I'm new to beading and wire jewelry. The only catalog I have in my possession is Fire Mountain Gems. Does anyone have any experience with them? I'd love to hear about price, quality, etc. as compared to other online resources. I'd also love to hear about any other highly recommended online resources. Thank you so much for any information you could provide!
I do most of my shopping at FMG. They have good quality products and I have never had an issue with their customer service. They ship promptly and take the time to package each shipment carefully. I've never had anything broken or missing. Even when the post office Squished the box badly.
As for pricing I find that usually FMG will have the better deal even with the $5.oo shipping. Sometimes the cost is higher than some sites but I usually find when that is the case I'm usually getting more per package from FMG than from the other site. So, you just have to do some comparison shopping. They also have the assortable pricing so the more you buy the bigger your discount.
I also deal with Auntie's Beads (they're in the same state as I am so my beads tend to get to me faster.) They have some great sales and have some of the best How to videos on their site. I haven't had any issues with their quality or with their customer service either. However, I mainly buy their on sale items. And not gemstones as for me they don't give enough information about the gemstones or what the processes ,if any, were used on the stones.
I also use Bello Modo for my delicas and seed beads. They have Free shipping. They are a small company and sometimes they make a mistake or 2 but they are always nice and friendly about getting any issues resolved. They accidently shipped me some wrong colored beads but they gave me a discount on them since I went ahead and bought them instead of paying the shipping back. And they promptly sent the correct colored beads out to me. Which it all worked out cause I got some awesome beads that I wasn't expecting and will be ordering more when I run out.
Occassionaly I use Artbeads when I find something they have that I can't locate someplace else. They sometime have sales on seed beads so I'll order from them. I haven't had any issues with customer service or with the quality of their products either.
I also have a few sites that I use only on rare occasions when I need that odd something that I can't seem to find anyplace else. You know the ones that are more specialty shops.
You didn't say what sort of beading/jewelry making you did so I don't know if any of this will be of any help to you. But if you're looking for something particular just give a shout out and I'm sure that one of us will be able to help you find it. And if you have anymore questions just sing out.
southwest Texas USA
Thank you so much for your detailed response. Your information and insight are EXACTLY what I was looking for! I really appreciate your taking your time to respond to my posting.
So far I have enjoyed every project I have tried, but realize it will be in my best interest in the long run to settle down in a "niche" for setting a jewelry business of my own. I have a feeling that is going to be the more difficult part...
I have been doing business with Fire Mountain for several years now, and that's who I tend to get the bulk of my inventory from. Their customer service reps are extremely polite and helpful, whether you call in to them, or use the online messaging service. Ever since they switched to the $5 flat shipping rate, it's been a real savings for me. I may live on the East Coast, but two to three days after I've placed my order, my inventory is arriving at my door. And the best part? They are ALWAYS having GREAT sales! And they seem to now have the most reasonable prices around when it comes to Swarovski crystals.
Another great site I enjoy shopping at goes by the name of Lima Beads. I've been doing business with them nearly as long as with FMG, And I know Kevin Sly, the owner. He's really terrific, and a very fair guy. He has a lovely selection of Czech crystals, and fabu semi-preciois gebstones. Word of warning: watch out for the Big Green Bead Machine-- it's like a drug! You can't stop shopping on it! Kevin is an evil genius!(lol)
If vintage and lucite are what you're looking for, I would suggest Beadaholique. They have an excellent sellection of vintage lucite flowers and beads, as well as the Vintaj and Tierra Cast. I also do a goodly amount of business well. I don't shop there as often, but MK Beads is another fun bead store, set up somewhat similar to Beadaholique.
I hope this gives you good jump start into the wonderful world of beading!
oops, just noticed the typo (I really DO know how to add) *LOL*
I plan to place my first-ever order with them today. After reading all of these great reviews about Fire Mountain, I think I'd be a fool not to!
Also, if you want the 200 item discount without buying 200+ items, use jetbeads.com ....it seemed an akward way to order beads, but it works and is significantly cheaper (of course, depending on what you want)