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!