Looking for Good Quality Jewelry Findings

by Dawn Carpino.

Looking for Good Quality Jewelry Findings  - Discussion on Jewelry Making Journal

I’m just starting out, have my first show in early November.

I have been buying most of my findings at Michaels and JoAnn’s but don’t feel they are good quality.

Everything there is made in China. Is this industry wide?

I bought a basic earwire finding mix and two of the wires broke when I went to add something, and on another one the finish was worn off.

I would like to use good quality findings and also would like to find a source or sources that don’t cost me a fortune as I haven’t made any money yet and just keep pouring it out.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

I contacted them and they offered me a refund if I returned what I had bought but I had already used a lot of them.

I did suggest to them that they find a better supplier.

Dawn Carpino
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  • Hi Dawn, great question! I purchase most of my jewelry supplies from various Etsy.com vendors. You can do a search for what type, size, metal, etc. of jewelry supply item you’re looking for there, and see reviews of the vendors who have what you want. Reviews go a long way toward finding vendors who carry higher quality jewelry findings.

    Hope this helps!

  • Melissa says:

    I’ve been wondering the same thing! Thanks for the shopping tips, Rena.

  • Susan Verdecchia says:

    Hi Dawn, I, too, have had disappointments with Michael’s and Joannes. If you are looking for base metal findings, or even some sterling, I have had good experiences with Hobby Lobby’s Jewelry Shoppe brand findings. And about every other week they are 50% off. Nickle free. If you don’t have one near you, they have the same stuff online. I rarely have a problem with them.

  • Kelley Gonzales says:

    Please check out your local Bead/metalsmith supply store. They have access to high quality findings as well as a unique selection. You will also be supporting a local business and your local economy.

  • Thank you, Kelley, great tip!

  • Thomas Lambert says:

    I use 3 different suppliers they are as follows:

    Rio Grande
    Kingsley North
    Fire Mountain

    Keep in mind that the better the quality the more you have to charge for your product. You have to keep in mind what your market will support.

  • Allene M. says:

    Hi Dawn,
    I,too,bought metal findings at the local big box craft stores and quickly found out how the quality left much to be desired.After some online research I came across the Lima Bead.com site which carries high quality materials for jewelry designers.My favote brand of findings is made by Tierracast.I have used many of their beautifully made toggles,charms,beads,and findings in my work.

  • Dawn Carpino says:

    Thanks everyone for the tips. I wish there were an independent bead store near me. I would definitely shop there. Sometimes when I buy beads online they are not what I imagined them to be. You can only see so much from a picture. I am learning as I go along. The only stores that sell beads near me are Michaels and JoAnns.

  • Jennifer Schuler says:

    Hey Dawn. I too have used Etsy and Fire Mountain for supplies. Another option is jewelry shows. The one I go to is called the International Gem and Jewelry Show (intergem.com/upcoming-shows/). There is a whole sale section but I just shop the public area. The one that comes to my neighborhood has a HUGE selection of ready made jewelry but also tons of findings and beads of every variety as well as tools and storage and everything you could possibly need.

  • Kelsey Keyes says:

    Kelley,

    Thank you so much for your comment. I agree wholeheartedly. In addition to what you have said, I would like to add that the staff at these places are usually gems. The experience, the advice, and help they offer is priceless. The best bead shop in our area just closed after almost 33 years.

    I would also second Rena’s suggestion about Etsy. The shop I talked about has an Etsy store ( etsy.com/shop/TheBeadGalleryA2 ). Julie and Jesse are amazing!

    Happy beading to all!

  • Mimi A says:

    Because of what you experienced I learn to make my own wires for my earrings. I buy the wire from The Ring Lord in Toronto Canada. They also have a number of findings and are very explicit when labeling what they are comprised of. So you will know what is plated, solid or otherwise. I also make my own ear wires because I have very sensitive ears and I cannot wear anything less than 304 stainless steel

  • I make most of my own but I do purchase Niobium ear wires from Rio. They’re hypoallergenic and go better with some of my designs. The big box craft stores are fine for learning, but I never, ever, ever use them in designs I sell. For a less expensive (but still with quality) option you could try Vintage Jewelry Supplies (used to be Accessories Susan). I used her stuff for years and never had a complaint. They are plated however, so keep that in mind. I no longer use plated metals so haven’t shopped there for a couple of years.
    As far as your question about “made in China”, the short answer is most everything is but it doesn’t always mean inferior quality. Just like in the US, there are different levels of quality corresponding to price. On Etsy, there are a LOT of U.S. suppliers that import from China. That’s not to say you shouldn’t support them…I buy within the US, especially small businesses because even though they may be selling imports, at least I am supporting a small business here in the US.
    Hope this helps!

  • Linda Herd says:

    I would recommend Rio Grande (riogrande.com), Metaliferrous in NYC (metaliferrous.com) or CGM (I don’t remember their website but you can Google them). All have high quality findings, have been in business a LONG time, and stand behind their products.

  • Linda Herd says:

    I would recommend Rio Grande (riogrande.com), Metaliferrous in NYC (metaliferrous.com) or CGM (I don’t remember their website but you can Google them). All have high quality findings, have been in business a LONG time, and stand behind their products. If you know other jewelry makers in your area, you might send in a group order so you can get a volume discount and save money. Also, local bead stores (not chain stores) offer a variety of findings of various qualities. Become a friend there and you will reap the benefits.

