What Kind of Jewelry Supplies Do You Collect?

Jewelry and Coffee with Rena
Video Episode 9

by Rena Klingenberg.

What jewelry supplies do you keep collecting – even though you already have a lifetime supply? 🙂 Have a peek at part of my top three collections.

Transcript of This Video:

Most of us are pretty much inspired by any kind of jewelry supply there is.

But I think for each of us there are certain types of supplies and components that are so exciting and so compelling to work with that we just keep on collecting them – even after we already have a lifetime supply of them.

Here are three jewelry components that are like that for me:

The first one is green beads. My favorite colors are lime green, sage green, and olive green – all those lovely greens!

I store my beads according to color in Rubbermaid boxes. And I consistently find that my green bead box weighs at least four times as much as any of my other bead color boxes!

Green beads - Rena Klingenberg

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my collection of green beads.

The second type of jewelry component I find so compelling that I keep collecting it is postage stamps from around the world.

I love maps and I love geography, and to me the idea that postage stamps have traveled on some kind of fantastic journey before they got to my house is very compelling.

And they’re really cool to use in jewelry designs too, because they add a lot of color and they’re a nice small size.

Right now I have a pair of beautiful Canadian postage stamps that I’m going to turn into a pair of Autumn-themed earrings.

(Update: See the finished earrings and my tutorial for them – Postage Stamp Jewelry Tutorial.)

Canadian stamps - maple leaves - for making earrings

I just totally fell in love with these maple leaf stamps from Canada.

And the third type of jewelry supply that I keep collecting even though I probably don’t need any more of them is coins from around the world.

Especially if they have a hole or a donut shape so they’re easy to incorporate into jewelry.

I think coins make really fantastic jewelry components.

Old coins with holes for jewelry making

On the left, the coins from India are over 70 years old. On the right, the coins from China are over a thousand years old.

So what kind of jewelry components do you keep collecting – even though you don’t need any more of them?

I’d love to hear about that if you want to share in the comments below!

And I want to thank you so much for stopping by for coffee again today.

I’ll see you next time!

The Jewelry Rena’s Wearing
in This Video:

Dark crystal jewelry

Necklace and Earrings: Swarovski crystals on oxidized sterling silver findings. Rubber cord choker. By Rena Klingenberg.

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  1. Hello Rena,
    First time having coffee with you and It was nice… Thanks for sharing.
    Right now off the top of my head I guess I’d say I collect beads although when I’m making jewelry seems I never have just what I need. So then I need more beads. I collect the small digital inchies images too, never seem to have enough. Thank you for your newsletters and all the information that you share, I really appreciate it.
    Have a great day!

  2. I keep buying turquoise – in all different shapes and sizes – I just can’t help myself I love the colour so much 🙂 I also collect Swarovski crystal bicones in all the colours I can find and love mixing them with gemstones. I think also one of my most collected items are little silver Bali spacer beads – they are so decorative and really add detail to a piece of jewellery!

    My husband thinks my jewellery business is taking over the small room I work from – he is very supportive but also an extremely tidy person. So I decided to pull out all the beads and components that I really won’t use or that I have had so long I can’t remember the design I thought I would need them for. I have a big box of them and have started putting them on eBay and setting them free so other creative people can enjoy and appreciate them. It is very liberating to post them off to a good home. And I also have a few more pennies to spend… on more turquoise 🙂 no I mustn’t!

  3. GEMSTONES!!! I can’t resist them. Especially ones with a lot of different colors and shades in them. I get so excited over them and already have way more than I can use, but just let me into a gem show and I’m in heaven! I know I need practical components, and I have to buy those first or I’ll spend all my money on gemstones. My favorites change regularly and may just be the ones I saw most recently this morning!

  4. What don’t I collect! After 25 years in the business, I don’t need to buy anything more except wire, but can’t resist earthy toned beads or beautiful wrappable stones (labradorite & dragon’s blood jasper are my my most recent loves). I’m intending to add some of my collections for resale on my web site in the near future, but choosing which to let go of may be the hardest part!

