Sep 23, 2014

A Word About Tribal and Trade Beads

At, we love nothing more than finding incredibly special and unique merchandise for our customers. We do this by fostering long term, ongoing relationships with suppliers who have direct access to beautiful tribal and trade beads. 

Mohamed arrives at
In fact, we recently discovered the most amazing beads during a surprise visit from one such vendor. On a sunny afternoon about a month ago, we received a phone call from Mohamed Drammeh. He was in our area, and wanted to show Janice some beads that were available for purchase. About an hour later, a white van absolutely filled with beads pulled into our parking lot. You can only imagine how excited we all were as we rushed downstairs to dig through the piles of beads.

Thankfully, Mohamed was super kind and accommodating as we bombarded him with questions and requests. Honestly,  I think he might have been having as much fun as we were. After climbing all over the van, combing through countless boxes and asking about almost every bead in every strand of the bunch, we felt that we had a wonderful selection to offer on the website. 

Beads, Beads, Beads!

So, what did we find? Well, some of the beads we loved were antique, meaning that they were truly limited in availability. We knew that we would only be able to offer them once, and we also knew that made them extra special. As Janice always says, "Grab them while you can. Once they're gone, they're gone for good!"

Naturally, we also fell in love with some newly manufactured beads during this buying adventure. However, newly made does not necessarily mean that they will be easily acquired in the future, so we bought every strand he had in the van that day! 

You see, often, we will open a shipment of trade beads to find that the color is quite different from that of the previous batch. There are so many factors that affect the manufacturing of these beads, and dye lots/coloration can vary by as much as 20%. Because these beads are manufactured in limited quantities overseas, we very much have to embrace the unexpected! 

Color Variations in Padres
Our padre beads are a perfect example of this. On Mohamed's first visit, we fell in love with the Blue Green Padres. In fact, so did our customers! They sold out almost immediately after being added to the website. So, we promptly reached out to order more.

Upon receiving our second order of padre beads, we discovered two completely new colors! In place of the Blue Green, we now had Blue Grey and Turquoise Padre beads. Luckily, we discovered that we actually loved these shades just as much as we had loved the Blue Green.

Of course, that is not always the case, so we tend to do just what we advise our customers to do: Grab them before they're gone for good! Tribal and trade beads are gorgeous little pieces of art, and their uniqueness is what we love most about them. That said, it is important to remember that these beads might not come around very often, so you should definitely get them while you can! Happy beading!

Flash Sale Friday...get creative!

Last week Kate went shopping for some special strands at a local gem show, and she brought back six stone strands she couldn't live with...