  • Katie VanPatten says:

    Hi Dawn –

    I order most of my findings from Rio Grande and Fire Mountain. Both have excellent discount programs for larger purchases including extra discounts after you reach a predetermined expenditure. I purchase mostly sterling, solid bronze (Rio is excellent for this beautiful gold alternative), niobium, solid copper and gold filled products.

    I only use plated findings, if and only if, I cannot find something else that matches the feel and intention of my piece. Then I manipulate my price accordingly and inform my customer that the item is plated.

    Although people in this article have mentioned the importance of buying locally, one thing that no one has mentioned yet is that precious and semi-precious materials are limited resources. We currently do not have the technology to extract the minute amounts of precious material from plated components. (also, it is not worth the cost to do so). When these components wear out, they go straight into the garbage….where the precious materials they do contain are potentially lost to us forever.
    Even more unfortunately, much of our trash ends up in third world countries where the poorest inhabitants and small children try to melt these products down in open kettles to retrieve the smallest portions of usable material to sell. By doing this, they ensure their survival for another day, but as a disabled person myself, I cannot stomach the end result for their long term health and well being.

  • Libby W says:

    Hi Dawn,

    I have done some shopping around since I do a lot of soldering and I keep coming back to Rio Grande. I do however shop at JewelrySupply, Etsy, FireMountain and Artbeads. I also try to buy stuff when the sales are on even if I don’t need it right then. I make most of my own earwires to save money.. There are lots of great examples on Pinterest.
    Rio also sends out catalogs every few years. There’s just something about a catalog. 🙂

    Good Luck

  • David Kresge says:

    I agree that it’s better to make your own whenever possible. Some of my customers prefer large, heavy earwires. Others like creative shapes. All of my items are designed cor an individual need.

  • Kathy Zee says:

    I get my stainless steel ear wires through Fire Mountain. They are surgical stainless steel and my customers love them. Also I love to buy from Artbeads.com. They have great quality, excellent tutorials and no problem sending something back if you don’t like it. They always have good sales on Tierra Cast which I use quite frequently in my designs. I also do buy from Etsy stores as well. Aunties beads.com has lots of great deals on seed beads, tila beads and other things on their website that are high quality and good prices. When buying ear wires the Nobium ones are hupo allergenic but a little pricy. I always key in surgical stainless steel and that is what i buy. I just bought some Swarovski pearls for a special order bracelet from Artbeads and they are gorgeous. Hope this helps.

  • Karen Klett says:

    I began making simple bead jewelry a year or so ago & have purchased most of my findings at either Michaels or JoAnns. Please tell me what specifically is the problem with the quality. Is it the material that they are made from or that they bend/twist/break easily? Most of what I make I wear myself or give to friends & I’ve not had an issue. What am I missing??

  • Nancy Vaughan says:

    Most of the work I do is in coppers so niobium ear wires are always my first choice. If you have time to shop around you can find sales and good prices on quantity orders. I frequently buy from Rio Grande but I also buy them from Art Beads and Beadaholique. If you are looking for an all around good source for many thing go to Lima Beads. I have been buying from them for many years and have never been disappointed in my purchases. They have excellent service with fast shipping.

  • Christine Tapler says:

    Out of all the places mentioned, no one said anything about fusion beads.com they carry a wide variety, a little more pricey than Rio Grande but often have sales if you sign up for their emails. I usually wait for a sale and stock up!
    Also I have bought findings on ebay, but I will say to be careful. I usually only buy from US vendors as they have to abide the US laws about “925” being Sterling Silver. India and China vendors often try to get away with sending you items that they say are, but really aren’t. If it’s a item “made in china” but sold by a US vendors you should be safe.
    I enjoy the Intergem Shows also and find a lot of materials there also, some of those vendors sell over the internet too. So if you find one you like at a show, you can continue to buy from them year round.

  • Joyce Rafferty says:

    I have been happy to do business with Artbeads.com,in WA. They have quality products, and have online tutorials as well. Usually free shipping, or at least a small shipping price, and I have never been disapointed in their products. You can read reviews by other users. before you buy. Best of luck in your jewelry making adventures!

  • Karen Darr says:

    I have had very good luck with munrocrafts.com. Especially, they have a hypoallergic gold colored metal (called Hamilton Gold – not really gold, but gold colored) earring wires. They have many products available. They pricing is very competitive. Good luck.

  • Kris Ballo says:

    Hello, I like to order from Jan’s Jewelry Supply which has quite a few vintage supplies that tend to be better quality than what is made now. This company is based in Oklahoma. A really good thing to think about is that if you just buy from the regular businesses like Jo-Ann’s and Michael’s your jewelry pieces may not have a very individual look.

  • Dawn Carpino says:

    Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts and opinions. This is such a great community. I ended up ordering some things from Rio Grande, haven’t received them yet.
    I will check out the other suggestions in the future also.

  • Annette says:

    I like Bead Buddies. They carry great quality findings and not expensive.

  • Leslie Schmidt says:

    I too used to buy things from the Big Box stores and was equally disappointed. I discovered B’Sue Boutiques and LOVE their findings. She has amazing platers and won’t accept the cheap plating. She is a vintage supplier and things come and go, so buy when you see something you like. I also have learned to make beaded segments for my necklaces when I don’t find chain I like.

  • Karen says:

    I totally agree with Dianne. It’s not a good idea to use big box craft stores in your design. Many Etsy sellers actually source their products from Alibaba and, yes, most of them are made in China. I used to use Rio, but switched to a New York wholesaler AZFindings.com for my silver and gold chains, findings couple years ago. Their product quality is about the same as Rio, but the price is better. Good luck with finding your own suppliers!

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