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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 July 2020 "Beachcomber" Review
Bargain Bead Box always includes a few clasps and other findings in matching metal tones; this month they were in an antique brass 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. 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.
28 x 30mm Handmade Glazed Porcelain Scallop Shell Pendant
I was almost fooled into thinking this is real, but it's solid instead of scooped out, and flat on the back. Also I don't regularly look at scallop shells. (Real scallops kind of creep me out with all those eyes.) Anyway, this is a fun, beachy focal that reminds me of childhood summers at Sanibel Island.
70 Pieces 4mm Corrugated Spacer Beads
You'll usually get some metal spacer beads which are great if you like to do stringing projects (actually, this whole subscription is great if you like to do stringing projects). I haven't used most of these yet but they match a lot of items in my stash as well as all the metal items (findings, charms, chain) from this package and they are not limited to beach-themed items so they will be handy to have around. (Some of them ended up in a bracelet next to beads having holes too big for use with eyepins -- the smaller hole size here didn't swallow up the end loops.)
16" Strand 4mm Crystal Bicone Beads, Marine Blue Iris
Chinese crystal is another Bargain Bead Box mainstay and you nearly always get enough to do some beadweaving if you want. That's probably how I'll use these, possibly in combination with some bicones from a past shipment. I have made some really sparkly things with Chinese crystal that would've been cost-prohibitive with Swarovski.
8" Strand 8 x 6mm Crystal Rondelle Beads, Marine Blue Opal
We also got some Chinese crystal rondelles. These have such an interesting combination of finishes. I used some of these in a bracelet, which you can see below, but I have a few left to try in other designs.
10g 18 x 13mm Starfish and Scallop Links
These were fun. I also used them in a bracelet. There were just enough of them that I could connect them with a few extra jump rings on the end and get around my whole wrist (but full disclosure, I have very small wrists, so that might not be a design possibility for everyone). You can see how I used them below.
25 Pieces 8mm 4 Petal Bead Caps
You'll often get bead caps as well. These were a little large to use with most of the rounds in this shipment but I am a firm believer in having an enormous beading stash and I have been buying a lot of larger-diameter semiprecious rounds lately so these will get used pretty quickly.
1m 5.7 x 4.8 Steel Figaro Jewelry Chain
I have such a great collection of chain thanks to this subscription. I found this a bit too delicate for the project I had in mind this month but I like figaro chain a lot and I can see either making this into some chain tassels or using it in a lighter weight design. Please note this is steel so you shouldn't use your regular jewelry wire cutters for it as it may mar them. Industrial wire cutters or memory wire cutters will work, though.
5 Pieces 12 x 17mm Shell Charms
You'll usually get some fun themed charms and this month it was these clamshells. These are not too heavy for earrings and are also a good size for a charm bracelet, even if you have wrists on the smaller side.
3 Sets 20 x 22mm Classic Rope-Accent Toggle Clasps
You'll always get a couple of clasps in Bargain Bead Box, most often toggles. These are on the larger side and probably best for a necklace, but I used one in a chunky bracelet and it worked well enough. (Toggles are good for heavy bracelets because the weight of the bracelet keeps them from coming off your wrist.)
4 Pieces 24 x 10mm Detailed Metal Shell Beads
These aren't too big but they are pretty heavy. I would not use them in earrings, these are probably necklace items for me. I can see using them as pendant-style dangles or something of that nature, perhaps with a few crystal or stone beads nearby.
15" Strand 6mm Round Mother of Pearl Shell Beads
Mother of pearl looks kind of plain from far away, but up close you can see that it's a collection of different shades and somewhat uneven colors, giving it an organic look that is perfect for a beach-themed box. These are lightweight, too. I think they might be nice in a piece of jewelry with some gemstones, which tend to be heavier, to balance out the overall weight. Also, these should match a ton of other colors.
