vintage bracelet from Japan.  I can't imagine that they would have gone though so much work to create this unusual flowered clasp and then attach the 3 beaded strands so poorly.   Although I can think of a couple of possible reasons.  One, it could have been a customs/shipping thing where it cost less to import a not completely finished piece of jewelry.  The other thought that comes to mind it that they may have been made for tourists.  Regardless of the reason, the clasp is well constructed and it's a great piece to either restring in the original style or redesign (repurpose being the latest buzz word) into a more contemporary piece.   One end of one strand broke free after scanning so it definitely needs some TLC.  The parts are all there waiting for you and all the specifics are in the Etsy listing!

Have at look at it in my Etsy shop:  Vintage Intricate Glass Bead Bracelet

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Recently Listed On Etsy: Vintage Holly Hobbie Guilloche Enamel 30x40mm Cabochons

OK, so if you know me at all you'll realize that these Holly Hobbie cabs are a little "cute" for my taste.  However, I do not discriminate when it comes to beads and bead related items so I try to keep an open mind!  Holly Hobbie designs are the ultimate in childhood innocence and have been a favorite of many since the 1970's.  These 30x40mm cabochons are made of metal in the guilloche method, with the metal having a repetitive machined pattern finished with enamel.  The images are obviously decals which have been sealed to keep them securely adhered to the surface.

Any commercially available bezel will convert these into a locket or they can be used in scrapbooks.  How cute would these be decorating a child's room?  There are six different styles and they are being sold individually in our Etsy shop so you can selected your favorite.  

Savor the cuteness here: Beadbrats Etsy Shop: Holly Hobbie Cabochons

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Listed Today On Etsy: Unique Vintage Glass Pendant Beads

We've had these beautiful & quite unique vintage glass pendant beads for a while but never really did much with them.  I think we used to sell them at bead shows back "in the day" but I haven't seen them in ages.  To me they always had an oriental look and the raised decoration on the front has a slightly glossy surface.  All in all a pretty cool little pendant bead.  OK, not so little since they measure 30mm.  They are sold by the pair - just follow the link to see for yourself: