Vintage Bead Box is a monthly DIY craft 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.
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 April 2019 Review
All Vintage Bead Boxes are now themed. This month’s theme was “Titanic”:
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.
Vintage Metal Chain
You’ll receive some chains in this subscription every now and then. This one is interesting because it is in excellent condition and because it has a clasp already attached. I am saving this for the next time I make a beaded pendant as it would be excellent for hanging the pendant from.
I have a lot of cloisonné in my collection but not any that’s oval or egg-shaped. I like to use cloisonné in strung designs to break up a long region of something else (like here, I would insert them among rose quartz beads, since these beads have a bit of pink in them to coordinate, or possibly green aventurine). At any rate, these are perfect for spring projects.
Vintage Clasp and Connectors
I’ve received several clasps in Vintage Bead Box. This clasp is *probably* brass. I don’t think I’ll try to polish it as it would lose some of its charm. The necklace I made this month was rather heavy and this is more delicate, so I think I will hold on to this for a bracelet. As for the connectors, I started planning a design for them in poor light and when I saw them in better light, halfway through my project, I realized they were not a color that matched the findings I’d already used. So, they’ve gone back into my stash to be used another day, with silvertone findings.
Glass Flower Cup Beads
This is a bead shape that’s been around for a long time and is seeing something of a resurgence now, although most of the ones being made these days are a bit smaller. These are good in dangle earrings or used as drops in a necklace, etc.
Glass Leaf Head Pins
I love these. I once looked at buying a bunch of fancy, glass-terminated headpins on Etsy, until I saw how much they usually cost. I was super happy to receive some in this box. I have to do a lot of thinking about how I want to use them since I only have these five.
Obsidian Drop Beads
I used one of these in my necklace this month and have two remaining. I am probably going to use them with some of the topaz-colored faceted glass beads (see below) to make a pair of earrings to match the necklace (also see pictures of that below).
These have a milky, translucent-to-opaque finish. I had a need for rounds about this size (maybe 4mm?) for my design this month so I used quite a few of them. I do have some left if I want to make a coordinating piece. They’re a great size to be used in either earrings or delicate bracelets.
You’ll usually get some seed or bugle beads in Vintage Bead Box. These are a little irregular (vintage seed beads often are) and appear to be roughly a size 8/0, with a square hole, and to be a clear color that is dark-gray-lined. It’s not a look I see on websites often these days but definitely something you would’ve seen decades ago (you can still find vintage seed beads on Etsy with a similar appearance).
Faceted Glass Beads
We received two colors of faceted glass beads this month. These were a topaz color with an AB or rainbow coating. There were a lot of different sizes here and I had to break out my digital caliber to make sure I sorted them into the proper compartments of my beading design tray (my design called for some symmetry so I wanted to not put a 7 mm bead across from a 9 mm bead, etc.). I am planning to use some of the largest ones with the remaining obsidian drops to make earrings to match my necklace.
Faceted Glass Beads
And here is the second set of faceted glass beads. These are all one size (6mm?) and they have an AB coating as well. Not sure how I will use these because I’ve really had a ton of ideas, everything from use in a pattern with contemporary beads, to a delicate bracelet, to something with right-angle weave, etc. There are a lot of possibilities!
I ended up using a chain from a past Vintage Bead Box (along with some new chain I had in my stash). The chain provided this month was a perfectly functional necklace as-is and would be great with just a beaded pendant, so I’m saving it for that purpose. I originally intended to use the connectors from this box but when I looked at them in a better light, I felt they were actually a silver color and not gold, and I was already pretty far along with the goldtone headpins and jump rings, so I found some others in my stash that worked well enough. I used one of the obsidian tear drops, some of the opalite, and some different sizes of the topaz-colored faceted glass beads in a multistrand Art Nouveau style.
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 $2.50 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. I also liked the Art Nouveau theme; every now and then I just enjoy putting together something elaborate and multistranded.
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 May. (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 $2.50 per item.
Keep track of your subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you think of the April 2019 Vintage Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?