Tips for Buying Beads and Jewelry Supplies Secondhand

comments (2) April 16th, 2008     

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susanstars Susan Beal, contributor
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Fascinating vintage jewelry pieces can be found at flea markets, thrift stores, and estate sales.

Fascinating vintage jewelry pieces can be found at flea markets, thrift stores, and estate sales.

Photo: Susan Beal

I love to reuse vintage costume jewelry for my own projects, and thrift stores, flea markets, and estate sales are some of my favorite places to look for supplies. Here are some of my tips for spotting good jewelry finds amid all the junk:

The Components: Look past the current design to the individual components. The necklace you're eyeing may be busy or clunky as is, but the individual beads might be just the thing for crreating an elegant pair of earrings. The chain may be tarnished, but the clasp might be gorgeous!

The Tiny Things: Keep an eye out for smaller bits such as charms, unusual findings, and other pretty little things to mix in with your newer supplies.

Re-style: Look at your finds in a whole new light. A glittering brooch could be a gorgeous centerpiece for a necklace, and a single earring could become a fantastic pendant.

Look for the Good: Think about which potential pieces will easily clean up or can be taken apart, and focus on those rather than badly damaged or stiffly soldered designs.

Negotiate: Bargain at yard sales or flea markets if you see multiple pieces you like.

Online Treasures: You can search for "costume jewelry lot" or "vintage beads" on eBay, and sort according to price, materials, or anything else.

posted in: vintage, charms

Comments (2)

trusk4u writes: Great tips Susan! I haven't had much luck lately finding "treasures", but I've been taking apart some of my old pieces and re-using the components.
Posted: 8:39 pm on June 3rd
crafty_gal writes: Thanks for the great tips Susan! Etsy.com is also a great source for vintage finds.
Posted: 1:16 pm on April 16th
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