Vintage Bead Box is a monthly subscription box providing you with beads and findings manufactured between about 1930 and 1970. Vintage Bead Box formerly offered a themed box and a surprise mix box. They are transitioning away from the surprise mix box (current subscribers can continue to receive it for the duration of their subscriptions and/or until they switch to the themed boxes) so I am now reviewing the themed box.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
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 May 2018 Review
This is my second month receiving a themed box. This month’s theme was “Bon Voyage”:
There isn’t a traditional information card with this box because, owing to the nature of the contents (i.e., limited supply), every 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.
You’ll usually get some seed beads or bugle beads with this subscription. These are interesting. They’re good for a more organic sort of look, but they’re not very regularly shaped or sized, so beadweaving with them would be iffy. These have a few facets but they’re not necessarily 2-cut seed beads (maybe a few people will know what that means, anyway…).
Just an FYI, but you will get bone beads a couple of times a year. Since bone is porous, it soaks up lots of fun colors, and these are dyed blue. I used a few of these in some earrings, which you can see below.
These are just standard cobalt blue glass beads. I love this color. I used two of these in my project this month but I have plenty left over (and plenty of matching beads in my stash to make something fun).
These are the first of two types of shell beads I received this month. These are drilled discs. They’re perfect for beachy or nautical themed pieces and they’re lightweight. They are somewhat irregular but go great with other natural components.
The coral you see in beads is not an endangered species and is dyed red (or sometimes pink). I have some coral in my collection but no pieces quite this big and none with this shape, so these were a fun addition to the box. I have bought some Tibetan beads lately with coral inlay and these might look nice with those.
Here is the second set of shell beads for the month – actual drilled shells. I don’t have an idea for them yet but what I think I will do is a Google image search and just kind of scroll down until I see something that inspires me. I feel like I need to do something more interesting than just stringing them, you know? I do think they would look good with some goldtone accents and some white seed beads or accent beads.
You’ll usually get one type of metal beads (or sometimes metalized plastic, which is a thing you see with a lot of vintage beads). These came in two sizes and they are really versatile. I’ve actually bought quite a lot of corrugated metal beads lately but these have more of an antique look and would go with some of my brass stampings or vintage brass chain.
You’ll also usually get one or two types of acrylic beads. The white here is nice and clean (and opaque) and definitely fits a nautical theme. I went on a vintage acrylic and Lucite buying binge on Etsy a few weeks ago and I may be able to dig up some navy blue ones from my stash to go with these (maybe I will make some big clusters).
These are fun! I think both will become clasps in wrap bracelets (or macramé bracelets, but I find I rarely have tolerance for macramé lately). I have some other buttons somewhere, but I can’t keep track of them (I seriously have this problem of losing buttons that I don’t understand) so I’m going to do my best to put these in a sensible place.
These are sort of modeled after one of the projects from the Facet Jewelry Bead Stitching Box for April but since the beads were totally different, the results are totally different. (This is actually my third try at a project. My first idea would’ve been cool but although I can knit and I had appropriately-sized knitting needles and silk thread, I can’t knit with beads, so I had to scrap that. My second idea also wasn’t very well thought through. Oh well. Sometimes that happens.) The only things not from this box were the Fireline (thread) and earring hooks.
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 liked the colors this month and feel like they did a good job connecting back to the theme.
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? This subscription ships very early in the month, so your first shipment if you signed up now would come in June. (Also, your box might not match mine exactly since many vintage beads are in short supply.)
Value Breakdown: At $25 for this box, you are paying about $2.78 per item.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you think of the May 2018 Vintage Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?