Beware Buying Discount Beads, They May Not Be A Value

Reject Beads - Image: © Briana Blair

While I was making the Two Blues Pageasus necklace and earring set yesterday, I kept finding reject beads in the two colors that I was using. I’d have to stop, drop the defective bead, then continue on with my work. It was a pain in the butt. I’m actually pretty good at reaching into a bin and picking up just the right number of beads. When I get a defect, I have to reach back in the bin a second time, and pray that the next pick is all beads that I can use.

I know it can be really tempting to buy the cheapest beads that you can find. I should know, I’ve done it. Unfortunately, you end up paying for it in the long run. Sure, it may only cost $1.00 a tube for some beads, but you really do get what you pay for. Most of the discount beads that I’ve bought in the past have been pretty awful. They look pretty until you start working with them. Then you realize that they’re not a uniform size, so loom work or weaving is right out of the question. Anything that needs the beads to be uniform is out. Then you reach in and find beads that have no hole, the hole is too small, the hole is clogged with glass scrap, they’re horribly deformed or sometimes not even whole beads.

There is a part of me that wants to just throw out all the beads that I have and go buy new ones, but I can’t afford that just yet. So, I work with them the best I can. It takes some cleverness though, since a lot of things you might want to do just aren’t possible with highly irregular, crappy beads. Believe me when I say it’s worth it to buy better beads. Yes, you can get 11,000 random beads for $3.60 or 1,600 Delicas for the same price, but you won’t have to throw out anything and you’ll be able to make anything. (Prices from Fire Mountain, where I do all my bead shopping.) You also won’t have to deal with this crap:

Unsorted Beads 2 - Image: © Briana Blair Unsorted Beads 1 - Image: © Briana Blair

Yeah, sorting beads so that you can use them is a nightmare! Eric and I spent a crazy amount of time sorting out beads that I bought along with a huge bag that someone sent me for free. Never again! I’d rather buy the good beads. Oh, and don’t think that just because they come in a tube instead of a bag or mixed box that they’re good. I bought beads from Whim Beads that were $2.50 a tube and they turned out to be very irregular. It’s worth it for you to learn the different kinds of beads and buy the right kind. Preciosa beads are slightly irregular but good, Delicas are amazing. Ming Tree beads are good for projects where uniformity doesn’t matter, and they’re cheap. I intend to buy only Delicas as I replace my supplies. I like them better than anything else.

Just remember, you get what you pay for. Sure, some beads are overpriced *cough*HobbyLobby*cough*, but quality is worth more than the savings of bargain bin beads. If you’re trying to up your game and make really nice jewelry, especially hand weaving, go buy the good beads. You’ll thank me later.


3 thoughts on “Beware Buying Discount Beads, They May Not Be A Value

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  1. I’m sorry it was so difficult for you both. Quite a bit of the beads that came from me were from Fire Mountain. They were originally sorted; however I sent them horribly hodgepodged for lesser $ shipping. Having not worked in more than 7 months has taken it’s toll financially, which is not your worry. If you are reading anything but honesty here, don’t. I’m also commenting here rather than on FB, having read your comment there to another faithful reader. Have a lovely evening 🙂


    1. We love you for the donations San! As I mentioned, I’ve bought beads that I had to sort too! i got a lot of good materials out of mine and yours too, it’s just not something I’ll do by choice in the future.

      Thank you for commenting here, I really appreciate that. I wish everyone would realize how much better it is for a blogger when they comment on the blog post itself.

      Oh, keep your eyes peeled for the post about the Tree of Life project. I made it with some of the green beads and green wire you sent. Your donation helped me make something beautiful! *hug*


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BrianaDragon Creations

Enhance your life with handcrafted fantasy jewelry, metaphysical supplies, herbs, art and other unique creations.

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