  5. Natural stone cabachons! They are little works of art just as they are.

  6. Seed beads all shapes and colors….especially lime green! I recently reorganized knowing I tend to lean towards the cool range blue, greens, purples and combos of the such. Lesser of the other colors which are used to make a piece pop. I am a lampworker so you can never have enough smaller beads to add interest :).

    Having made jewelry for more years than I would like to think I have just a real duke mixture of beads. Gemstones, pewter, silver…the list goes on. Lately it seems if it’s quirky I’ve gotta have it! I have a different kinda odd ball style and love making fun jewelry that makes me happy, which translates into passing along that happiness.

    I,ve not replied before but want you to know that I really love getting these issues so much! So much talent here, tips etc really acts to inspire me
    Thank you so much Rena!

  7. I have a huge collection of buttons, even though I seldom use them. Somehow, it seemed like a good idea at one time.

  8. Findings! I never seem to have enough and there always seems to something new or different that I just must have! We live and travel in our motorhome and it knows to stop at every bead store! Poor husband has finally accepted this fact, too, although not without an eye roll! AND findings are small and don’t weigh much so I can always squeeze another baggie of them into my stash!

  9. I think for me what I collect has to do with the way I shop. I buy most of my supplies in second-hand stores, so when I see something I can’t live without – it could be beads, charms, pendants, chain, vintagey elements, you name it – I know I have to get it then or it could be gone. So I tend to keep collecting those little goodies. And recently, still in secondhand stores, I’ve been obsessively buying lace, and I keep finding t-shirts that have chiffon roses on them, and buying them to take the roses off for jewellery. Just the other day I got to the point of telling myself “No more, until you use what you’ve got!” 🙂

    By the way, Rena, if you ever feel the need to collect a few more stamps from Canada, I’d be more than happy to find you some neat ones and send them “with love from Canada”!

  10. Thanks so much to all for stopping by for coffee, and for your lovely comments. 🙂

    I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one collecting more cool supplies I don’t need! I totally understand the need to keep gathering more turquoise, gemstones, natural stones, wire-wrappable stones, lime green(!) seed beads, buttons, findings, and second-hand treasures! Digital inchies sound like a fascinating collection too.

    And I love learning that there are motorhomes who know to stop at every bead store!

    Tamara, I appreciate your kind offer of Canadian stamps! I’m not picky – I would value having a few that you think have jewelry potential, and I will be happy to pay for the stamps and shipping. Thank you! 🙂

  11. Pascha Lee says:

    I love wood beads and pearls because they give my earrings a “natural -can go with everything” kind of feel. Those are my favs but really ,whatever catches my eye because I always tell myself “It can be used for SOMETHING”. I might not have an idea at the time but I know eventually I’ll get around to it and make a wonderful creation out of it!

  12. Your paragraph about green beads could have been written by me! My “green bead box” is by far the heaviest of them all. Love having coffee with you. I read your emails from “cover to cover”

  13. Hi Rena, I’ll keep my eyes open for the type of stamps you mentioned. I think I know your style a little bit by now, and the colours you are inspired by. I’d be more than happy to do it because I like looking at them too! Hopefully they won’t be roadkill stamps! 😀

  14. Paddie Reed says:

    Dark blue, recycled lampwork……………… I have loads of it; I chop up pieces and re make stuff: I have found some on E Bay and cannot resist, even though I know, it was not cheap, I have quite enough already, it will take hours to wire wrap even some of it. But it is so quirky and individual ;-))) I LOVE the stuff!

  15. Pauline says:

    I now buy only what I need with a few extra bits for luck! However, I can’t say no to all the freebies! People dump their old jewelery on me. (Isn’t that terrible? hahaha) I have a stash that needs pulled apart and sorted, but I get distracted from doing it. Mostly there is a lot of rubbish stuff that I won’t use but every now and then I do get some promising pieces.

