Vintage Bead Box is a monthly subscription box providing you with beads and findings manufactured between about 1930 and 1970. Choose from a themed box (limited numbers available) or a surprise mix.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
This review is of the Surprise Mix subscription ($25 a month).
About Vintage Bead Box
The Subscription Box: Vintage Bead Box
The Cost: $25 a month. Save with 3 and 6-month subscriptions.
The Products: Beads and findings made from a variety of materials (glass, wood, semi-precious stones, metal, acrylic, etc.). Most were manufactured between 1930 and 1970.
Ships to: US (free), Worldwide (additional shipping charges will apply)
Vintage Bead Box March 2018 Review
Because I get the “Surprise Mix” option, I never know what my Vintage Bead Box will contain. Let’s take a look at what I received this month:
There isn’t a traditional information card with this box because owing to the nature of the contents, every “Surprise Mix” box could be a little different.
A note on prices: Because these beads are vintage, they can’t be purchased separately from any sources. Further, materials, country of manufacture, and more can be a little difficult to determine precisely. Thus, I have opted not to provide prices in this review.
Please note that no directions are given and you have to supply your own needles, stringing materials, tools, and findings.
Mini Faux Pearls
You’ll usually get some faux pearls with this subscription. They vary a lot in color, size, shape, and texture. These are quite small, almost as small as size 8/0 seed beads. I took advantage of that for a bracelet I made this month (see below).
You’ll also usually get some seed beads or bugle beads. This month, it was seed beads for me. I’d estimate these to be about a size 8/0 (they’re not as regularly sized and shaped as modern Japanese seed beads). I used them to make a beaded tube with some of the mini pearls.
I don’t think I’ve ever had alabaster beads before. At any rate, I went with a black and white theme for the piece I made this month, and these provided handy ends to my beaded tube (see below). I still have a few left to try other things with, as well.
Yellow is a color I don’t work with often, so these will be a bit of a challenge for me. I think they could work with black accent beads and findings, or possibly other brightly-colored geometric beads.
The picture doesn’t really do these justice; they are BIG. I think they would work well in either multi-strand necklaces or as a focal in a Y-shaped necklace. They also have large enough holes for use with hemp in macramé.
I love vintage clasps. The yellow here goes with some of the other yellows and greens from this box. I am not sure how I am going to use this yet, but it is something I will gladly hang on to until the right project rolls along.
These are bright and cheery (they’re glass, in case you were wondering). I think these might make good accents in necklaces with flower elements made from Czech shaped beads.
These remind me of Easter eggs. You’ll usually get some acrylic beads with this subscription. I’ve never seen a repeat. There are so many styles of vintage acrylic beads, it’s just a lot of fun to see what turns up in this box. (Acrylic beads are still made, but I feel like there is just a lot more variety among the vintage materials.)
These are also pretty big. I think they would look great in combination with some other natural materials (stone, leather, feathers, bone, wood, shell, etc.). You will occasionally receive beads with an animal origin in this box (I’ve gotten bone a time or two, for example). This is not a problem for me, but I thought it was important to point out in case there are any vegans who prefer not to use such materials.
Here is a bracelet I made using some of the faux pearls, the seed beads, and a few of the alabaster beads. It isn’t exactly what I envisioned when I started, but I think it turned out well. Plus, I got a chance to use some of the black-finished chain and findings I’ve been hoarding.
Verdict: I did not calculate a value for Vintage Bead Box, as explained above, but if you divide the total cost by the number of items, you are paying about $2.78 an item. This seems quite reasonable to me. If you browse Etsy or eBay, you can find similar groupings of vintage beads and findings for prices ranging from $2-$7 (and beyond). I opted for the surprise mix this time, so there is an element of randomness, but if you pay attention, you’ll see coordinating shades of yellow, green, black, and white.
For what it’s worth, everything arrives clean. I suspect at least some of it is from deconstructed vintage jewelry (but honestly, that is OK by me – I get fun beads and things stay out of the landfill). It is all clean and, so far, manufactured pretty well. Some beads show a little wear but that is part of the charm of working with vintage beads. Plus, a lot of the items are unusual and you’d have a hard time finding equivalents made from modern materials.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, each “surprise mix” version of Vintage Bead Box is unique. Also, this subscription ships very early in the month, so your first shipment if you signed up now would come in April.
Value Breakdown: This box cost me $25 + free shipping, which means that each of the 9 bead types in the box has an average cost of $2.78.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you think of the March 2018 Vintage Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?