How to find the Bead you Need.

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Looking for Beads on Ebay can be a time consuming experience.  If you don't have the time or the resources to spend hours hunting around for the right bead then this is the guide for you.


Preparation is the key to maximizing your experience on Ebay.  Before you sign in carefully consider the following:

  • Type of bead - pearls, gem stones, fire polished, crystals, lamp work or seed beads.  It is always practical to search only for what you need and having it in mind before you start is very handy.
  • Colour schemes - If you have a particular piece of jewellery you would like to make, sort out your colour scheme before you start.  This is one of the most efficient uses of you time.  Otherwise you could spend your valuable time bedazzled by the huge variety and never find what you actually need.
  • Shapes - The shapes of beads can be as varied as the colour.  Know what shape you want, or at least what shapes you don't want. It's no good spending time looking at Heart shaped beads if you need round ones.
  • Sizes - In this case size does matter.  Beads are generally listed by millimeter sizes.  Look carefully for the actual size of the bead.  Pictures can appear misleading. If your unsure of what size is being described have a ruler in front of you when you start.  And if your unsure of what size you need measure some of your existing beads. Don't be caught out thinking your buying a large bead when in actual fact it's only 4 or 6mm's. 


Choosing the right search can be extremely time saving.  Ebay has approx. 45000 beads currently listed.  If your on dial up or perhaps using your lunch hour at work, then this is where you save the most time.  Here's a couple of great tips:

  • Be Specific - So lets say you want a lovely strand of pearls.  You could just type pearls in your search bar but there are about 16000 items listed.  Remember your preparation.  Know the shape and colour.  Get specific with the search. Instead of just pearls type white pearls or if you have a shape in mind, type that in too i.e. white baroque pearls. Now you've narrowed the search, in this catagory there are only 12 items currently listed.
  • Use advanced search - Advanced search is great if you have a couple of items to find.  You can place a search for all these items at once by entering them in the search bar and then excluding what you don't want in the exclude bar.  i.e.You want white baroque pearls but not ready made jewellery. So enter your discription and then exclude necklaces, bracelets and jewellery from your search.  Some may still get through but you've narrowed your search even further.  Advanced search is also useful if you only want to purchase from Australian site or if you have a maximum price in mind.  All these can also be entered in your search.

Product Listings      

Looking at the Product Listing can be like going through a chocolate covered checkout with a three year old.  But now you have the list in front of you, there are a couple of more ways to save your time.

  • Product description - Undoubtedly some things you don't want to look at will have gotten through your specifically narrow search.  Product description is a great sorting tool.  Remember too however, that some site will list a whole heap in the product description just to get you to look, but what is described may not be there.
  • Pictures - If your looking for beads and the picture shows you a finished necklace then there is no need to look at that item, move on to the next.  If your looking for white and you see purple, move on.  Pictures are great, many times, better then the description.  One small hiccup with pictures can be the size of the picture that a site has listed.  Sometimes if the picture is too big it takes a long long time to appear.  If you don't have time to wait for it move on.

Looking at your choice     

Yippee!  You found the bead you need.  Now before you get swept away by the moment stop and check these last few points:

  • Size and Amount - Yes, that's right you need to check the size in the actual product description and the amount of beads you are purchasing.  Sometimes 50 beads will be shown when you are actually only bidding on 5 or the picture will show a beautiful large bead and it's only 6mm. Don't be disappointed with your purchase - check.
  • Seller's Feedback - Always look at the seller's feedback.  The percentage is a great one glance indicator but if you are still unsure check the feedback itself.  Find out why others where not so satisfied.
  • Item Location - Be sure you check the item location.  If it's Australia you can be sure of receiving your purchase in the next couple of days. But if it's overseas the parcel will take longer to get to you.  Some sites helpfully list the delivery period.
  • Payment method - Some sites will only accept certain payment methods such as Paypal while others will not accept Paypal at all.  If you are limited yourself in how you can pay for your purchase then make sure you check.
  • Postage costs - Ok, here is one that catches even the best Ebayer.  Your may be looking at a real bargain but you must always take your postage costs into consideration.  When buying from some countries like China and USA you have to remember that they have to pay tax on the item leaving their country.  You may be looking at 10 strands of beautiful white baroque pearls with a starting bid of only 99cents but the postage costs could be up around $55.   Some sites also add on postal insurance.  Don't get caught out.
  • Favorites - Always remember to put a great site in your favorite sellers.  This is a truely useful tool.  You can even add a hint to remind yourself why you liked this site so much. i.e. Great Baroque Pearls.

My Final Tip        

Enjoy your ebaying experience.  Remember if you prepare and stick to your preparations you'll have heaps of extra time to look at all the other beads on offer.  One final point though and Yes this one has caught me out a couple of times.  Don't think 'It's going in 5 minutes - I have to bid NOW'.  You have 5 minutes, use it.  Check the description, postal costs and size.  Don't be disappointed.

Since this is my guide to finding great beads I'd like to finish with a list of some of my favorite sellers.   (Excellent Crystals)    (RareVintage Beads)   (Hand made Lampwork beads)
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