Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Online resources for jewelry supplies

Claudia64 commented on yesterday's post with a question about purchasing jewelry supplies online for her daughter, and my reply turned out to be way more involved than I thought it would be, so - poof! - it's a blog post.

There are quite a number of online stores for jewelry supplies.  The one that I tend to go to the most when I'm looking for something is Fire Mountain Gems.  They don't have everything, but they have NEARLY everything.  You can search on their website if you know what you want, or you can just browse.  You can sign up to get free catalogs, too.  They come pretty often in the mail - a huge one at least once a year, and littler ones throughout the year.  I would recommend doing that for ideas and inspiration.  Not only do they show their products, but there are also projects, sometimes with step-by-step instructions on how to make the piece.  One warning, though - if you sign up for their e-mails, you will get something nearly every day.  While this is good to know about their sales and for further inspiration, it's dangerous for your checkbook.  I have my e-mails from them go to my Yahoo e-mail that I don't check but once a month or two.

Another good site is Consumer Crafts  They don't have as much as Fire Mountain Gems, but they have some pretty decent sales.  Right now they have one for jewelry supplies - June is Jewelry Month, they say.  Free shipping and 20% off on orders of $100 or more, and up to 75% off on selected beads, kits, tools, and storage.  There's a promo code (Jewelry10), so don't forget to use that!  Wow... if I had some extra money, I think I'd take advantage of this sale!

A surprising source is Oriental Trading Company.  I started getting their catalogs for cheap Halloween toys for trick-or-treating.  I prefer to do that rather than give candy.  The kids seem to like it.  In the last few years, though, they've expanded their product lines into crafts and jewelry supplies.  Their stuff isn't as "nice" as the other sites, but in just a minute of looking around I found some cute cocktail lampwork glass beads.  My warning here is to be careful what you buy.  The materials might not be as good as you'd get elsewhere.  However, if you want to have a "jewelry making party" for young girls (3-5 years old or so), this is definitely the site to get your beads and supplies.  Oooh... I just found some alien lampwork glass beads that are pretty adorable.

For supplies and books, I've been using Amazon a lot.  Fireline is very good for bead stitching, and I've found great prices on Amazon.  It's primarily fishing line, but every time I look at it on Amazon the "Customers who bought this item also bought" section always has more beading supplies and books than fishing supplies.

There are many, many more sites out there for general jewelry supplies and information, but these sites should give you some ideas on what's available.

This doesn't even cover the individual artists who make gorgeous pieces in glass, polymer clay, precious metal clay, etc...  That's a post for another day, but if you can't wait, I do have some of these artists and their websites in my Bead&Button Show post from last week.

Oh - one more thing.  Google is your friend.  I just did a search for "jewelry supplies", and there were 112,000,000 results, including some possible stores in my area.

Thanks for the idea, Claudia!  I hope this will give your daughter many more options for her creations, but I hope she won't bleed you dry doing it!  If at all possible, she should have a project in mind before she buys something, instead of just getting something because it's cheap and cute.  I did that, and now I have thousands of beads that "seemed like a good idea at the time".  Now what I try to do is only get beads I know are versatile enough for a multitude projects or those that I absolutely love or have a use for.  Notice I said "try".  :)

I'd love to see pictures of what your daughter has made, Claudia, or what any of my readers have made - jewelry or other crafts.  Send them to me at traciotte@att.net, and I'll post them on my blog!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Traci. Your comprehensive post is just what we needed to get started. We did Google, but found the results overwhelming since we're newbies and not really sure what we're looking for. Looks like you've pointed us in the right direction.

    Antonia (my 13 yo) has made about a dozen pairs of earrings from a kit she got from Walmart. She also makes hemp bracelets with beads.