    I’ve just been given another pile of shell and seed necklaces and inwardly I was thinking, “Oh no, not more of these…” but I’m decided to rise to the challenge. I have quite a lot of different types of shell and seeds of various colours AND I have some ocean theme metal charms. There must be something I can come up with! 🙂

  16. Swarovski pearls… I have every color, even the new gem colors! I just can’t get enough of them! I just LOVE holding them and looking at how shiny they are and how they feel and their lustrous shine!! I do use them to make custom bridal jewelry… I create various designs using different combinations of pearls and crystals, based on the customer’s wedding colors. but I am always buying more and more… I can’t run out of any color! LOL

  17. It’s so interesting that you collect green beads! I store beads by color in Chinese soup containers (those lids stay closed nice and tight). I have more green containers than any other color. It’s my favorite color and I can’t stop buying green stones, beads, cabs even though I have more than enough to last for years. I also love to collect rocks, not gem quality, just pretty rocks. I can’t go to a beach or park and come home without rocks in my bag. Some are so big, I have to keep them outside. If I could manage it, I would haul gigantic rocks to sit on as well. I’m not sure these would be “jewelry” supplies but I have painted on them. I love geology and rocks!

  18. What a cool subject! I love hearing what other people tend to collect. My obsession is vintage glass and brass pieces! I have been known to buy out entire bead collections of a certain color from collectors that have decided to finally let go of their collections. I especially love the old Japanese glass beads and can’t get enough of them. I also love vintage German and Czech glass beads. My favorite colors to collect are aqua, coral, cranberry, pink (no one does vintage pink glass like the Japanese!), etc. I once bought an entire collection of vintage aqua blue Japanese glass beads…over 5,000 of them! I’m hopeless!!!

    I also am into collecting vintage glass and lucite cabs. My other obsession is vintage brass….stampings, pendants, whatever. I LOVE the old old French brass and have even been lucky enough to stumble across some very fine pieces every so often.

    Since we don’t have any children, I’m able to have one of the bedrooms as my entire workstation for jewelry making. I use stackable plastic drawers and label the outside of the drawer of what’s inside. Everything is stored in plastic zip lock bags and labeled with type, size, cost, where and when I bought the item. I’ve got 4 sets of bookshelves in my room and 3 of them are 6 feet high. I’ve got glass jars full of vintage Japanese/Czech/German glass beads in them and have them stored on the bookshelves.

    Organization is key with large collections and I revamped all my collections this past summer for easy access! For me, the searching and collecting is just as much fun…if not more so….than making my jewelry!

  19. I love this topic too. I am newer to jewellery making than some, but already have a growing supply of lampwork beads. Hmmn, artisan glass…. I love the shiny and the etched ones, but they have to really speak to me. Love having so many out there to choose from. I have them stored by artisan for the most part because each artist I like, has a certain style that I can reach for if needed in a piece. It is so interesting to mix them (colors, shape, artisan).

    I love your articles Rena. Thank you for pulling it all together.

  20. I was also considering using Stamps in some Jewelry but I heard it was illegal to sell them due to copyright issues selling artwork that you do not have the rights too. Maybe you can clear this up, I was told rolls of stickers, stamps and copyrighted rubber stamps, especially images with popular characters., were off limits. This is why I get so disheartened when I see people purchasing things from etsy that I know are illegal.

    I really haven’t amassed a large collection of anything yet I like to find ways to use everything.

  21. Thank you all for your kind feedback and for sharing your fascinating jewelry supply obsessions! 🙂

    Random, let me see if I can answer your concerns about using copyrighted materials in jewelry that you sell:

    First, I’m so glad you’re conscientious about this. As you mentioned, there are many sellers who use all sorts of images and characters illegally, and they’re risking serious legal action from the rightful copyright holders.

    When it comes to using someone else’s images, characters, etc. – it’s always best to check with the copyright holder before making something with their creations that you’re planning to sell or publish.

    Sometimes this is as simple as checking the product packaging for a copyright or other legal statement. Or depending on where you’ve found the elements you want to use, you might be able to contact the originator via email or their website / blog contact page.

    And if you’re not sure about an element you want to use and can’t find out any definitive legal use info, it’s always best NOT to sell anything using it.

    Random, if I were you I would contact the companies that make the rubber stamps and other things you’d like to use in your jewelry designs, and clarify what’s OK for you to do with them, and what’s not. Most companies are glad you were thoughtful enough to inquire about the rules first! 🙂

  22. Fun post, Rena. Love reading about what grabs designers attention. I’ll add my three, just for fun.
    1. Anything blue-green, turquoise, teal, or aqua.
    2. Currently collecting lots and lots of buttons.
    3. Various stringing materials besides metal chain. Cording, waxed linen, leather, suede, silks, S-lon.

