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 “Winter Bliss” Review
All Vintage Bead Boxes are now themed. This month’s theme was “Winter Bliss.”
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.
Acrylic beads used to be quite common, and vintage ones are honestly much more interesting than modern ones. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. (Naturally, I would say that when I got some plain white rounds…) Anyway, these were pretty versatile as accent beads; you can see how I used them if you scroll down.
You’ll usually get vintage seed or bugle beads in this subscription. This month, I received bugle beads in a shiny green color. I really need to start using bugle beads more – I have a ton. I think I’ll start hunting for patterns, though I suppose I could also try bead embroidery with these.
You’ll typically get one or two types of glass beads in Vintage Bead Box, as well. These are some thick ovals made of clear glass. Some time I am going to make a really showy necklace using only clear glass and these will fit right in.
These have swirls that sort of remind me of leaves. I think these would look nice on some silk cord, maybe with some metal and/or pearl spacers – just a very simple necklace for days when I don’t want to be too showy.
Venice, Italy is known for glass making and when I went there (goodness, quite a long time ago) I made sure I bought a millefiori bead necklace. So there are some memories here. I’m not just going to make them into another necklace because I do still have the original one I bought in Venice, but I might put them into a cluster pendant or something of that nature.
This is pretty big, honestly a bit bigger than I would typically wear as a pendant. But, I had a fleeting idea of turning it sideways so I tried that and I think it basically worked (see below). All the rhinestones are securely in place and there’s just a nice patina that seems to have come about naturally with age.
These have some foil or something inside that gives them a bit of sparkle, even though they’re simple rounds. There are enough of these to make a bracelet (I have small wrists); perhaps I’d add a few metal spacers and a sparkly tassel and then I’d have something nice for future holiday events.
You’ll often receive at least one type of semiprecious stone beads. Sometimes they are chips, or rounds – really, anything goes. I am not sure what stone these are; although they kind of look like malachite, that is on the expensive side for semiprecious and these are probably just made to look like malachite. At any rate, I thought they went nicely with the pendant so I used most of them in a necklace.
Here is a necklace I made with the stone beads, the acrylic beads, and the pendant. I am not one for wearing giant pendants but I thought I might like this one if it was horizontal instead of vertical. Hooking the tip to something was a challenge because although there are openings, they are tiny. The only thing I could find to fit was this bail, which is not ideal, but you really only notice if you look super close. I also used some vintage chain because there weren’t quite enough of the stone beads to go around. Anyway, I like how this turned out, though I will admit it doesn’t really say “winter bliss” to me.
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). It took me a while to come up with an idea for this box and what I ended up with is nothing like the things that were going through my mind during the unboxing. But that’s part of the fun. Also, I was really impressed that all the stones were still set in the pendant and none were missing.
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 December. (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.
What did you think of the December 2018 Vintage Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?