Related Articles


Related Categories


Recently Added


Bead Swaps?

Q: I have been hearing around the net about bead swaps and I admit, I'm intrigued. Has anyone ever participated in one? How do they work? Do you just ship a box of beads around, and take what you want and add more of equal value (and how do you figure their worth?)? If we could get one going here on this newsgroup, I think lots of people might join in. Could someone please tell of their experience (pros AND cons). Maybe then we could arrange one!

A: A swap is what you make it! Generally the best way to have a decent sized swap is to have a swap-meister to organise the whole thing. You can swap beads of different sizes, pieces of self-made jewelry, amulet purses, beaded beads, patterns, etc. You can have a direct swap, or take a leaf from quilting circles, start something and send it around a group for everyone to add a bit (then you get it back finished). The tricky bit is to set the rules and parameters. In direct swaps, people generally supply beads at a certain value, which is then swapped by the organizer with other beads of the same value. The organizer has to worry about things like logistics: How much time does everyone get to supply/make their swap items? Will there be any expenses, and if so, how will the organizer get the costs back (in stamps, cash or beads)? If you have any other queries about this, E-mail me directly, and I'll send you a copy of the swaps I've currently organised, and maybe a copy of one of my past swaps. I participated in an earring swap some time ago. We all sent earrings and postage to a central location. The "swap-meister" then sent us back our allotment of earrings. In this case, we were allowed to send anything up to a certain amount, and we got back as many pairs as we sent. I don't wear earrings, but it was fun to see what other people were doing, and I gave some pairs away to my sister-in-law and friends who do wear them. It isn't something I'd like to do often, but I really enjoyed the one I did participate in. That would be a 'round robin swap box', or at least that's what they've been called when I've participated in them! Mind you, I've only done them with embroidery groups and general craft groups, not beads yet. They can be good fun, if you don't have too many people in the circle (so the box gets back to the originator within a few months), and it doesn't get lost somewhere in the mail (two I have been in have done that some way through the list). As to the "equal value" - you have to trust each other to be fair. We usually say "equal or greater" value, and the person who starts the box usually gets far more back than they sent out, because most people are generous with their replacements. If you have enough spare beads to start a box, put me on the list! I'm in England, by the way.