Bargain Bead Box Subscription Review – April 2020
My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
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 April 2020 “Earth” Review
Bargain Bead Box always includes a few clasps and other findings in matching metal tones; this month they were in a silver finish. Please note, the box came a bit late this month. Bargain Bead Box kept subscribers informed the whole time but basically they were practicing social distancing when packing the shipments and also a few items arrived late, as you might expect. Their email also detailed what they were doing to avoid the problem for future shipments, and they put renewals on hold until the end of the month, so you wouldn’t get charged for more before receiving your beads. I think they handled this very well.
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. 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.
15″ Strand 6 mm Picture Jasper Round Gemstone Beads
There are so many varieties of jasper out there, in lots of different colors, that you can usually find one that’s what you are looking for without spending a lot of money. I’ve been exploring brown tones in gemstones lately (having recently discovered chocolate/coffee moonstone) so this will match a lot of what I’ve got coming in the mail. And 6 mm rounds are really versatile, they can be the focus of a more delicate piece or accent beads along with a bolder focal.
6 Pieces 11 x 9 mm 4-Loop Chandelier Components
I love these because you can connect them into triangle shapes with bits of chain and do really intricate collars and so forth. But I wasn’t really feeling like hauling out the mess of jump rings today (I spilled all my jump rings a year or two ago; handily they were mostly steel so I could pick them up with a magnet, but all colors and sizes are now mixed together and I don’t usually feel like picking out 6 or 12 similar ones…). So I will hold off on that for another day. I may try to order a few more if I can find them online because what I have in mind would probably need about 15 of these to do the way I want.
2 Sets 20 x 31 mm Toggle Clasps
You’ll always get clasps with this subscription. The loop on one of the toggle bars was broken so it’s kind of like getting only one clasp, but I can probably use the loop part in a lariat necklace, so all is not lost. I used one of these in my necklace this month.
12 Pieces 13 x 9 mm Textured Floral Drops
These are a great size for a charm bracelet and I think that’s how I will use them. The loops seem super sturdy and are formed in a way that would be very secure for holding even on a wrist that bumped up against a lot of stuff.
15″ Strand 8 mm Brecciated Jasper Round Gemstone Beads
This is a little darker than most of the brecciated jasper I’ve seen (I used to buy a lot because it was a pretty color and inexpensive) but gemstones do vary in both tone and treatment. Anyway, I thought the dark color of these would look good against the silver so I used them in a necklace, which you can see below.
16″ Strand 4 x 3 mm Crystal Rondelle Beads, Mint Alabaster Bronze
You’ll always get some Chinese crystal in Bargain Bead Box. Sometimes it will be several strands although this month, it was just the rondelles. As it happens, this is part of a color palette I’ve been collecting over the past several years, so I already have a lot in my stash that will work here. One thing I like to do with Chinese crystal is right angle weave because you can get a lot of it for not very much money so it’s more economical for elaborate beadweaving.
30 Pieces 8 mm Scrolled Bead Caps
You’ll get a lot of bead caps in this subscription. I used some this month to add a bit of interesting color and texture to my necklace. These were a great size to go with the brecciated jasper rounds.
5 Pieces 16 x 14 mm Handmade Lampwork Glass “Desert Rain” Beads
I really, really like square lampwork beads. I once spent an embarrassing amount of money to get some lovely red square lampwork beads from Canada. But I digress. These here are a favorite shape and I think the look of the water droplet bumps on the outside is interesting. These are good as a lighter earth tone, as well (since the theme is “earth” and all).
100 Pieces 4 mm Steel Spacer Beads, Silver
Spacer beads are common in this subscription but they are useful. I haven’t done anything with these yet but 4 mm rounds can be used in a lot of patterns and in beadweaving, or really just as spacers between other beads in a similar or larger size. The finish/plating was nicely done.
30 Pieces 7 x 3 mm Fancy Saucer Spacer Beads
I used most of these in a necklace this month. They were relatively similar in diameter to the brecciated jasper rounds, and I’ve been wanting to play with metal accents in strands of larger gemstones lately, so these were useful.
2 Pieces 32 mm Fancy Cutout Round Focal
These have a lot of stringing possibilities. You could also wire beads onto them. They are a little big for earrings for my taste although they are not super heavy. I’m not sure how I will use them yet but that just means they’ll be a good challenge in the future.
42 x 33 mm Brecciated Jasper and Silvertone Brass Oval Focal
A large focal is to be expected with Bargain Bead Box. This is more the color I associate with brecciated jasper. The interesting bezel secures the stone nicely (for all I know it is also glued in?).
24 Pieces 8 mm Sesame Jasper Faceted Round Beads, Dyed
These have a star cut or diamond cut pattern (I’m honestly not sure if those mean the same thing or not…), which is trendy right now, and also kind of expensive. Since these are also a fun, deep pink color in addition to having a nice cut, I am a fan.
2 Pieces Brass Embellished Glue-On Bails
The information card suggests you can use these with a flat stone, and you can, but I’m here to tell you they will also work nicely on donut pendants. If you don’t have anything like that in your stash right now, hold on to them and wait for a sale somewhere (sales happen all the time — did I ever mention how many bead stores’ email lists that I’m on?).
30 Pieces 6 mm Red Jasper Matte Round Beads
In addition to star cut beads, matte gemstones are trendy these days. I think these would look great with some wood beads in a similar size. I would probably use them with brass instead of silver, though, but that may be just me.
15.5″ Strand 4 mm Synthetic Turquoise Round Spacer Beads
I’m not sure what mineral this is, but the quality seems reasonable (probably it is a dyed howlite or magnesite). There are quite a few here and they probably could be used in beadweaving. They also might look good on a length of memory wire with some similarly-sized beads between them every now and then.
1 m 3.4 x 2.8 Steel Jewelry Chain
Last, but not least, we have this month’s chain (you get chain most months). I will issue my standard warning to be careful with your wire cutters as this is steel chain and steel is a bit harder on cutters for jewelry. But chain from this subscription typically has a nice, lasting finish and it’s nice to keep a variety around so you always have what you need.
Here is a project I tried. I’ve been wanting to do more simple stuff with large gemstone rounds, and this was my chance. The mess of wire you see in the first picture is from last month’s package, it doesn’t stay on the spool very well so usually I store it in a little plastic bag. Anyway, I cut a length of wire, added part of the clasp and a crimp bead, and then just started stringing beads in a pattern I found pleasing. The bead caps this month were a pretty good size to use and offered some color contrast to the jasper rounds.
When I got done, I saw that I had exactly two jasper rounds left, so I got some matching headpins and earwires and made a pair of earrings.
Here are my finished pieces. It was pretty simple this month, but if you like to do bead stringing designs, Bargain Bead Box is definitely the subscription box for you.
Verdict: I did not calculate a value for Bargain Bead Box, as explained above. The color palette really worked for me this month — my non-social-distancing wardrobe includes a lot of reds and rust colors, and the small amount of teal/turquoise was a nice accent. There were a ton of gemstones this month and there are still numerous directions I can go with the remaining beads. I would say this was a pretty typical shipment from Bargain Bead Box and even after years of subscribing, I am still very happy that the metal tones all match.
Please note that no directions are given and you have to supply your own needles, stringing materials, tools, etc. and come up with your own project.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you would receive the May 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 April 2020 Bargain Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?