27 x 36mm Pewter Ammonite Pendant
There are usually a couple of pendant options, often on the larger side, and this is the second one for the month. I have been seeing a lot of spirals and ammonite motifs in Czech pressed glass lately so I may try to dig some out of my stash to use with this to keep with a spiral shape theme.
5g 4-10mm Mixed Steel Jump Rings
Jump ring mixes give me a lot of anxiety. Once, of my cats knocked all my jump rings (which were organized in little weekly pillbox style containers) on the rug. All colors, all sizes. (As it turns out, they were plated steel, so easy to pick up with a magnet. But they were all mixed together and now I have to root through them whenever I want a few matching ones.) At any rate, I ended up needing a lot of jump rings this month and I managed to stick to only using the ones that came in the box.
5 Pieces 14mm Handmade Porcelain Round Beads, Ivory Glaze
These are big. I used a few of them in a bracelet, though, as I've been wanting to get more comfortable working with large beads lately and these presented a good opportunity.
7" Strand 8mm Agate Round Beads, Turquoise Waves
These are not the highest quality gemstones, perhaps (at least one appears to have a druzy-like effect going on), but if you like the variation evident in natural materials, these are great for that, and there is something about them that does kind of remind me of sand and waves. I like how the natural banding from the agate shows even under the dye.
2 Pieces 18mm Handmade Artisan Lampwork Lentil Beads, Tropical Waves
I like lampwork but don't usually buy it because it's expensive, as beads go. I am always happy to receive it in a subscription box. I used both of these in a bracelet, which you can see below.
7" Strand 6mm Frosted Quartz Round Beads, Aqua Blue
Here is some frosted quartz, which is also dyed like the agate above. (Dye is common in gemstones, and all the ones here appear to be colorfast, although it's still a good idea not to get this wet when you're wearing light colors.) This lacks the characteristic banding of agate (since it is not agate) but the frosted surface reminds me of sea glass.
20 Pieces 8mm Natural Fossil Coral Round Beads
Fossil coral seems to be having a moment lately -- it's showing up in a lot of promotional emails for bead companies. I used a few of these in a bracelet this month. (Bonus cat hair on my beading mat...) I am not sure why these are kind of red around the holes, perhaps they were strung on something red at some point during their travels to the US.
48 Pieces 3mm Crystal Faceted Cube Beads, Light Peach
These are cute and tiny and delicate and also a shape we don't receive very often. These would be great in a small, subtle anklet and there are enough that you could make a whole matching jewelry set if you wanted to go that route.
5 Pieces 12 x 10mm Matte Crystal Faceted Barrel Beads
I am realizing through this subscription just how many different shapes of Chinese crystal there are out there. These are on the larger side and a shape I don't think I've received before. These match my standard color palette pretty well (essentially, "things that will look good with copper") so although I don't know quite what I will do with them yet, they definitely have a place in my stash and will surely turn up in a project soon.
I didn't really have a clear idea of what I wanted to make this month. I actually tried several things and modified them as I went along, which you can see a hint of in the first few images. At first I linked up all the lampwork and porcelain beads, but it ended up being way too long for my wrist, so I shortened that part up a bit. I should also mention that lately I've been curious about something, which is photos of bracelets I've seen where three very different strands all came from the same toggle. So I tried making a bracelet like that, after some trial and error, and it actually didn't get all twisted when wearing it.
I think the way these sit on the wrist works and now that I've tried it once, I'm going to have to play around with this idea more, although I may choose colors that match a little better for future experiments. This many strands would've overwhelmed a smaller toggle.
Verdict: I did not calculate a value for Bargain Bead Box, as explained above. I am sure not going to any beaches anytime soon as the closest ones are all in COVID hotspot states like Florida...but it's nice to get a little reminder of the beach in my mailbox. There were some fun items this month; I think the starfish links and the lampwork beads were my favorites, but there were a lot of good basics in here, too.
Please note that no directions are given and you usually have to supply your own needles, stringing materials, tools, etc. and come up with your own project(s).
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you would receive the August 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 about $0.90 per item.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you think of the July 2020 Bargain Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?