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About Bargain Bead Box
The Subscription Box: Bargain Bead Box
The Cost: $17.95/month
The Products: Designer quality beads in materials ranging from crystal to glass to semiprecious gemstones, plus metal beads and findings. Bargain Bead Box does not send any plastic beads or seed beads.
Ships to: The US (free), Canada for $3.50, and worldwide for a low cost. Contact Bargain Bead Box for affordable international rates.
Bargain Bead Box December 2019 “Merry & Bright” Review
Bargain Bead Box always includes a few clasps and other findings in matching metal tones; this month they were in a silver tone finish. Here’s more about the specific items in the box this month:
There was a letter in the box with some more information on the theme (“Merry and Bright”). The back contained a list of the month’s beads. I just want to say that I really like how they're now indicating whether items are lead free (all the metals are) or nickel free (most of the metals are).
A note on prices: Items like this can come from a variety of different suppliers at many price points depending on how many you buy, etc. I couldn’t find a lot of these exact beads from common sources (e.g., Fire Mountain Gems) and it’s of questionable value to pick something similar because a slight difference in grading or size or material and you are looking at half or double the price (or an even greater difference). Even different colors of the same size and shape of glass beads are priced differently due to materials needed to make the colors.
16" Strand 8 mm Manmade Turquoise Round Beads
Turquoise is actually quite rare and expensive, and can be represented by any number of alternative products, some of which are dyed. Common ones include howlite and magnesite, and I'm not sure which this is. Turquoise also generally has to be stabilized, especially for use in beads (which may see some wear, for example in bracelets) so I like the added details of the lines here.
7.5" Strand 6 x 4 mm Sinkiang Turquoise Faceted Rondelle Beads
I can't find out much about this particular type of turquoise except to say it does seem common in beads and most sites that sell it indicate that it is dyed. That being the case, you may want to apply a fixative or test for colorfastness before wearing these against light-colored clothing. I happen to really like the faceting here, which is somewhat irregular and which captures the essence of these as a natural material. I used some in a bracelet, which you can see below.
40 Pieces 7 mm Lacy Bead Caps
Bead caps are quite common in Bargain Bead Box and I have a ton more in my stash now, thanks to this subscription. What I like about this box is that the metal tones always match so you just need the bare minimum of other findings (e.g., jump rings, headpins, etc.) to complete several pieces of jewelry. I haven't used these yet but they will be great in a strung design.
3 Sets 20 x 22 mm Swirl Patterned Toggle Clasps
You'll also always get clasps in this subscription and that's quite handy. As you'll see below, I've already used two of these.
20 Pieces 7 x 5 mm Fancy Bicone Spacer Beads
These are a very similar size to the turquoise rondelles and I thought they offered a nice texture and color contrast, so I used some of them in a bracelet, which you can see below.
61 x 58 mm Round Poinsettia Focal/Ornament Chandelier
This is quite large and the ornament suggestion is probably a good one. I don't decorate for the holidays because I have cats, but this could be the beginnings of a nice gift. You could wire some red beads or crystals in there to add a bit of color and then hang it from a ribbon.
7 Pieces 19.5 x 15 mm Snowflake Charms
You'll usually get some charms in this subscription. These are lightweight due to the filigree-like design, so they would work pretty well in a bracelet or earrings.
2 Pieces 29 x 25 mm Filigree Wreath Pendants
These could be used in something holiday-themed or you could go in a more springlike direction with them, due to the shapes of the flowers. You could even wire some beads in here to add a bit of color. They are light enough for earrings.
6 Pieces 22.5 x 16 mm Snowflake Round Links
I think it would be kind of fun to wire some seed beads in the center and then make a bracelet out of these, perhaps joining the links with some eyepins holding beads that coordinate with the seed beads. I might have to try that now.
7.5" Strand 6 x 4 mm Glass Top-Drilled Rondelle Beads, Holly Berry Red
Since these are a bit off-center (hence "top-drilled" in the name) I think they would make good (if large) fringe elements or drops in earrings.
