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Purchasing wholesale beads may be a little daunting at first, especially when you see terminology you might not understand. Here are some of the terms you may see when you purchase beads in bulk:
• Mass: A mass of beads holds approximately 1200 beads, while a half mass holds approximately 600.
• Gross: A gross contains 144 beads.
• Hank: A hank of beads contains enough beads to make 12, 12-inch strands. The number of beads in a hank depends on the size of the bead. They can range anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 beads or more when purchasing seed beads.
• Mille: A mille holds 1000 pieces.
• Ounce: 1 ounce equals 28 grams.
• Grams: 448 grams equal 1 pound.
• Kilo: A kilo equals 1000 grams or 2.2 pounds.
These measurements refer to all beads – glass, gemstone, and precious stone beads.
Some wholesalers will only sell to clients with resale licenses, and many others require minimum orders of $100 or more for a client to establish themselves with their wholesale business. They want to know that you are a reputable bead buyer just as much as you want to know they are a reputable bead wholesaler. They may ask for cash payment for the first purchase, too. Once you establish yourself as a reputable buyer, you may qualify for credit with the bead wholesaler, and you may get special rates when you place large orders. If you establish credit, you may also get a discount for paying your bill early. Check with your bead wholesaler to see if you can establish credit and keep an ongoing account with them.
Some bead and jewelry wholesalers will only sell to those with a wholesale or resale number. If you don't have a resale number, you'll need to find out the requirements for obtaining a number in your community. Each state and city has regulations regarding who can obtain a resale number. Generally, you have to have a business license and indicate you are in business for profit. Once you obtain a resale number, you are free to order from many wholesalers and distributors online and across the country.
Buying cheap seed beads may be tempting, but as we've seen, they can lack uniform size and height. There's another reason not to buy these beads. Usually, cheap seed beads are sold in mixtures of many different colors. Seed beads are tiny, and sorting these little bitty beads can be a major drag. It takes time away from your beading projects, and you'll probably never get them all sorted correctly. It makes more sense to spend a little more and buy seed beads by color, rather than in aggravating cheap mixtures.
Yes, you can purchase crystal beads, like fine Swarovski crystal beads, at wholesale prices. Many dealers carry large inventories of Swarovski beads at wholesale prices, or give discounts when you buy more than one or two beads at a time. There are some things to look for when you purchase wholesale Swarovski beads, or any discount high-end beads, for that matter. Make sure you're dealing with a reputable dealer with a history of serving customers. Also look for perfect uniformity in the beads, and crystal clarity because of the type of glass Swarovski uses in their crystals. There are cheap imitations everywhere, so beware!
A good online wholesale bead supply store carries much more than wholesale beads. You can find wholesale jewelry making supplies such as tools, wire, chain, stringing cable, books and findings. Wholesale beads such as faceted gemstones, pearls, glass beads, gold beads and silver beads will also be sold at a quantity discount. You can also find pendants and beads made out of semi precious stones and crystals for resale.
Some regular online bead stores offer wholesale prices based on the quantity that you buy. Others offer an additional 10% discount to customers with resale certificates or business licenses on file. Wholesale bead supply stores usually aim at larger jewelry design companies. Still, the jewelry hobbyist can buy mixes of wholesale beads such as jet black beads, jade and emerald glass beads, and multicolor small spacer beads at discount prices.
Sure, you can buy cheap, discount beads just about anywhere. However, if you buy cheap beads, your finished designs may lack quality and luster, and that means they won't sell for higher prices. Cheap beads are cheap for a reason, and usually that reason is lack of uniformity and quality. For example, many cheap seed beads aren't glass at all, but cheap plastic. They look cheap and they cannot have the gloss and sheen glass beads have. Many cheap seed beads are also non-uniform in size, which can ruin a design that relies on evenness and balance. Weaving these cheap beads on a loom or off-loom can be a nightmare because they never line up correctly.
When you look for the perfect wholesaler, you should look for a company that has been in business for a while. If you're not sure about their quality and service, ask for references from some satisfied customers. Most reputable wholesale bead dealers will gladly offer references if they are requested. If they won't, perhaps it's time to look somewhere else for bead deals. In addition, they should carry a wide variety of wholesale jewelry supplies and findings. If you need tools, storage solutions, books, and findings, they should carry them all. That saves you time and energy when you shop, and ensures you'll be getting the same quality items from start to finish.
Some online dealers exclusively handle wholesale freshwater pearls. Some of these dealers import the pearls directly from China and Japan, and some even own their own pearl beds in the Orient. Often, these dealers sell completed jewelry along with loose pearls for jewelry design. When choosing wholesale freshwater pearls, make sure to understand where the dealer obtains their pearls, and how they are treated after harvesting. Some pearl dealers coat their pearls with lacquer to make them appear glossy, giving cheap pearls additional luster. Reputable dealers will offer a wide selection of wholesale freshwater pearls because they have access to more pearls and more pearl dealers.
If you don't have a resale number, and really don't want to get one, no worries! Many bead wholesalers will sell to the public without a resale number. Some change slightly higher prices than their true wholesale prices, while others reduce retail prices according to the size of your purchase. The more you order at one time, the more you save. It makes sense to buy your bead supplies in bulk, so you have enough supplies on hand at any time, and it saves money, too. Many dealers also do not advertise their quantity discounts, so before you pay for your purchases, be sure to ask about discounts that might be available.
Bead wholesalers that serve the retail and jewelry making community offer a wide range of glass beads, semi precious beads and pearls. These beads can come from all over the world. One country that makes some of the most beautiful glass beads is India. Whether you buy Indian beads from a wholesale bead supply store, your local purveyor, or your online bead sources, they'll likely have a good amount of white powder--or kiln wash--inside. This white powder is used to make the beads and it gives them a dusty appearance. The powder is non-toxic, just rinse with tap water to remove the residue.
As a retailer or jewelry designer, finding a reputable wholesale jewelry supplier can be difficult. Your supplier must be reputable and provide quality materials that will ensure the quality of your own products. You can find most of your wholesale jewelry supplies at various online wholesale bead supply stores. Wholesale beading supplies such as points, tongues, gemstone donuts, drop and heart pendants, sterling silver items and silver findings are sold along with wholesale gemstone and glass beads. They are offered at bulk rates, but bear in mind these rates are only applicable to licensed businesses.
Today, large chain stores that buy in bulk can often sell their wares even cheaper than some wholesalers. In addition, many wholesalers buy from other wholesalers and mark up their prices as a sort of middle-man supplier. And, many online bead stores offer quantity discounts that add up to more savings than purchasing the items wholesale. So, before you purchase anything from a wholesaler, it pays to shop around. Even though they may be offering discounts, you may find good, cheap beads online or even in your local area.
The term "Wholesale" is many times misused. A true wholesale company sells only to licensed businesses who resell the products. Many on-line jewelry supply companies offer wholesale prices to anyone who purchases in quantity. Wholesale jewelry supplies, including wholesale beads and wholesale jewelry findings can be found online. Wholesale beads are typically sold at half price for quantities of 25 or more. Closeout and special wholesale beads can also be had at half price.