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How to Store Beads, July's Gemstones & Bead Fair Report


This month is how to store beads, July's birthstone & a report from the spring bead fairs.  Scroll down, or click one of the links below. 
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How to Store Beads
Ruby - July's Birthstone
July's Alternate Gemstone - Onyx
Spring Bead Fairs - 2012
Read about Nigel (MrBead)
$11 or £7 Discount

How to Store Beads

Fishing BoxEventually every beader is faced with the dilemma of how to store their beads. Everyone has their own way depending on quantity and availability. Some beaders use a fishing tackle box, plastic shoe boxes, wood or plastic utensil trays from Wal-Mart or Tesco – others, clear sliding drawers designed for nuts and bolts, plastic pencil cases, or plastic drawer storage bins. All these compartments are the ideal size for storing beads, findings, and tools. Sturdy and portable, they allow you see project options at a glance.

If you make handcrafted jewelry from beads, then eventually you will have a bead storage problem. Cardboard boxes or drawers are not enough. Everyone has their own way, depending on quantity and availability:

  • Fishing tackle boxes
  • Plastic shoe boxes
  • Wood or plastic utensil trays from a supermarket
  • Sliding drawers designed for nuts and bolts
  • Pencil cases
  • Plastic drawer storage bins
  • Tool boxes

Nut & Bolt BoxPencil CaseJar HolderAll these compartments are the ideal size for storing beads, findings, and tools. Sturdy and portable, they allow you see project options at a glance.

Inside these drawers you need to separate different types and sizes of beads. For small loose beads, tubes are good with a label or photo around. Zippy seal-able plastic bags are great for strands - plus they have a large opening to get inside. These bags can be brought from freezer-food and stationary stores.

Another way is to build narrow shelves for baby food jars. You can even screw the top of the lid to the top of the shelf so they always go back neatly. For small loose beads use old 35mm film containers, candy tins, aspirin bottles, and paint cans for larger beads.

Other ideas
Spice RackBead Box
One beader has eight spice racks that turn, bought second-hand, along with 16 glass jars with lids for her seed beads. Each jar has several shades of the same color. She just turns the rack to find the color she's looking for and the type of bead.

Another beader uses Tic Tac containers when she travels. They're small enough for all the different colors she needs and they never spill. She also stores beads in margarine containers because they're flat and can be piled on top of one another.


Sead Bead BoxBead JarsOther people use empty travel-size baby-wipe containers to transport their beads. These are lightweight, the right depth to hold tubes of beads, and they fit easily into a purse. With a little imagination, you can utilize many every-day containers. Transparent or translucent drawers are good for seeing what's inside.


More storage
MrBead's China Storage
However, as your collection grows you'll need a more and more containers. We use plastic drawers that are stacked together and labeled on the front with a photograph and a description of the beads inside - each measures about 8 x 8 x 18 inches.

These are ideal for us and sometimes we stack them ten boxes high, almost 6-feet up. MiMi has to stand on a stool to reach the top! Each drawer has a specific type or size of bead. Some are categorized by the kind of stone and color, as well as size. All jades are together, as are pearl, turquoise, and agates. They're also arranged in alphabetical order for fast finding a drawer.

Plus we use an Excel data base for our regular stock.  Each type of bead is given a number and the data base tells which draw it is in.  So whoever is looking for a particular bead can easily find it is.

To see our packing section click or                   top

Ruby – July’s Birthstone         ruby earrings

Ruby ChokerLike a perfect red rose, the Ruby's rich color speaks of love and passion.  July's birthstone is among the most highly prized of gems throughout history. The Ruby was considered to have magical powers, and was worn by royalty as a talisman against evil.  It was thought to grow darker when danger was imminent, and to return to its original color once safe.

ruby beadsThe word Ruby comes from the Latin "ruber," meaning red.  Ruby is the hardest mineral after diamond, a variety of the mineral Corundum, and is found as crystals within metamorphic rock.  It comes in a variety of colors, and is called a sapphire in any color except red.  Rubies range in hue from an orangey red to a purplish red, but the most prized gems are a true red.  Large rubies are very rare and valuable.  The most beautiful crystals are thought to be from Burma, but they are also found in many other countries.

Ruby RocksRubies were thought to represent heat and power.  Ancient tribes used the gem as bullets for blowguns, and it was said that a ruby would boil water instantly.  Ground to powder, this crystal was used as a cure for indigestion - and it has been said that the ruby's red glow comes from an internal flame that cannot be extinguished, making a gift of this stone symbolic of everlasting love.  And if worn on the left hand, ancient lore has it that the ruby will bring good fortune to its wearer.     

