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 pays for this subscription. (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 November 2018 “Film Noir” Review
All Vintage Bead Boxes are now themed. This month’s theme was “Film Noir”:
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.
Smoky Quartz Beads
Most months, you’ll get some kind of semiprecious bead in this box (usually chips or small rounds, but occasionally other shapes). I had an idea that used most of these, which you can see below.
I have this fascination with non-traditional crystal shapes like cubes and I made these work in a necklace this month. I have a few left so I could maybe make matching earrings.
Faceted Glass Beads (Rounds)
There were a lot of these and I used a lot of them in my necklace this month, but I still have some left over. These are just nice, basic beads with a lot of design possibilities.
I love that the metal here has the patina of age. I feel like these need to go with other aged (naturally or artificially) metals so I may play around with my liver of sulfur gel to make my findings match these a little better before using them.
Most months, you’ll get seed beads or bugle beads. These are some hex-cut seed beads; not sure of the size but vintage seed bead sizes are, well, inexact compared to contemporary ones, and there is a lot of guessing going on. I used them to help make drops out of some of the other beads seen below.
Oh, how fun. It never occurred to me to make jewelry with old chandelier crystals but now I think I will have to seek more of them out. I haven’t used this yet but I think it really needs to be in the center of a statement-type piece.
Faux Pearl Beads
You’ll get a lot of faux pearl beads in this subscription, too. One thing I love about vintage faux pearls is they come in a lot of colors, shapes, and sizes that are hard to find these days. Anyway, I used a lot of these in my necklace this month.
Faceted Glass Beads (Drops)
These go with the black faceted rounds really well. These are drilled on the long axis (so great for putting onto headpins, or you can make drops with seed beads like I did below).
Here is a necklace I made with both types of faceted glass beads, the smoky quartz beads, the crystal cubes, the faux pearls, and a few of the seed beads. It is rare that I have an idea in my head like this that actually turns out looking like I expected, but it worked this time. I may try a few more necklaces like this with stuff from my stash, I just need a way to hide the Fireline a little better.
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 $3.13 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 am really happy about what I came up with this month, as well. It is super easy for me to design with a limited color palette like this.
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 November. (Also, your box might not match mine exactly since many vintage beads are in short supply.)
Value Breakdown: This box costs $25 + shipping, which means that each of the 8 items in the box has an average cost of $3.13.
What did you think of the November 2018 Vintage Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?
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