Bead Hunting.

Q: I am just curious, how many of you look for necklaces at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales to find cheap beads? I am new at this hunting, and it has become a passion.

A: Yes, yes, and yes again!! That is a great way to find wonderful, sometimes, one of a kind beads. I do it all the time! Garage sales, thrift stores, church sales, and some antique stores (you just have to be a good judge of prices and know your beads, there are still bargains to be had). Also, put the word out to your relatives. Someone invariably comes up with a bunch of broken stuff. Go to flea markets and ask the dealers to save their broken stuff for you and tell them you will buy it cheap. Often they are most accommodating. It is a great way to get vintage Japanese beads. Yep! I do the same thing! My vintage crystal collection is huge nowadays due to these bargains! Plus, now I even have family members looking for (AND FINDING!) old beads and necklaces for me. One word of advice... if you find some nice old glass / crystals, clean them. You'd be amazed! Gorgeous old beads turn out twice as nice after I throw them in the jewelry cleaner for a few minutes, and these are the ones I didn't even think were dirty. I think that garage sales, flea markets, and thrift stores are the best places to get great prices on vintage jewelry. The antique stores I've checked in generally tend to charge more than the jewelry is actually worth (even by vintage standards), which makes cultivating the piece for the beads not very cost effective. I love to check auctions for the beads I love. In my small town area, they are not picked over, or bid up. Most of that "gaudy jewelry" in estate sales goes in one big lot, and sells for about $5 or $6. It is a treasure trove!! My husbands loves to go to yeard sales every weekend. I always tag along to check out their jewelry selection. I have gotten some neat glass cabachons and crystal this way. I also got some cool glass buttons.