  23. Isn’t it funny how we gravitate towards the same things? I can’t stop buying multicolored tourmaline! I, too, store my beads by color – I now have two of those 11-drawer towers, with each drawer a different color (and one drawer for tourmaline, and one for unakite). I have more gemstones than anything else. Glass beads are in two Artbin satchels, pearls in another satchel.

  24. Kyanite (blue, greeen, blue-green, brown, orange, you name the color), Labradorite, and Larvikite. I have a shoebox full of each. I’m absolutely obsessed, and don’t want to use any of it (or any to sell) because each strand is beautiful and so different as gemstones tend to be. I too use the tower drawers like Jeanine to store my beads. But I am impressed by (2) 11-drawers. You go girl! I’ve stored my in alpha order by name of stone, but by color might be a good way to go. Thanks for the tip.

  25. Laurie Bishop says:

    Carnelian beads and Indian agate beads (or rainbow jasper, which I suspect are the same bead?). I just love them. I see some for sale and think I need more, which of course, I don’t.

    I keep my beads in either plastic tackle boxes or the plastic divided boxes you see in Walmart or other stores that sell jewelry supplies. I put one color to a box. With the increase in my bead collection, I added plastic drawer units the size for office supplies with three drawers–not really that great for heavy beads, but I confiscated them when I ran out of the boxes.

    I feel as if I have just made a confession…”I am addicted to beads.” I am now training myself to say no!

  26. Ah collections. I have collected more seed beads than I am willing to admit to. Recently I have started collecting wire, copper wire, all gauges. I don’t know what I will do with it all; maybe start wire wrapping all of the natural gemstones I have started collecting!!!! LOL!

  27. I love all components of jewelry making. I especially like cabachons. My two favorite colors for beads are turquoise and green. I love the look of turquoise and copper together. Sheliah

  28. Hi Rena !! I’ve been receiving your emails for several years now and recently (confession)started to come here to read your blogs. They are so much fun, girl !! What do I like to collect after about twelve years of beading ? I am madly in love with colored gemstones and set them into findings but recently started to bead with Delicas and it’s a brand new adventure that I might be able to do something creative with regarding gemstones and seed beads.

    My favorite thing to collect is chain…the very fine kind that comes with a new necklace, you know ? I use this chain to make dangly earrings with. The diamond cuts are my favorite as they sparkle and add to the beauty of my earrings. I’m always on the lookout in small second-hand shops for this chain.

    I love to work with Swarovski crystals, too, and for years now have used them in most everything I work with. I tend to go for the bright colors in those and in beads. I also love turquoise.

    I’m not so keen on the dull metals, though. I have a thing about shiny and sparkly ! Oh, and thank you so much for showing us how to make spirals, Rena…that was an eye-opener for me and set me off on a search for copper wire to use. I’ve got a lot of lamp cord that has the fine threads of copper inside and am in the midst of removing the outer coating to free the copper. When that’s done, I’m going to have a ball playing with that and hope to have some success with designing some really pretty things with it.

    I guess that’s all for now…I could say more, but really want to thank you for you and your generosity towards the rest of us out here who struggle with our ideas and passions for beading and design. You ROCK !!

  29. Hi!
    Thanks so much for your videos… What I do collect most???!! LOL Everything…
    I loved Picasso Beads … I would buy thousands of them in green, cherry, orange color… I do love flowers beads.. like the one in Lucite..
    Then I collect everything I see and I think “oh I can use this for a necklace”.. so you can find i my boxes: little dolls, ribbons, buttons, shells, stones of every kind, even piece of wood..fabrics, feathers (real one that I found in my garden)….

    I need a suggestion: how do tou keep in order all your jewels supplies??? I tried so many different method… but have not find a “working one yet”.. which kind of boxes you find useful??

    Thanks so much

  30. Hi!
    Thanks so much for your videos… What I do collect most???!! LOL Everything…
    I loved Picasso Beads … I would buy thousands of them in green, cherry, orange color… I do love flowers beads.. like the one in Lucite..
    Then I collect everything I see and I think “oh I can use this for a necklace”.. so you can find i my boxes: little dolls, ribbons, buttons, shells, stones of every kind, even piece of wood..fabrics, feathers (real one that I found in my garden)….

