If you are someone that enjoys making handmade beaded jewelry, or more importantly, someone that sells handmade beaded jewelry, you will quickly learn that beading and jewelry making supplies can be very expensive, and that if you plan on turning around any kind of profit, you will need to keep your costs as low as possible. You don't want to compromise your quality in order to accomplish this though, so your main goal is to find high-quality supplies at low costs. Sounds impossible, but it's not. From personal experience, I always chose large craft stores such as Michaels, Joann's, and AC Moore for my jewelry making supplies. I liked the idea of walking up and down the aisles picking out my beads. But what I quickly learned is that the quality of beads in these stores was not all that great, and I was spending a fortune for a package of beads I only ended up using a few of.
It was at that point I did a little research and took a chance at shopping at some wholesale jewelry making supply stores. Over the years, I've found a few that meet my needs and have been a faithful customer ever since. In fact, I don't even bother wasting my time at the large chain craft stores anymore.
Here are some of the best beading supply stores online for all of your jewelry making needs.
Fusion Beads offers an extremely large catalog of jewelry supplies covering all types of beads, findings, stringing materials, and even a few non-beading related supplies. Besides just supplies, Fusion Beads also has sections on their website for staff picks, color ideas, and tutorials so even if you're a beginner, you won't be overwhelmed.
Unlike most other beading companies, Fusion Beads does not sell their beads by length, but rather by individual bead so make sure you've done your research as to how many beads you will really need to accomplish your goal before randomly loading up your cart. I have found Fusion Beads to be pretty competitive as far as pricing, but make sure you do your research on what other beading companies are offering for price per bead before checking out. I also suggest bookmarking this site as they run specials on their homepage constantly.
The best feature of Fusion Beads is that they offer Free Shipping with no minimum order. This will save you a ton of money in the end as you are not pressured to shop for unnecessary items just to get to your free shipping threshold.
Artbeads offers perhaps the largest beading supply catalog among its fellow competitors. I have found their prices to be most competitive, especially when you take into account their weekly promotions that offer hefty savings. Besides the large catalog, Artbeads is known for their wonderful customer service, high-quality materials, and lifetime guarantees.
Artbeads also offers free shipping on all purchases over $10.00. This is obviously not as great a deal as Fusion Beads, but it is nearly impossible to ONLY spend $10.00 anyway, so you will not even notice this minor requirement.
Artbeads also offers regular deals in which customers receive percentages off their total order depending on how much they spend. This fact, coupled with the weekly promotions and free shipping makes Artbeads a very hard shop to beat.
Fire Mountain Gems
Fire Mountain Gems has been around for over 30 years which makes this store popular due to its history of credibility. They have high-quality stringing items, but no longer offer their lifetime guarantees on beads. They also don't always have everything I need. I sometimes find that I have a few items on back-order I will need to go back for. All-in-all, their prices are good, but keep in mind that they sell their beads in per-inch strands, so do your math before calculating how much each bead costs before settling with Fire Mountain Gems.
Another nice feature of Fire Mountain Gems is that they offer Jewelry Maker's Catalogs complete with design ideas for products. You can request a free catalog here: http://www.firemountaingems.com/catreq.asp
Fiire Mountain Gems does offer tutorials and contests for beads, but does not currently offer free shipping which you will need to factor in your total price before ultimately deciding to shop with them.
A few years ago, I never shopped at any other beading store besides Gem Mall. Though I still use Gem Mall, and would still recommend it, they have recently decided to put a minimum requirement of $50.00 for their free shipping policy. Whereas before you could checkout just a few items, now you are forced to buy more than you possibly need, so if you plan on using Gem Mall, I suggest you do so when you need to buy a lot of beads, as the shipping prices will significantly raise your price-per-bead costs.
Gem Mall offers high-quality beads and very rarely is backordered on any item which is a plus, but is perhaps best known for their large selection of gorgeous Morano Foil Glass pendants. I have yet to find another bead supply store that carries as many foil glass pendents as Gem Mall, and especially of this quality, so if you are in the market for pendents, Gem Mall is your store!
© 2010 Alissa
Katelon Jeffereys on October 18, 2019:
Thanks so much for the suggestions!
Ibidii on December 07, 2014:
Thank you for your HubPage. I ordered twice from fire mountain in Oregon. I am very happy with their quick 3 day delivery! I will check out the others you mentioned here! I made my first set of bracelets and made a HubPage about it yesterday!
Janice Pridgen from Bellingham WA on November 03, 2012:
have you tried Tophatter.com for your bead supplies. I have found that not only is it a fun site but you also get good deals on findings, beads etc. I bid on magnetic fasteners (pkg of 4) and paid less than I would have paid for two of them at JoAnn's. I've tried those sites listed and you are right in the fact they have almost everything you would need.
ayliss08 from Guangzhou, Guangdong, China on March 01, 2012:
Love your article! You have really made an excellent search on wholesale jewelry making supplies. I enjoy reading it, and benefit a lot. I like the ArtBeads best. I Very informative hub!
Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 05, 2011:
I love Arts Beads and have used FMG and Fusion Beads a couple times, too. I will have to check out Gem Mall!