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Where to Shop for Jewelry Making Supplies

By NYIAD Jewelry Mentor on March 03, 2015

The New York Institute of Art and Design is a top online jewelry design school and because we are, we often offer free tips for jewelry designers. Enjoy!

Are you a crafter? Or, to be even more specific, do you like to make jewelry? Jewelry making is on the rise, and online and brick-and-mortar craft stores are scrambling to keep tools and supplies in stock to meet the increased demand. As an art and design school, our jewelry design students range from crafters who want to improve their skills and make better quality pieces for themselves and family and friends all the way to students who want to earn more money and pursue jewelry design as a career option.

Hobbyists and professional designers alike need the right tools and supplies to get started. Here are a few suggestions for where to purchase your supplies.

  1. Explore local bead stores. Most sell beads individually, and that allows you to be selective and purchase what you need without having any beads left over. You will also find basic tools at bead stores: string, wire, crimp beads, clasps, and everything in between.
  2. If you’re serious about lowering your costs and pursuing a professional design career (as opposed to remaining a crafter), explore buying beads in bulk. Bulk bead stores carry hanks or skeins of beads on strings. You’re purchasing more beads than you’ll need for one project, but you’re saving on the per-bead price.
  3. Explore big-box stores like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, DeSerres, Walmart, and JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores for their jewelry tools and supplies. Compare prices and shop around, both at local stores and online.
  4. There are many online options for shopping, too. Don’t forget stores like Amazon carry literally everything, but also explore jewelry specialty outlets like Fire Mountain Gems, which has the largest and most diverse selection of mail-order and online catalog beads.
  5. Breathe new life into old jewelry by picking up pieces at antique stores, yard sales, and thrift shops. Carefully take apart the pieces and turn them into new creations by reusing the beads, clasps, pendants, or other components of these old pieces. Recycling can be one of the most exciting ways to purchase supplies because you’ll be finding unique elements you can’t readily buy anywhere else.
  6. Jewelry making, beading, and craft magazines will often alert you to bead shows and jewelry shows coming to your community. These are often great sources for purchasing tools and supplies.

Want to learn more? NYIAD’s Jewelry Design Course teaches students beading and wire working so you can become a more skilled jewelry maker.

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