    I need a suggestion: how do you keep in order all your jewels supplies??? I tried so many different method… but have not find a “working one yet”.. which kind of boxes you find useful??

    Thanks so much

  31. MaElena says:

    I am SO very glad I came across your blog!! Your videos are wonderful, informative, pleasant to the eye, clear and simple. Thank you so much for sharing and please do keep up the good work. Is there anyway I can have access to past videos? Thanks a bunch!

  32. Oh my goodness, I think I’m going to have to look into some of the things you all are collecting! 🙂

    MaElena, thank you for joining us here, and for your lovely thoughts about my videos! You can see my entire collection of videos (both jewelry-making videos and “Jewelry & Coffee” videos) here:

    Videos by Rena Klingenberg.

    You can pop some popcorn and settle in! 🙂

  33. MaElena says:

    As old as I am, (66 years) I have never really been addicted to anything that I cannot eliminate or control, UNTIL NOW!! It seems I just simply cannot go into a bead shop without buying more beads than I had anticipated or budgeted for! I started making jewelry when I was eight years old, and starting doing it professionally 31 years ago. Over two years ago I was diagnosed with cancer of the eye and sold all my jewelry, and accepted the fact that I was just simply not going to be able to continue with this God-given talent. BUT, the Lord is good, and he healed me! My surgery was all scheduled and everything, and I had been informed of the horrific things they would be doing to my eye, WHILE I WAS STILL AWAKE! I prayed and prayed expecting a miracle, and it happened! I was completely healed and have had no problems since. I have the pictures to prove just what a miracle this actually was, my eye was actually dripping blood already. Anyway, I have just recently gotten back to building up my stock again, donate my time and efforts to my church, (and do a little for myself as well, I must confess), BUT, I find myself completely addicted to buying beads. I have always loved crystal, Swarovski especially, and also use glass, wood, etc. My girlfriends actually go with me so as to remind me of what I do not need and already have plenty of, (but it doesn’t stop me!) So anyway, as to what jewelry supplies do I collect?….BEADS, BEADS, BEADS!! Happy Beading.

  34. Oh my, how to answer. Well, I only started making jewelry after receiving a kit for Christmas in December 2011. However, it was so timely as I fell in love with jewelry making (more like became obsessed with it) and the company I was working for was going through a major transition in 2012. In any event, I began collecting (hoarding) gemstone beads, Czech glass beads, Swarovski crystals, wire, wire, wire, thread, thread, cord, cord, cord, findings of ALL different kinds, metals, enamels, and, oh yes, TOOLS! (Love my Tools!) I think I have enough for a small bead store to open! My philosophy over the last year and a half has been, buy it now while I have the money and then make jewelry for the next 3+ years off of it while I don’t! 🙂 Unfortunately, as someone else said, that doesn’t stop me from buying more if I see something(s) that I don’t have in my extensive collection and absolutely Must have, or if a project calls for a special something and I just don’t seem to have what it needs. By the way, Bead Fests are Dangerous! lol

    So, I recently set up business and am now doing craft fairs and opened a shop on Etsy. At some point, I think I will have to try to sell some of my stash as well. What WAS I thinking?!?!

    As for storing it all, I also have a spare bedroom I use as a studio/office. In it I have 2 old black file cabinets – 4 drawers each – and I started off using that only for my beads with each drawer labeled. I had Turquoise and Magnesite in one (my favorite is Turquoise), 2 drawers of Gemstones – Semi-Precious and originally stored alphabetically by what they were in containers within the drawer, 1 of Wood and Shell beads, 1 drawer of glass beads, 1 of Marble and Porcelain, and 1 for Pendants and such. My findings were in boxes on 2 shelves under my homemade kitchen counter top work surface by type of metal (and pretty much still are except some metals have more than 1 box now). Anyway, I have outgrown the 2 file cabinets and I don’t like using it for the beads because I can’t SEE them. Out of site – out of mind and then I buy more. So I am in the process of migrating the beads to clear plastic shoe boxes from the dollar store, still by what they are and then by color, and putting them on 2 of the 3 floor to ceiling bookcases I have in the office as well. BUT, this is gradual as I used to store a cookbook collection on those shelves, now being taken over by my beads and also my Jewelry Making Book and DVD collection! :-), and some of my tools (like dapping tools, metal punches, and a tumbler. Had to donate a LOT of cookbooks just to make room (and besides, you can find recipes on line now and now that I’m older, I cook less family-type meals than I used too).

