Where to Buy Beads OnlineWhere can I find a good, reputable supplier to buy beads online from?
This question pops up consistently on the ‘net, and there are good sources for beads online, but before I get to that, however, let me say this:
Beadwork is a tactile hobby. Go into a local bead supply shop, and you’ll discover that the way the materials are merchandised lends itself to touching. You’ve got to feel them if you really want to get a sense for whether or not they’ll work for you in your bead craft projects, and you lose that when shopping for beads online, so before turning to a vendor of beads online, check out what’s available in brick and mortar shops nearby. That isn’t always possible, and if not, then the answer to the question posed above is that thereare a number of reputable vendors to buy beads online from, and you’ll find links to the ones we use below.
Note! If you are doing a beading project involving plastic or simple glass, you don’t need to order these types of beads online!
Wal-Mart’s craft section has plastic beads aplenty, and chain stores like Michael’s have good selections of simple glass and wooden beads, but if you’re in the market for some custom findings or semi-precious stones and you don’t have a specialty shop nearby, the vendors below have a large selection of beads online, and should serve you well:
Sources to Buy Beads Online From
Fire Mountain Gems – A good place to buy beads online. They carry beads of all types, shapes, shades and colors, and their prices are excellent. You will find that the quality is somewhat lesser than some of their competitors, but not to the extent that it makes a noticeable difference to all but another jewelry maker (the flaws that are visible to your eye won’t even be noticed by 99+% of customers out there, and as organics, the simple truth is that they’re not always going to be flawless anyway). Gems from here should serve you well for the vast majority of your online projects.
Rio Grande – The most expensive of the sources we buy beads online from. They exist at the other end of the spectrum from Fire Mountain. Their selection isn’t as large, but you’re getting exquisite quality. I wouldn’t deal with them exclusively, but if you’re looking for gems and beads to use as a centerpiece, Rio is hard to beat! If you’re looking to buy beads online, these guys are excellent!
Black Market Minerals – Falling somewhere in between Fire Mountain and Rio Grande is Black Market. They’re our “emotive favorite” since they’re local for us, but they have a solid online presence with good prices and selections. Definitely a source to bookmark and check back in with often, and a great place to buy beads online!
There are, of course, other sources for beads online, but these are the three we use, and have found them to be excellent. If you’d rather explore the ‘net and find your own sources of beads online, I’m sure you’ll find many other sources, but these three vendors of beads online meet all our needs.