Know Your Beads

Last month, I attended a bead show. As I am always in the market for vintage and unusual beads, I was pretty excited that there would be a vendor who had quite a bit of beads, stones, and other components scarfed up from closed bead shops, and at fairly good prices to boot.

There were glass, crystal, mineral stones, clasps, and whatnot. The vendor and I spoke, and I mentioned that I was in the market for cathedral shaped beads.

Yes, there were some –a few strands of multi-colored 6mm.

“Czech?” I asked.

“Yes. But notice that a few beads on each strand were put on the string as filler. Those aren’t exact shapes of cathedral beads because they’re fillers.”

Hmmmmmm . . . that didn’t sound right, if these were, in fact, genuine. On closer inspection, only a very few of the beads were well-shaped cathedrals. The others were obvious very poorly made imitations. Then I definitely knew that these beads were of Chinese origin.

In fact, looking at the other glass beads closely proved that what was being sold here was mostly poorly made Chinese imitations of high quality Czech beads. Looking through the other bins, I saw that the clasps were cheaply made, the mineral stones were seconds, and most of it could be found in a big box store, but packaged differently.

I’m thinking that the vendor really didn’t know what beads were what. I’d like to think that this is a case of not a well-informed vendor, rather than a vendor who was out to fool beaders.

In a nutshell, caveat emptor.
©Designs by Susan Marie Molloy for Miss Poppy’s Boutique


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