I need to buy more of the jewelry things!
January 3, 2013 10:34 PM   Subscribe

I'm getting a start making jewelry and am looking for suppliers for inexpensive beads and pendants. Most of what I've been using has been cheap stuff from Fire Mountain and I've been really happy with the stuff I've gotten for them in the 75 cents to 2 dollar range but am looking for more variety. I'm more interested in pendants and other focals than beads, but I'm addicted enough to the bead part that I'll look at sites that focus on those too :)

I use a fair amount of natural stone (mostly inexpensive ones, obviously-- I use a lot of jasper, marble, fake jade, coral, mother-of-pearl, stuff like that) but my work mostly is in glass. I particularly like lampwork stuff. I usually make big orders at once but generally don't get a lot of the same item, so places with discounts when you order a lot of assorted stuff are way better for me than places where you have to buy a lot of a single item to get a discount.

I know about looking around on Etsy, eBay and Amazon, but sites like that where you have a lot of items available from different sellers with different prices are frustrating to sort through because of the sheer quantity of sellers with different shipping costs. If you have suggestions for specific sellers on Etsy, Amazon, eBay or any other "marketplace" site I'd be glad to hear them.
posted by NoraReed to Shopping (8 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Have you taken a look at Shipwreck Beads? They are, admittedly, largely bead-oriented, but they have a pretty good selection of pendants and charms (and other jewelry-making stuff) as well.
posted by Vervain at 1:12 AM on January 4, 2013

Beadazzled is one of my favorite bead stores (based in Washington, DC). They have a great selection and very reasonable prices; I've never asked about bulk discounts but it's worth a shot.
posted by orrnyereg at 2:21 AM on January 4, 2013

Marvin Schwab/The Bead Warehouse is I think primarily a seller through gem shows and to stores/jewelers directly, but it looks like they've really expanded their EBay and Etsy operations. I used to go to their open houses in high school and it's like a warehouse crammed full of incredible treasures-- bags and bags of crimp beads, earring backs, strings of peridot, tables of pearls...come to think of it, I have what is probably a lifetime supply of freshwater seed pearls from them. Anyway, they're really great for bulk options. The prices on their Etsy shop are higher than than their warehouse sale in person, but it looks like their EBay store is slightly better on the bulk packs of spacer beads and whatnot. They were always really nice, so if you were interested in specific stones or pieces, I bet you could phone them and work something out.

I also grew up with Beadazzled and they do have very nice things but it is in a very high rent area and their prices reflect that.

Have you been to any of the local gem and mineral shows? Obviously the Tucson one is a much bigger deal, but it looks like the Albuquerque one also has jewelry suppliers exhibiting. They're often very fun (and interesting!) to go to, and if you can't find what you want there, most exhibitors would love to follow up with you afterwards about alternative sourcing. There should be an exhibitors guide if you want to check out the sale options ahead of time. You could also check in with the local club and see if they have anyone who primarily focuses on jewelry to see if they have any suggestions.
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:05 AM on January 4, 2013

I have a ton of Etsy suppliers I like and use - it would be useful to see examples of the style and scale you work with/prefer to make specific recommendations.
posted by ersatzkat at 5:15 AM on January 4, 2013

Response by poster: I haven't been to any of the local shows but will try to hit Bead Fest in Santa Fe, which is one of the big ones, in March. My Etsy shop is linked in my profile if you want examples of the stuff I do. (I hope that's kosher to say-- if it's not I guess I can memail links or post the photos elsewhere.)
posted by NoraReed at 5:55 AM on January 4, 2013

Your necklaces are pretty! I wish that the Intergem show came near you - that would be perfect. Those Murano-inspired glass tongue shapes you use? I see them for a dollar each at the Intergem shows. They are Chinese, of course, not Italian, but the price point is right.

Most of the Etsy suppliers I use are more gemstones and vintage, so that might be a little more expensive than you're looking for, but a thought - if you constrain a search on Etsy to supplies, and then search for "pendant mix" or "pendant lot", you'll get things like this.
posted by ersatzkat at 7:56 AM on January 4, 2013

I've always been partial to artbeads.com
posted by 8dot3 at 10:45 AM on January 4, 2013

I have used Jewelry Supply in the past, but I am not a serious jewelry maker, so I'm not sure of the quality of what they sell.
posted by echo0720 at 1:36 PM on January 4, 2013

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