Hello folks, thanks for all the comments on Facebook, Instagram, blog and mail asking about my well being. I am truly grateful for your love and affection. As my trip was very short (11 + 1 extra day due to time difference it was very hectic. Out of the 12 days, I spent 4 days travelling, 4 days at beadfest and 4 days sightseeing, apart from being sick for 9 of them (and still am with a horrible cold that refuses to go). But I don’t want to keep you guys waiting to hear about my adventures, and so, here is a short post on the beautiful beads that I saw at Beadfest Summer 2016, held at Oaks near Philadelphia, United states of America, between the 17th-21st of August (expo from 19th to21st)
This was my first time at Beadfest and first time in USA so before my Travel I had this question on my mind – what to buy at Beadfest? Why, Beads, ofcourse, people said, as it is literally in the name “BEAD FEST”. I saw beads, a great variety of them and went around photographing quite a lot as well. Beads were available in every color, shape, size and material possible. It was like an exotic treasure filled cave.
Friends, who saw my instagram posts asked me if I bought them all, Sadly my answer is no. I visually feasted on them, but I didn’t buy any as most beads. Most of the beads were from India or China and are available here at atleast half their respective fest prices and I was on a teeny weeny budget. However, they were beautiful to see, and wonderful to touch and feel. Here are some of the pictures of Beads to buy at Beadfest.
Beads to buy at Beadfest
Semi Precious Beads
I think there was enough Lapis Lazuli there to buy a small house in the countryside. Wonderfully blue and beautifully streaked, lapis was available in every shape possible – coins, nuggets, teardrops, rounds, and cabochons.
There was no dearth of semi precious beads like carnelian and agate either. I found lots of large agate slices in pastel colors and druzy agates in candy shades. Again just with regard to price (without thinking about quality) these were higher in price compared to even American web stores like Firemountaingems, beadaholique or even Autnie’s beads (which I consider slightly pricey). But they were extremely yummy to look at.
Pearls and MOP
There were 3-4 types of pearls available – real fresh water pearls, synthetic pearls, Shell pearls, and Swarovski pearls. Most of the pearls were from China or were being sold by Chinese vendors.
Most glass beads were Artisan made Lampwork beads or seed beads. I know that manufactured or recycled glass beads are not easily available in America, but I was surprised to see that the Indian vendors not carry them as well. I hope they do realise the opportunity and fill in the gap soon. The following picture was taken on Friday, when the expo was relatively free, I couldn’t take any pictures on the weekend as the lampwork booths and by extension the expo was quite packed with people.
Resin and Acrylic
Beadfest has something for everyone in terms of beads. While I saw individual beads being sold $12-$20, I also saw bunches of $3-$5 resin and acrylic beads and loads 1 dollar crystal strands.
I saw lots of different types of beads from across the world – African discs, Tibetan turquoise, Nepal cabs, beetle wings, and Afghan Coins. I recognised a majority of those materials I have come across them in Neena Shilvocks’s Caprilicious Jewellery blogposts previously. Oh Neena! You should have been there, you could have gotten all your favourite stuff at one place 🙂
There were multiple vendors selling Cabochons, but this particular booth was captivating as it had a huge wall of cabs. This image only shows a portion of their display which by itself is drool worthy.
Apart from these types of beads, there are also wooden beads and disks, enamelled beads, metal beads, and Polymer clay beads. If you are in America then beadfest is one of the best places to buy beads, for the variety is just fantastic. A really big crowd comes out just to shop for beads at the expo. On Sunday afternoon, I saw and heard so many Indians (Tamil, Kannada and Hindi was spoken freely) that I felt that I was in Alwarpet or RA Puram in Chennai than in Oaks, Pennsylvania. South Indians are obsessed about quality and value and the fact that they were out there, shopping in large numbers only goes to show the quality of merchandise that was being showcased and sold there.
So what did I buy if not beads? To find out the answer to that question tune in later in the week to see my USA supplies haul.
I hope you found it interesting