I am forever on a mission to seek out great suppliers of beads and findings. I am especially interested in great sources of vintage beads. I have found this to be the most difficult of all as far as jewelry supplies goes. So far, I have only really found a handful of online shops that I find worth buying vintage beads from. Others either carry very few vintage beads, carry beads that are widely sold, or are way over priced, in my opinion. As far as vintage goes, I have found, that shops with unique inventory and fair prices is hard to come by. I know that there must be shops out there, that I have yet to discover, that fit this criteria. I am determined to find them.
Some jewelry artists choose not to share their sources, which I can understand. I wish it wasn't so difficult to gather the sources that I have found and continue to look for. In case anyone is interested, I've compiled a list of some of the online shops I have found that carry vintage beads. A lot of them carry newer beads, and findings as well. I have not purchased from every site listed. I'll try and remember to add to this list as I find others or remember any I left out. This list is in no particular order and I will try add any notes I think are important for each shop.
Feel free to leave a comment if you have a source to share. I'll add it to the list if it applies.
The Beadin Path
a nice selection of vintage glass, vintage Lucite, and vintage Swarovski, vintage findings, as well as contemporary beads of all sorts. Easy to navigate. Offers wholesale to qualified customers with no minimum. Free shipping for orders of $25.00 or more. Retail prices can be a little high.
This shop only carries vintage beads. They have glass and plastic sorted by color. New beads added often. Retail only.
A fantastic selection of vintage beads as well as contemporary. You can find a lot of unique beads here. Fair prices. PayPal friendly.
Just vintage beads here, also categorized by color. They offer glass, Lucite, Swarovski, findings, and components. Offer wholesale discounts to qualified customers with orders of $200.00 or more. PayPal friendly.
A mother/daughter run shop. Vintage and contemporary beads. Not a huge variety of vintage.
Bonkers For Beads
An awesome selection of vintage beads, including glass, Lucite, Swarovski, and components. Offers discounts on orders $100.00. PayPal friendly.
A massive collection of vintage beads specializing in hard to find and rare vintage Swarovski. The site isn't the easiest to navigate, but it is interesting to browse. To me, the prices seem a bit high, but if you are looking for rare Swarovski beads, then they most likely will have it. They have a $55.00 minimum when ordering. PayPal friendly.
I found this shop recently and love the variety of vintage Lucite. Wholesale available to qualifying members. I haven't registered for a wholesale account with them yet, so I'm unsure if they have a minimum order amount.
A very nice selection of Vintage glass and Lucite. Fairly reasonably priced. New items added regularly. There is nothing on the site that mentions wholesale, but I haven't asked either. PayPal friendly.
Antique Bead Peddler
Carries both vintage and newer beads. Good vintage variety. Reasonable prices. A new discovery for me, so I don't know too much about it yet.
Wholesale Vintage Beads
Both vintage and contemporary beads offered here. Not a huge selection of vintage, but reasonable prices for sure. PayPal friendly.
East of Oz
This shop also has a store on Etsy (beadbrats). Some very interesting vintage beads in glass and Lucite.
The place to go if you are looking for vintage seed beads.
carries new and vintage beads. A very nice selection of vintage. Requires a minimum purchase of $19.99 before shipping.
Splendor in the Glass
A great selection of unique vintage beads at great prices. They offer excellent customer service, and are highly recommended by many.
Purple Finch Beads
I've heard that this was a great shop for vintage beads. Their home page says they are retiring but offer a few links for items available at 50% off, which include vintage Swarovski and vintage cabs.
Talisman Associates Inc.
This shop carries all kinds of jewelry supplies; new and vintage beads, findings, tools, etc. Their vintage section is categorized by color and offers and nice selection. Reasonable prices. They offer wholesale accounts to qualified customers.
some Etsy shops that carry vintage beads:
The Vintage Vault
Bonkers for Beads
Vintage Bead Boutique
Crescent Moon Creations
general jewelry supply sources (non vintage)
This is the place to go for buying precious metal chain in bulk quantities. They are a wholesale supplier of all metals and findings. One of the few places that offers fair prices on sterling silver and other metals. They display current precious metal prices on their homepage.
The other place to go for bulk chain at fair prices. They require a customer number in order to access their online catalog and prices. Register as a wholesale customer to receive a customer number. They also display current metal prices on their homepage.
A nice one stop shop for all the basics. Good prices. Free shipping with no minimum order requirement.
Rings and Things
Another one stop place for all the basics. Good prices. Easy to navigate.
A really nice place to find vintage inspired findings at prices that are fantastic. You can also find some gemstones, cabs, glass beads, cameos. I like their selection of bead caps, filigree, and other findings. They offer free shipping. Very few of the items are available in precious metal. My first order arrived with a very handy reference chart for all types of measurements that apply to jewelry makers. I refer to mine constantly. PayPal friendly.
an Etsy shop worth mentioning. I love the handmade ear wires, headpins, and rings offered here. The prices are reasonable and the quality is really great. (I'm learning to make my own findings, but know I will still frequent this shop.)
an ebay shop that has tons of tools and findings. I just got an anvil and hammer from here for a great price. They offer all types of products at different price range and quality levels.
also an ebay shop. I've been quite happy with the chain I've purchased here. Only a few delicate varieties of sterling silver, but at a great bulk price.
Main Street Packaging
One last ebay supply source for jewelry boxes. I like the natural craft boxes and buy 100 at a time. Great prices.
There are many Etsy shops I left out that are fantastic sources for all types of beads and supplies. It can be a great source of fairly priced unique finds. I bought from several and have been quite happy with most, if not all of them.
Also, browsing eBay for vintage jewelry and beads in general is something to consider.
I know I left out many shops that I will add as I think of them or discover them. If my bookmarks weren't in such a mangled state, my list would be much longer.