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.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Vintage Bead Box has moved to a new website. If you are a current subscriber, you’ll need to sign up for a new subscription on their new site ASAP as they have stopped processing renewals on Cratejoy. If you want to sign up for a subscription, the links in this review have been updated to lead you to the new site.
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
The Products: Beads and findings made from a variety of materials (glass, wood, semiprecious stones, metal, acrylic, etc.). Most were manufactured between 1930 and 1970.
Ships to: US (free), Worldwide (additional shipping charges will apply)
Vintage Bead Box March 2019 "Blue Nile" Review
All Vintage Bead Boxes are now themed. This month’s theme was “Blue Nile”:
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 get acrylic beads most months with this subscription. They are never the majority of the box, and they are always fun and different compared to the acrylic beads on the market today. These have the look of little turquoise nuggets but without all the weight. I used some of them in a necklace, which you can see below.
What I like about these is that they are not pristine white but they have a bit of darker coloring in them, that gives them something of an aged look. I find this more interesting and also more suitable for an ancient Egypt-themed box! I used some of these in a necklace.
This is not the first time I have received bone beads in this box, so heads up if you are vegan and this is a problem for you. (Bone beads are generally sourced from animals that were already used for meat.) These have an interesting carved, fluted appearance.
As you can see, these are actually two different shapes, some rounds and some cylinders. I love the cobalt color. I used some of both types in a necklace, which you can see below.
You’ll often get some semiprecious gemstone beads in this box. Sometimes they will be rounds or chips, but other times they will be interesting shapes like these, which I doubt I would be able to find again if I went looking. I haven’t used them yet but I’m going digging through my older stash soon as I used to buy quite a lot of lapis so I should have some coordinating items available.
You’ll usually get one type of metal beads in this subscription. These are large-hole rounds and they are super versatile. I used them as-is without polishing as I think it adds to the overall vintage look of what I made, but you do always have the option of polishing if you’d prefer. These are hollow and lightweight.
Glass Beads (Rectangles)
These are small rectangles, just a bit longer than today’s Toho or Miyuki cubes and a little more irregularly shaped as well. I didn’t receive any seed beads this month (usually you do) but these are pretty close. I used a few of these in my necklace as well.
This is perfect for an Egyptian themed box. I haven’t used it yet because of the style of necklace I chose to make, but I think it would look good incorporated with some natural materials (wood, silk, etc.) into a necklace, so I’m just going to go scrounging through my collection until I find the right combination of items.
I don’t think these are real turquoise but are instead something like magnesite or howlite dyed to look turquoise. I originally had planned to use them in my necklace but hit a snag when I didn’t have any jump rings that worked with them and ran out of wire in the right color so I couldn’t rig something to use instead of jump rings. So, I still have them for now, but I’m sure I’ll come up with a different idea soon (or just make something similar but get ahold of some more wire).
Here is a necklace I made with a whole bunch of beads in the box. I immediately thought “collar” at the Egyptian theme, but I ran out of wire, so it’s kind of like a partial collar. Anyway, it was already getting pretty heavy so making it wider probably wouldn’t have helped.
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 thought everything went together really well and there were a lot of options for what to do with this month’s beads. Luckily I still have a lot of them left over to play with some more. I kind of want to make some larger collar necklaces now.
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 April. (Also, your box might not match mine exactly since many vintage beads are in short supply.)
Value Breakdown: This box costs $25 + free US shipping, which means that each of the 9 items in the box has an average cost of $2.78.
Keep track of your subscriptions. Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you think of the March 2019 Vintage Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?