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Bead Collecting

Blue bead Zoo Necklace Silver Beads and Gemstones

I have been collecting beads for years now. The beads I collect vary in their materials, size, shape and age. I like to collect:
  • Old beads-from this century, and from older times, eg antique beads and trade beads.

  • Mainly glass beads (not plastic, unless it is an early plastic, such as bakelite).
  • Amber beads.

  • Gemstone beads.

  • Silver beads.

  • Beads, beads and more beads.

  • I have tried to make egyptian paste beads, and glass beads.
    So many exquisite beads are being made in America these days- check out the Bead Bugle online magazine for a feast for the eyes. I would like to play with some deer antler that I have, and form it into beads, possibly capping the beads with silver.

    Sources of Beads
    Nowadays there are many excellent bead shops, stocking a mouth-watering range of beads. Much fun is to be had hunting for old beads at markets, garage sales, opportunity shops, antique shops and so on - you get really unusual things, and many bargains. Old beads are not really plentiful, so luck plays a large part. Trips overseas can be an excellent chance to collect beads. I have bought wonderful silver beads, trade and antique beads and gemstones in Bali, along with some jewelry tools. Singapore was good for strands of gemstones, and India for glass beads and gemstone beads.

    Bead Stories
    Beads often trigger memories and tales. I'd love to hear some of your bead stories, and publish them on this page, so send them in via the contacts page, or E-mail me. Contribute anything you like about beads and related subjects, please. One of my bead stories follows.

    A Lucky Find
    A few years ago I had my most memorable bead aquisition. I was in the city shopping and in the window of an old shop I noticed a couple of brass bowls holding loose beads. I went in to ask about buying a few of these beads, but the shop lady wanted to sell them all. They were reasonably priced, so I bought them. We chatted, and she said she had some more loose beads out the back. She returned with a shoebox full , and said she had been going to sort them out one day. Her father had run the shop for years and had been tossing odd beads and broken and miscellaneous bits and pieces into a drawer over the years. I bought the shoebox and left my phone number because she was going to go upstairs one day and see what else she could clean out. I couldn't wait to get home to discover just what I had- all sorts of beads, from tiny seed beads, through to large crystal beads, and everything in between. I was very pleased.

    Sometime later the shoplady rang me up. She had gathered together the assorted "debris" that her father had accumulated over his years of trading. Needless to say,I took another trip to her shop. This time she presented me with two plastic supermarket bags full of beads and bits and pieces, which looked like they indeed had been tossed in a drawer or swept up off the floor, and forgotten about. Hardly able to contain my excitement, I paid her and began to walk back to my car, which was parked a long way away from the shop. That amount of loose beads is very heavy... A bag in each hand, my shoulder muscles stretched downwards to their limit, handles cutting into my fingers, I made my way to the car.

    My shoulders ached for a few days, but so what, I was totally absorbed with rummaging through my new treasure chest, discovering wondrous and mysterious items. As the beads were rather dusty and musty, I soaked them in steradent (denture powder)and warm water, which removed the dirt beautifully, and after a rinse the beads sparkled. I could then sort them into colours,sizes and types and store them in their little chests of drawers. Along with beads there were all sorts of other little trinkets to discover and ponder.I'll try and list some of my finds at the end of this story. No matter how often I raked through the pile, new treasures would come to light each time. The remains now live in a plastic crate, unlikely to produce any exciting beads, but nonetheless a wealth of seed beads and other beads lay waiting for someone to clean them up and use them.

    Maybe I should be a bead fairy with them. Anyone in Australia who would like to start up a bead fairy net in Australia with me, please contact me.

    I took a friend who makes beautiful mixed bead necklaces with me the next time I visited the shop. There were many lovely strings of old beads for sale (whole versions of some of the beads in my pile).My friend bought her fill and was well pleased. I guess I bought some too.

    What was in the two bags?
    I couldn't possibly list it all, but here goes.
  • Beads:

  • Amber beads,indian glass beads, crystal beads, seed beads,wooden beads, bone beads,trade beads, wound glass beads, drawn glass beads,and more.
  • other
  • 4 ivory spherical buttons with monkeys heads on them, heaps of bone rings in many sizes,a thin piece of gold in the shape of Australia,small coloured glass cats, dogs and monkeys, metal sequins, a cameo, a tiny celluloid kewpie doll pin, pins with enamelled letters on them, metal parts of old jewelry, broken pottery doll head, cat brooches,toy watches, various pieces of carved bone and more.

    Click the link below to read a great bead story from one of my visitors!

    Visitor Bead Stories

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