You Can Buy Anything From China

10:25 AM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
In the past few months, I have been engaged in a very frustrating search for beads to keep making my gorgeous Fairy Drop earrings.  I love briolettes, I love the drop and dangle of the pretty beads that I found to make the Fairy Drop earrings.  I love that these earrings are sooo sparkley and elegant and big.  Glass would be too heavy but I found some wonderful packages of acrylic Blue Moon beads from their Manor House line about a year ago that were perfect.  All the earrings I made with those beads are sold.  I have customers who want more.  My beads are gone.  Blue Moon no longer sells them.  I have hunted high and low for a source for them or for beads that are similar.  I can find plenty of teeeneency little glass and acrylic droplets.  I can find West German crystal drops that are huge and gorgeous and weigh about three pounds each.  I have found one or two  Etsy sellers who have similar sized beads but are selling them for between 1 and 2 dollars per bead.   I have not been able to find a wholesale distributer of acrylic beads in this size and shape - until last week. 

I stumbled upon a Chinese manufacturer's website where they have gazillions of acrylic beads in every imaginable size, shape and color - including the droplet beads I have been searching for.  They are insanely affordable.  Until you calculate the shipping.

This discovery presents me with a few dilemmas.

First - do I by plastic stuff directly from China?  I have such a big problem with China - lack of democracy, horrible human rights abuses, poor working conditions, bad environmental record - etc, etc . . .     But they do plastic well.   That's their thing, right?

Second - do I use plastic in my designs?  I've been leaning more and more toward glass in recent years - it is more ecologically sound as a design component than either plastic or gemstone.  There's a little less "rape of the earth" going on to produce spectacular glass.

I ordered a "small" quantity of the beads.  Only about 1,800 of them in 8 different colors.  I'll see how they work for me and how I feel about them when I hold them in my hands.  If they are less than wonderful or if they 'feel' bad then I will not purchase any more.

BUT the biggest frustration I've uncovered here is related to other suppliers' dishonesty.  For several years, I've been ordering small quantities of spectacular "vintage" acrylic and lucite beads from other Etsy suppliers to use in my designs.  I was feeling O.K. about using plastic in these cases because the beads were vintage, right?  I was not contributing to the plastic mania or using up more fossil fuels to design with these beads - in fact, I was saving them from going into landfills or into the great Pacific Gyre, right?

Ummm.  No.  Just about all of those fabulous "vintage" faceted transparent acrylic and lucite beads that I'm in love with over on Etsy are produced & sold right at this big huge massive Chinese plastic place.  There are a few designs that I haven't been able to locate yet but this website is so huge, I'm quite sure that I will find them at some point if I keep looking.  Gah.  I'm pretty sure that my favorite Etsy sellers are not deliberately lying to me.  I think they get their wares through some middle man who is peddling these beads as "vintage" bt it doesn't make me any less frustrated.

I guess the lesson here is - if it looks too new to be old, it is.

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