5 Pieces 31 x 10 mm Sinkiang Turquoise Teardrop Pendants
Here is more turquoise. I have been really into the gemstone elements Bargain Bead Box has been sending the past few months, but I felt my projects were getting a bit repetitive, so I opted to do something different this time and I haven't used these yet. (FYI, it is common to include spacers on the strands between gemstone beads to prevent damage to the beads during storage and shipping.)
15" Strand 6 mm Frosted Glass Round Beads, Electric Coral
Well, these are bright. They seem a bit odd when considered with the whole grouping (although I guess "bright" is part of the theme name...). I can always use 6 mm rounds in patterns, and I do have orange in my wardrobe, but I'm going to hang onto these for now and go through my stash later to find something that matches them.
4 Pieces 14 mm Cut Glass Crystal Star Beads, Metallic Green Iris
It used to be, you would only see Chinese crystal bicones and rondelles, but more shapes have been popping up lately, which is great. I don't have anything quite like these. They are a little rough at the edges but I think that could be put to good use in a vintage-inspired piece.
7.5" Strand 6-12 mm Tumbled Agate Pebble Beads, Evergreen
I was fascinated with these (not sure why, except I have been into gemstones a lot lately) so I used some to make a minimalist kind of necklace, which you can see below. I still have a few left if I want to make a matching bracelet.
2 Pieces 24 mm Lampwork Glass Christmas Tree Beads
I don't really wear obvious holiday-themed jewelry, myself, but I know people who do and who would definitely enjoy these as part of a gift. (I still have relatives who want me to make them gifts!)
1 m 5 mm Oval Steel Jewelry Chain
You'll get chain pretty much every month. This is a bit chunky but I like to keep various styles on hand. This would be good for a charm bracelet, although I used it in a necklace. You'll see my industrial wire cutters below but if you don't have anything like that, the links here are not soldered and you can just open them with pliers. (You want heavy duty cutters for this since it is steel and will damage your regular jewelry ones.)
8" Chinese Crystal 8 x 6 mm Rondelle Beads, Matte Lime Shimmer
And it wouldn't be Bargain Bead Box without some Chinese crystal bicones or rondelles. I like the half coated finish on these. They could work in a wintry design but this color would also be great for springtime.
I made two things this month since both were simple:
There's not much to the process here. I got some pliers, cutters, crimp pliers, beading wire, and crimps (I don't have any in this antiqued brass finish so I used gold-toned and figured they'd be hard to see), then laid the beads out in a repeating pattern. I had to add a few extra beads because you see on the bead design board, they are side to side rather than in the stringing direction. I used the turquoise rondelles and antiqued brass spacers as well as one of the clasps. Here is the finished bracelet:
Here is a necklace I made:
This was a similar process to the other one, where I just made a string of beads on a length of beading wire, added chain to both ends, and added a clasp. Those yellow-handled cutters are for electricians and will cut heavy chain although, like I said, you could just open links using pliers if you wanted. I had to use some jump rings for this one to attach the clasp to the chain. Everything else was pretty much the same.
Verdict: I did not calculate a value for Bargain Bead Box, as explained above. The information sheet gives a retail value of about $62 and I can believe that value if you were to go out looking for similar beads to purchase individually. Looking at it another way, you are paying a little more than $1 per item since the price is $17.95 and there were 17 items this month. And THAT is a pretty good deal. I liked the variety of gemstone beads this month and there was also a lot to like if you are a fan of using metal elements (links, charms, spacer beads, etc.) in your designs.
Please note that no directions are given and you have to supply your own needles, stringing materials, tools, etc.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you would receive the January 2020 box as your first one if you sign up before the 9th, although they do sometimes offer past boxes on their site, and individual items can sometimes be purchased from Bead Box Bargains.
Value Breakdown: At $17.95 for this subscription, you are paying a little more than $1 per item.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you think of the December 2019 Bargain Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?