    I do like the idea of the plastic bags within the clear shoe boxes, because I do like to keep Where I bought the items, their item number, the price and how many I have on a label with the items. Open for other suggestions (and help organizing!)…lol

  35. What I gravitate to while shopping on line, in a bead store, or antique store is: Bead Caps/Cones and Turquoise. I love bead caps because they can ‘fix’ a bead with too big or uneven holes. Cones are great to use at the clasp in necklaces and earrings. You have a nice, clean metal wire connection to the clasp instead of beading wire and crimp beads/covers. Turquoise is also my downfall, especially American Turquoise because the blues are gorgeous.

  36. Iya Harris says:

    After reading these comments (oh, and recognizing my own insatiable need to collect gemstone beads, glass beads, ethnic beads, and oh just let it please be beads), I realized, I’ll never use all of them and I can’t take these beads with me when I leave this earth. Oh dear, what is to become of these beads? An idea popped up out of this beaded meditation; what if there were an online site where crafters could list for sale their ‘no longer needed treasures’. Maybe it already exists somewhere, or maybe it could be looked into as a resource we create for ourselves. Love to hear the pros and cons.

  37. Anne Mulligan says:

    Hi, Iya,
    I know that you can sell supplies on etsy.

  38. 2 e mails but no website as yet. I collect dichroic glass and especially in the purples that are hard to find. I hold back for special projects when using this glass in my fusing projects, but now I am inspired and will begin to use them more now

  39. I collect clasps. When I purchase supplies, I love to look through the available clasps and choose pretty or interesting designs, even though I rarely have a specific plan for them. This includes buttons, because there are a zillion ways to use a button to make a unique closure. When I finish a piece of jewelry – I don’t make earrings very often so this goes with necklaces and ESPECIALLY bracelets – it has always been very important to me to add a clasp that goes with the design in some way, be it color or form or some other sort of shady artistic thing that feels “right”! The great thing about buttons “regular” buttons or shank buttons – is that they can be attached in multiple different ways and be incorporated into a piece with a very wide selection of techniques. Since most of my work involves off-loom seedbead weaving, I am absolutely willing to create a beaded clasp of some sort, but I prefer to look in my collection for something more unique. I do not feel that I have finished a piece of jewelry until I attach a clasps that “fits” or makes sense in terms of my design. In a way, I get away with not calling it hoarding – for the most part I do not plan the clasp until I have done the bulk of the work on whatever project. Again, this is mostly applicable to bracelets although I do try to do the same on necklaces when possible…I am more likely to go an easier route such as using a lobster claw for a necklace, whereas I would be very hesitant about using a plain clasp like that on a bracelet – unless I feel that it really does fit the project. Since my designs are unique – I rarely make the same design twice – I love taking an almost-finished bracelet (or multiple almost-finished bracelets 🙂 , and sitting down amongst all my clasp possibilities to see what fun things I have stashed away! Sometimes if I don’t like any of the possibilities, I will put a project away, and keep it in mind while browsing or shopping, as well as periodically taking a look at the project to see if I can find an inventive way to finish my projects.
    The only real drawback to this system is that I won’t finish until I think something is just right! Which can have the unfortunate result of having a zillion bracelets that still need that final touch……..
    It’s interesting to me, reading all the comments, the differing reasons that each person has for collecting particular items! Thanks for writing up this topic.

  40. What a fun question!
    I collect as many different kinds of semi-precious stone beads as I can afford. Right now I love flat round and flat square (faceted and not) beads the best, any size and any stone. At wholesale shows, I always buy Amethyst, Sodalite and Black Onyx, especially if I find shapes that I don’t already have. Picture Jasper is always a favorite. Red Creek Jasper, Dragon’s Blood Jasper, Citrine, Seraphinite, Angelite, Ryolite, Green Zebra Jasper, Mother of Pearl, Red and Brown Tiger’s Eye have all been favorites over the last few years, as well as most nugget shapes and tubes. Lately I’ve been looking for Labradorite with good color and peach moonstone.