July's Alternate Gemstone - Onyx

Large Black Sardonyx Flat Oval Beads - Highly Polished!9 Snazy Onyx Teardrop Beads - Long & Unusual!The Romans, Italians and Hebrew all have a different gemstone for July - Onyx.

Onyx is a term used for several stones. It has been dyed since ancient time, with the popular pure black variety, being dyed microcrystalline quartz. Its natural color is usually brown, white or grey. And onyx used in architecture isn't a form of quartz at all, but a type of limestone marble. Onyx is very similar to agate. With straight bands of brown, white or black, where agate has curved bands of many colors.

Gleaming Black Onyx Pumpkin BeadsAlthough regarded as protective, onyx has a reputation as a stone of discord. Onyx was worn to cool the ardors of love, probably because it helps to balance the mind and emotions. Not only avoided by lovers, but also at night, as it provoked nightmares. However, it does improve concentration and devotion, hence many onyx rosaries. Onyx is a strength-giving stone, aiding confidence and useful for athletes or people under stress. Its energy is a mental tonic and can help you cope with fears and worries, making you feel in harmony with your surroundings.

To see our onyx click or                             top

MrBead Spring Bead Fairs 2012

This spring we exhibited at six shows, with the Lakeland Fair being cancelled.

Beads Up North! – 29th April
Haydock Bead Fair Haydock LogoGorden always does a grand job organizing this fair with good marketing and road signs.  Very busy almost all the time.  There is lots of light in this beautiful location in Haydock Race Course, close to the M6 motorway, and many exhibitors from down South. 

It was easy for MiMi and I to set up early as we were still suffering from jet-lag after arriving in the UK only three-days previous.  I always find it strange that everyone is speaking English after just arriving in the UK!




Edinburgh Bead Fair  – 6th May
Edinburgh Bead FairEdinburgh CastleThis is one of my favorites and I love the drive high up on the M6 and the Scottish culture – we always stay a few days in the Highlands after this one.  The show was as vibrant as ever with many visitors, although slightly less than usual.  The Corn Exchange is a great venue with a large hall, easy parking and a large catering section.

As usual we stayed the Saturday evening at a Travel Lodge and left right after the show for B&B at a Highland Village, Dunfeld, Perthshire.  Great place with great views, and I enjoyed the snow on the high roads there.





MrBead Luton Bead Show – 12th May
Luton Bead FairLuton Town HallOur first in my home town at a small hotel close to junction 10 of the M1 motorway, less than half-an-hour from London.

Although not as busy as I hoped, we did very well with some very large purchases – returning for another show here on 6th October.







Norwich MrBead Show – 13th May
Norwich Bead FairOur second time in Norwich and the busiest show we have ever sold at – every second was flat out! 

Although we marketing for this event well, a lot of credit is due to Lorraine Cannell of for her extensive campaigning, especially on Twitter where she has over 11,000 followers.  Lorraine will be back with us in Norwich showing her original bead jewellery on 21st October.




Cheshire Bead Fair – 20th May
Cheshire Bead FairNantwichMark & Sharon of Silver Orchid saved the day at this one, after the previous organizers done a runner with exhibitor’s deposits!  Without them re-organizing the event it would have been cancelled.

As always at Nantwich the show was very busy with a good turnout of both exhibitors and visitor. have booked the same hall for another bead fair latter this year.




Norwich Bead Society – 14th June
Norwich Bead SocietyNorwichThe second time we have exhibited at this twice-weekly beading group in Norwich in an excellent local church hall. 

As before, there was a good turnout and we will be back in October. 

If you would like to join this group just off the Ipswich Road, e-mail Nigel.







To see all our bead fairs booked click                                top

If you have a bead fair or beading group you would like MrBead to call at when we’re in the UK (next trip 18th September to end-of-October 2012), please email me at

Read about me (Nigel Mckay) at my new site at  NigelHayMckay.comMuch I have written from these newsletters on beads is already on the site + a lot more with photos - but I'm still working on the site and there will be a lot more to add in the future. 

Plus, by the summer, it will be interactive so you can add your own content. However, the blog is now fully functional - so please join in!


Much of this newsletter was taken from the book How to Make a Killing Selling Bead Jewelry To buy at a 33% discount to listed price click: US Version or UK Version

$11 or £7 Discount
Sample our beads with $11 or £7 Discount off in the MrBead bead store, just key in "beadbags" at the checkout (without the commas) and click "Redeem Coupon".

Offer  valid until Friday 6th July 2012 only - so act now! Only for use in our store at the checkout and not valid with any other offers.

To see all our beads at MrBead click or


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