Vintage Bead Box Subscription Review – November 2019
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/month
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: The US (free), Worldwide (additional shipping charges will apply)
Vintage Bead Box November 2019 Review
All Vintage Bead Boxes are now themed. This month’s theme was “World of Tomorrow”:
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 often get seed beads or bugle beads in Vintage Bead Box. This month I got these pretty ones with an iris finish. They aren’t the most even in size and shape but they actually did work for a beadweaving-type project, which you can see below.
Faux Pearl Beads
Faux pearls are common in this subscription and that’s OK because I have seen so many different sizes, shapes, textures, and finishes. These are graduated and could easily be strung as part of a necklace or maybe a chunky bracelet. You can extend them a bit with some spacer beads (like the metallic spacers that came in this box, which you can see below).
Faux Pearl Beads
Here is a second set of faux pearls. I guess I would call these “baroque rice” pearls. I had a vague idea they might look good in right-angle weave so I tried a little experiment with some of them. (Scroll down to see it.) I have plenty left over if I want to try a few variations on my initial theme.
Vintage Watch Face
I haven’t used this yet because I need to go get the battery changed and make sure it’s still functional. (If it’s not, it can still be used, but in something meant to be more artistic than anything else.) I do appreciate getting it as I think making a band for it will be a nice challenge, and I kind of like that it has taken on an aged patina.
Faceted Glass Beads
These are “English cut” (it has to do with the faceting pattern) and some of them do show a little wear but I think that adds charm. I used some of them in a bracelet this month. English cut beads are a nice alternative to standard firepolished rounds for use in patterns and/or beadweaving.
You’ll often receive some gemstone beads in this box. These are fluorite chips; fluorite comes in a nice variety of shades ranging from clear and green all the way through purple. I need some new ideas for gemstone chips as I have quite a lot of them. I have seen some minimalist bracelets on Etsy that look promising in terms of ideas.
These are basic, clear glass rounds with at least a partial AB coating (see the iridescence in the photo?). I used a few of them in my bracelet this month but I have more left over to play with.
Metal Spacer Beads
I think these are really cool. I haven’t used them yet because I want to incorporate them into some strung jewelry with black gemstones (onyx or obsidian or perhaps a banded agate). They would also work on cord with other large-hole beads. There are a lot of possibilities here.
I think these are black although they look a touch bluish in the photo. That may be a reflection of the light in the room (kind of like how you can see my reflection holding the camera in the beads…). Anyway, there are lots of cool vintage acrylic beads in shapes and finishes that aren’t really made anymore. These are a little more basic than some but would be great in a piece with some showier beads alongside. Plus they are lightweight.
Here are some photos of my bracelet-making process for the month:
Gathering my materials. I didn’t end up using the stopper spring thing, it was sitting there from my previous project. I like the foam mats on top of cafeteria-style trays because you can easily stash your project away if you need to leave for a moment.
I liked the interplay between the clear glass beads and the seed bead coating so I thought I would try to use them together.
I added a couple of right-angle weave units here incorporating the English cut glass beads and the rice-shaped pearls.
I just kept going for awhile.
I decided too much thread was showing. I couldn’t fix it everywhere but I went back around with extra seed beads at the top and bottom of each round glass bead (shown only on the bottom of the right-hand bead so far).
Then I added a seed bead loop and a toggle clasp. This was just the closest clasp I had on hand (it came in the PotomacBeads Best Bead Box) but pretty much any color would’ve worked.
Here is the finished bracelet. I am not sure I’d go for this color scheme again but I did manage to use four very different bead types from the box and I learned a few things here that I would use next time I try to make something similar (like, the right-angle weave units still have too much thread showing and probably need some seed beads added to hide that, and also that it is hard to do right-angle weave with substantially differently sized beads in the same square).
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). There were so many round beads this month! I actually found that to be kind of a fun design challenge.
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 $2.78 per item.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you think of the November 2019 Vintage Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?
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