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Subscription Bead Boxes: A Great Gift Idea!

Trying to find the perfect gift for the jewelry maker in your life? Look no further.
What will we discover in these mystery boxes?

Have you ever tried a subscription box, where for a monthly fee you can have a package delivered to your doorstep containing surprise assortments of assorted products? New ones crop up every day, featuring everything from makeup, children's science projects or pet supplies, to artisanal beef jerky or Korean snack foods. Even old standbys like monthly book club subscriptions have been spruced up, providing readers with book accessories, candles and tea to set the atmosphere to go along with your new novel. But when I saw an advertisement for bead boxes, I knew I had to investigate further. 

I did some research and discovered there are many different subscription services; seven agreed to send me a sample of one of their boxes for review. I enlisted the help of Facet's web editor, the staff of Bead&Button magazine, and one of our Kalmbach jewelry book editors, and last week we sat in a conference room and opened all the boxes. It was the best day!

I was expecting to write a review ranking the boxes that I received from best to worst, but to my own delighted surprise, there are no "worsts"! We were so pleased to discover that no two subscriptions were even remotely similar, that each of them represented a truly great value for the money, and that each box would make a wonderful gift for the jewelry maker in your life (or to put on your own list for Santa).

Each of us around the table liked different boxes for different reasons; I'll do my best to outline why! Three boxes are reviewed here; click here for our reviews of four more


BEADS OF THE MONTH CLUB by Adornable Elements


COST: Most boxes are $22.95 per month for a Single, $39.95 for a Double; seed beads are less, Swarovski is higher.

SHIPPING: $4.50 for one box, $6.50 for two, $10.50 for three, etc.

CAN YOU CANCEL? Yes, at any time.

ARE GIFT SUBSCRIPTIONS AVAILABLE? Not via the website, but call or email.

RETURNS ACCEPTED? Yes, 100% money back guarantee.   


Operating since 2000, Beads of the Month Club is one of the oldest that I was able to find, and they clearly know exactly how to satisfy the finicky beader. They offer seven different types of subscriptions: 2-Hole Beads, 11/0 Delicas, Swarovski crystals, 11/0 seed beads, Superduos, a Hot and Trendy selection, or an option to rotate through the various boxes. You may opt to receive a Single box, or a Double that includes double the quantities of the same beads. Some of our Bead&Button editors just loved the ability to select by size and shape, since they are often working on new variations of patterns and need fresh colors, but exact sizes are super important.

The box that we examined was one of their newer offerings, the Hot and Trendy box. The beads arrive in small plastic containers that fit neatly in an organizer box -- the containers are a very nice touch, as all other boxes we examined shipped in baggies. 


There was a color theme for this month’s selection, called Woodland Majesty. We received eight different types of beads, all in complimentary colors of greens, creams and metallics. There were O-beads, daggers, pips, pellets and more featured in this box, with Rizos and Quads in some of the newest colors.  While perhaps not the absolute newest beads to hit the market, there was a really nice assortment and a very good quantity of each—certainly enough for a new bracelet.

The ability to choose the style of bead that you use most is definitely the upside of this particular subscription. The box ships via USPS Priority Mail and did include a list of exactly what you have received, in case you need to source more of a favorite new style or color. For your first box, you receive a free plastic organizer box and some bonus Swarovski crystals – you can earn more crystals by upgrading to other clubs.





This was the only box that we reviewed that provided a ready-to-make project. This box was great for advanced beginners to intermediate-level beaders, but with thoughtful touches for the newbie. Headquartered in a remote Alaskan village, Bead Trove owner Krystie DePue founded her subscription service when she couldn’t find a unique birthday gift for her daughter. Each month she selects a project from a featured designer and then compiles the materials needed to complete the project. A review of past boxes shows a great variety in beads, colors, stitches and designs.

bead trove 3

COST: $29.95 per month

SHIPPING: Included for US addresses; $3.30 to Canada or $5.30 (plus customs/VAT) to other international addresses.


CAN YOU CANCEL? Yes, by logging in to the website.

GIFT SUBSCRIPTIONS AVAILABLE? Yes, and you can choose the recipient’s favorite colors.


PAST KITS AVAILABLE? Yes, in limited quantities.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Yes, Facebook and Pinterest. Post your finished work there. The website also has a blog where you can learn more about the designers and about life in Alaska!

We received an email link to a download for a printable pattern, and then a box in the mail with the corresponding supplies to complete the project. The box contained everything we needed to complete the pattern for a Drop Petal Necklace, designed by Deborah Roberti. The step-by-step, full-color instructions were very clear and well-illustrated, and included an option to finish the necklace with chain instead of a string of beads.  There was also a pattern for corresponding earrings. The beads provided were a lovely color palette and included Swarovski crystals and Super Duo/Twin beads. Everything needed to complete the project was provided, including thread. All you need is basic tools: needles, a pliers, perhaps. 

When you subscribe, you are asked two preferences:  Colors I Love and Colors I Can Live Without, which I though was very nice touch.

bead trove 4

The beads arrived safely packaged in a padded mailer sent via USPS. The box arrived with a free gift of a beading mat and a #12 beading needle. A thoughtful touch was the inclusion of stickers to lay out on your mat to help you recall which beads correspond to the pattern. An experienced beader may not have a need for this but a beginner would surely welcome them! A beginner’s tool kit is available for purchase for the brand-new beader.  There is also a Rewards Program where you can earn a free box. 



Vintage Bead Box 2

The Vintage Bead Box was completely different than any other boxes we reviewed. It featured a selection of all vintage, one-of-a-kind beads that ranged from tiny faux pearls on a 36" strand to top-drilled Mother of Pearl chips to gloriously tacky golden plastic beads in graduated sizes to gorgeous flat-backed glass beads in a stunning black, just waiting to decorate a vintage sweater or handbag.

Vintage Bead Box 1

COST: $25.00 per month; cheaper if you prepay a 3-month or 6-month subscription.

SHIPPING: Included in the monthly cost.

CAN YOU CANCEL? Yes, at any time.

GIFT SUBSCRIPTIONS AVAILABLE? Yes, several different choices.


PAST KITS AVAILABLE? Due to the limited availability of these unique beads, no. But they do sell overstock on their Etsy store, Adelalexis.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Yes, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.  

Feelings around the table were mixed; our more traditional beaders were unsure what they would do with some of the choices, but this vintage girl was madly in love. Only at the best of estate sales have I been lucky enough to find selections like these. Any jewelry made from these components would be truly one-of-a-kind.

Two different boxes are available: a Surprise Mix or a Theme Box. The December theme, which I found on the website, is Winter Cabin, "inspired by cool, snowy winter nights, curling up to a warm crackling fire." That one has sparked my imagination! Both subscription boxes feature a mix of beads and findings from the 1930s to the 1970s. They arrived in a cheerful box with wonderful vintage imagery and brightly-colored packing materials, it was fun to open. The owner of Vintage Bead Box, Alexis Sixel, writes on her website that each month subscribers will find an assortment of very hard to find and unique vintage beads and findings, in styles ranging from Victorian, to Bohemian, to Retro. 

Click here to read PART TWO of our roundup, where we look at boxes from Bargain Bead Box, Bead Crate, Blueberry Cove Beads, and Dollar Bead Box. At least one will surely wind up on your Christmas list!
Our bounty on the conference room table!
FIND MORE: beads , findings , crystals , cabochon

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