    I have a fairly good collection of freshwater pearls, too, in many different shapes.

    My second biggest collection of beads are two-hole beads, especially 10x20mm stones which Dakota Stones carries in a great variety of stones. I probably have a strand in every stone they carry! I’ve also made lots and lots of bracelets using metal and glass sliders which I’ve collected over the past 18 years.

    I store most of my beads in zip-lock bags by shape, then by specific stone, and stones of the same color are stored in the same basket. Glass is also by color in smaller drawer units, and my collection of artisan lampwork and ceramic are stored in plastic bead trays with 32- or 18-compartment inserts. Findings are stored in zip lock bags by finish, then grouped by beads, clasps, charms, filigree, etc, and each finish (gold, silver, antique gold, copper, Sterling and gold fill) is stored in a basket.

  41. Gail Speed says:

    Thank you Rena and everyone! Now I know I’m not alone in my obsession with collecting massive amounts of Turqioise and other natural stones as well as unique findings and charms! My mind spins with the possibilities of each piece I come across! I firmly believe that an active and creative mind is the most attractive attribute anyone can be blessed with! Thank you Rena! I have only just discovered your page, but I plan on returning often!

  42. Janet says:

    Amethyst. All sizes, shapes, colors.

  43. I cut off all the little pieces of ribbon that come attached to your clothing! (The bits used to hold them onto the hangars in the store) I use them in some of my jewellery designs and also when I create other crafts.
    I also have a things for silver beads of every description, including my new favourite – wonder beads. (acrylic beads with layers of laquer that make them irridescent) I normally don’t buy alot of acrylic beads, but I have these in every colour they’re available in, but silver is still my favourite!

  44. Gemstone beads! And pearls…but since I’m so picky about pearls, I collect gems more than pearls. I see them all online/in the store and get an idea on what to make…and then have forgotten what I was going to make ten minutes later. I’ve run out of storage units (Bead Solution system) and money though…so I have to wait until next month to buy. 🙁

    I agree with Deb–buy while I have the money and create when I don’t. That tends to end up leaving me broke until the next pay check, but t’ts worth it! All the shiny pretty beads….

    Oh, and natural whole gemstones. Love my gemstones. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to buy a single one in Ten. Whole. Months. Beads do not make up for whole stones. I’m feeling very stone-deprived. I used to buy them monthly until we moved.

  45. I have an extensive bead collection..but never thought of sorting by color thanks for that. ..I also collect vintage buttons. I use them in crocheted wore necklaces. I store my a lot of my beads in multi drawer spice cabinets or apocathery cabinets.

  46. Okay, even more, the thing I almost “compulsively” buy, are crystal beads, which is what I started making jewelry with when I was a child. Bicones (which are cheaper), rounds, different shapes. Besides loving the many colors, they just simply add so much to any piece of jewelry, regardless of the design, and make it pop!
    For “Sara”: I have had “findings” for over 30 years and it seems the lil’ ‘ole plastic boxes are the best thing. I keep all my clasps in one, all my chains in another, my bali beads in one, my natural stones in another, my crystals yet in another (these larger ones I sort by color in a box w/dividers; all shapes but, like, “blue-related”….aquas, navy, royal, wedgewood, etc.), pearls in another, crimp beads in tiny square boxes, bead caps in another (gold in one and silver in another), jump rings in tiny boxes sorted by either shiny or greyer finish, etc. (if there are any questions, let me know) and this has worked very effectively for me to date. I am currently in the process of re-doing my work area in a tiny apt, where I share this area with by bedroom as well, but it all fits! Its very practical. Would you like a video? I had a “frame” built especially for keeping all my wires (spools) and it helps so much. Also, I use those plastic hanger things w/pockets for wire, etc. Hope this helps.

