Vintage Bead Box DIY Subscription Review – July 2018
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 July 2018 Review
This is my third month receiving a themed box. This month’s theme was “Far East Fantasy”:
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.
I’m not sure what stone these actually are, they have a bit more blue to the color than what I usually think of as jade (but, to be fair, jade comes in several different shades, some of which are reasonably close to this one). There are also a lot of stones out there with “jade” in the name that are dyed versions of more common stones. I realize it can be difficult to identify vintage materials, too, especially when they’re not “new old stock” (i.e., unopened items in original packaging). At any rate, these fit the theme nicely and I used every last one of them in a necklace this month.
I love the slightly irregular shape of these. I haven’t used them yet, but I have had a pearl knotter (for tying small knots between closely-spaced pearls on a strand of silk or other cording) for awhile and I need to start using it, so maybe I can practice making a bracelet with these.
These are most likely Czech glass, as this is a common shape to this day and has been in production for years. I have a fair number of these in other colors in my collection and have been thinking about ideas for those and these will probably be included in whatever gets made for that project.
Faux Pearl Beads
You’ll usually get some faux pearls with this subscription and I have received some wonderful variety in terms of sizes and colors (and sometimes surface texture). These fit the aesthetic I was going for in this month’s necklace in terms of size and shape so I used a handful of them. They have pretty tiny holes but I used a twisted wire needle and was able to get some silk cord through them.
You’ll also usually get one type of metal or metalized beads with this subscription. I would guess these are brass and they are lightweight because they are hollow. I used all of these as well.
I’ve been hoarding acrylic beads in primary colors lately, so while I haven’t used these yet, there are tons of coordinating beads in my stash. As with other acrylic beads, they are lightweight despite the size, which opens up a lot of design possibilities (like big earrings – stone beads this size would weight too much for earrings, but these are fine).
Although I did want to use a pendant in this month’s necklace, this wasn’t quite the right scale for what I had in mind. But I have a ton of cloisonné beads in my stash (I went through a stage where I was obsessed with Asian-inspired beads) so I can easily make good use of this when I find some spare time.
Real cinnabar has mercury in it, so these are actually carved lacquered wood. I used one in a necklace and have one left. In my previously-mentioned Asian-bead-buying stage, I snagged a lot of cinnabar in various shapes and colors so I will have an easy time trying to use the second of these.
Here is a necklace I made with this month’s beads. The clasp and tassel are from my stash. I couldn’t find my gold-tone knot covers so I had to tie my cord directly to the clasp but I used Superglue so it should stay! This was inspired partly by something I saw in a Google image search and partly by something I saw in a catalog.
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 $3.12 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 challenge this month’s items presented for me; I had to get outside my comfort zone a bit as I’m not usually one for big or unusual pendants.
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 August. (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 $3.12 per type of bead.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you think of the July 2018 Vintage Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?