…A Guide For The Aspiring Bead Artist
by Warren S. Feld

Excerpts From This Ever-Evolving Tale.....

I don’t mean to drag a poor Elephant by its tail, kicking and screaming, into our bead world against its wishes. Nor do I perceive the elephant to be a threat, like you might see an Elephant in the boudoir, or the fine china store. And I don’t want you to shut your eyes and pretend not to notice that this Elephant is here, standing shoulder to shoulder with every beader and jewelry maker around.

The Elephant is not a joke. And the fact that it is “Rogue” makes it more important than ever to figure out why it’s here, among size #10 English beading needles, and Czech size 11/0 seed beads, and Austrian crystal beads. It seems so worldly, yet other-worldly, our Elephant. It’s not our muse. It’s not our Cassandra. It has no secret plan or strategy. It does not depend on its size to make its point. It does not hesitate to stomp and chomp and clomp because the beads before it are raku or glass or gemstone or crystal or metal or plastic. But a Rogue Elephant in the middle of our craft room forces upon us a completely different logic, so that we can make sense of it all.|



Buyer Beware

The beading and jewelry making businesses, unfortunately, come with lots of scams. Because of this, it is important to learn what types of things come up where businesses try to take advantage. And it is important to develop relationships of trust with your various suppliers, including your local bead store.

Some examples:

1. Pre-labeled packages of metal beads and findings with the label “S. Silver” or “Sterling”. You’ll find these in many of your local craft stores. These metal beads and findings are not sterling silver. In the one case, the word “Sterling” is actually the brand name. The labels lead you to assume that what you are buying is real, .925 sterling silver. In most cases, these parts are metalized plastic.

2. You bought chain you thought was sterling, and it had a tag on it stamped “.925”, which is the marking for sterling. However, in this case, while the tag was sterling, the chain was not. The chain was plated steel.

3. You thought you got a steal buying Swarovski crystal at half the price you’ve seen online, only to find out, as the finishes quickly wear off, that you bought Chinese crystal instead – an inferior product.

4. Someone told you the Alpaca Silver bracelet you bought had 70% silver in it. Sorry, Alpaca Silver is nickel, not silver. (As is Raj Silver and German Silver – nickel).

5. The store clerk weighs out the pendant piece you want, and charges you by the gram. He tells you this piece is an expensive gemstone. You go around the corner to another bead store, and find out you purchased ceramic raku – a material not overly expensive, and definitely not sold by gram weight.

6. The red glass beads you bought were not red glass, but rather clear beads with a red coating on them. When you wore your bracelet for the first time, the coating chipped off – just like nail polish chips off your fingernails.

7. You were charged $50.00 for the purple handle pliers. The store clerk told you that the purple color meant that this was the highest quality pliers. Until someone else pointed out you could get the same thing for $4.00 at the local craft store. The purple was one of many “fashion” colors used on pliers handles these days.

8. Some stores repackage other companies’ products, or put their own color coding on things, to make it more difficult for you to find the same things elsewhere, and thus force you to come back to the store to purchase these things. The seed beads marked “Miyuki” might not be. The “420A” color code on the Miyuki bead tube might not be the Miyuki color code.

9. The class instructor tells you that the slik bead cord you are using in class can only be bought through that instructor. She, in fact, has taken the cord out of its original packaging, replacing it with her own packaging. This cord can be purchased anywhere.

10. The class instructor tells you to use color 409A. You do, and the piece looks different that the project sample she presented in class. You find out later, that she really used color 310F, but didn’t want any of her students to be able to duplicate her work.


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