Vintage Bead Box DIY Subscription Review – September 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 September 2018 “Dotty” Review
This is my third month receiving a themed box. This month’s theme was “Dotty”:
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. This time there was a second card (both cards were one-sided) with more information about the theme.
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.
Black Pyrite Beads
I had never heard of black pyrite before so I looked it up and it is a real thing. (I did some work with regular pyrite, the kind that gets called “Fool’s Gold” as a catalyst in grad school.) These are in really good condition; I bought some other pyrite beads once and they oxidized in less than 10 years, but these have a nice smooth surface.
These are graduated in size and very lightweight. You’ll get a lot of acrylic in this subscription but I love vintage acrylic beads in a way that I just don’t like modern plastic. There are so many more sizes and shapes, which allow you to do some really fun things. I used a few of these in a necklace this month.
You’ll get some faux pearls pretty much every month with this subscription. They’ll come in a variety of colors, shapes, and even textures, but these are a relatively standard pink/mauve color that will work in a lot of designs.
These are big and kind of heavy. I used them in a multi-strand necklace this month but if I had it to do over again, I might put them in a single-stranded necklace because they can definitely hold their own as focal pieces.
You’ll usually get some seed beads or bugle beads with this subscription. These are a fun color and a bit more vibrant than the colors I usually see. Sometimes vintage seed beads are a bit irregularly sized, but they work well as spacers or in bead embroidery.
These are fun. There is so much texture going on here, and the shape is unusual as well. I used a lot of these in a necklace this month.
Most months, you’ll also get some metal beads. These are in excellent condition without a lot of oxidation and they’re hollow so they’re lightweight (solid metal beads can get heavy pretty fast). They have some fun textural details, as well.
Vintage Clip-On Earrings
Every box this month received a pair of vintage clip on earrings. You can wear them as is or use them in crafts (like these bracelets). I long ago came to the conclusion that it was too expensive to buy a ton of vintage cluster earrings and I have been very interested in making my own using beads, wire, and perforated discs. I am happy to have these to inspect more closely for details on construction.
Here is a necklace I made with some of this month’s beads. In retrospect, I think it’s a bit too busy and probably would’ve been better with only two strands (the top and bottom ones), but I could only find three-strand connectors. I used some rather heavy-duty vintage chain I bought on Etsy to complete the piece.
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). Vintage cluster earrings definitely cost way more than $3.12 per pair.
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 October. (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 item.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you think of the August 2018 Vintage Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?