  47. Maretha Hines says:


    It’s 4:57am. I usually work at night. I’m enjoy this quiet still moments reading your news letters. Every time I pass by a store that sell jewelry items I find myself going in and buying something. I think you never get enough of buying beautiful beads and eventually you’ll make something beautiful out of them. I love beautiful beads and all beads are beautiful. Thanks for all your advice.

  48. Nicole Green says:

    My parents left me a treasure trove of vintage post cards, greeting cards & photos dating back to the thirties. Since my family came here from France, I really love the style. I like framing them in copper or silver to make pendants or charms.

  49. Barbie says:

    Hello, wish I can understand what you said that I am deaf, also I doing handmake jewerly for 4 years, very happy, the jewelry give me lots inspirit and joy either I can keep it or sell, many of them really like what I made, and now I found this website and want more to learn I am disbily for 15 years, that my limit from car accdient, and hard to find a job becasue my neck and my back bad have bad dics, and I deal and cope with pain, but thank lord for few years I was think about jewelry and will I sussese etc, for frist few was ok at, second years not bad, third years more better and 4 years much better, it really joy and very much happy to do hike thing to keep me busy and lots fun.. My FB page barbie’s jewelry wish I can post what I made. Thank you

  50. Oh, I’m so guilty of collecting more beads than I could use in this lifetime. If it is blue or green, I have twice as much as any othercolor. It doesn’t matter if it is glass or gemstone, I have it all.

  51. Your website is always so helpful for a hermit like myself. I’ve been serious about jewelry making for about three years now, and I’ve learned a lot from this site.
    My three jewelry obsessions would probably be
    1. Gears. Any gears and all gears. Clock gears, watch gears, plastic gears…I buy watches from the local thrift store just to take them apart.
    2. Purple beads. Especially lavender. I don’t really know why, I just they’re super pretty. I really love diachronic glass beads too.
    3. Jump rings. I have this weird fear of one day running out of jump rings, so I have this massive stockpile that I hide from the world.

  52. Are you kidding…I need 2 lives to use all my supplies. I love sparkles. You know the beads in the store that draw you to them. I don’t find them they find me. All colors are fair game though the champagne colors really callout ” classic. Chic”…..then there is the global tribal components of old silver from Asian and American Indians with the tourqoise,silver,coral. And lastly but not leastly..antique beads from the global community and my beloved trade beads and pumtek I love it all. I love your site and thank you for the “free” that you graciously share.

  53. I have this obsession with making things which makes me very happy. For years I have been making ceramic tiles and still do when I get orders for it…in 2008, that took a plunge with the housing crisis so I started making other things. Before tiles, I was a fashion designer in NY and I loved that too, and still do….after the crash I made pottery on a wheel and was totally obsessed with that. I still do it but less because I fell in love with making hats….they sold well too….in the last three four years, jewelry and beading specially is taking almost all of my time. I love doing it and show at markets and fairs. Needless to add, I keep many that I just can’t part with…I collect all sorts of beads, findings, ribbon, fabrics, all sorts of things… I just discovered this site and I see that I am not alone…..that is just wonderful, now I don’t feel as guilty for spending so much in bead stores and second hand shops…I also collect clothes from second hand stores mostly….because I just have too much fun dressing in all kinds of different looks and styles . Ethnic of course and different periods with long skirts and layers or zen and modern and whatever…..I write poetry with my clothes and I make jewelry to go with the different looks….I feel that all these wonderful ladies on this blog are like my sisters….thank you, bisoux as we say in French….

  54. Country Lady says:

    Hi everyone. What a site! Discussions on anything and everything. What an open, sincere person Renai is to share her common, sad story. She’s pleasant to follow! And, she did it!! Look for your signs that are often given but not seen, to make your move. Save money, look for a new place to live, think of happy thoughts of how you will decorate it and your new beading space!! Keep thinking these good feelings and you can make it happen. My words to the wise: When you walk away from a bad relationship, life does go on. Good luck everyone!

  55. Gemstones!! Also Czech glass, and copper!

  56. Carol Arndt says:

    Rena, I love your site and the opportunity to network with other creative gals.
    I collect any natural stone beads that are priced reasonably.
    I am so into wire wrapping that I have a hard time passing on slabs, crystal points and other items that I can wrap such as keys.
    Silver plated charms also regularly catch my eye.

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