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What Are Some Tips for Storing Beads?

Keep beads of the same type properly stored in labeled containers. Clear containers with multiple compartments, each with a flip-top lid, allow you to separate the beads by color, shape, or design, and make it easy to see them. Other container ideas include fishing tackle boxes, stackable containers with makeshift dividers, tube holders, ice cube trays, and pill bottles. Choose containers with a lock or tight seal to prevent spills and to keep curious children from getting to the beads. If you accumulate many containers for your beads, then using a rolling drawer cart makes it easy to move them around for crafts. Store entire strands of bands in zip-top bags, and label them to keep the strands untangled and organized.

How Can You Identify Vintage or Antique Beads?

Vintage and antique beads can be worth money, so you should carefully study any beads that you think might have value. Begin by examining the beads under a good light source to look for markings and specific characteristics. Seams indicate a mold used to make a plastic or pressed glass bead, while certain textures can indicate that the bead has aged. Look for fading or chipping that designates age, and note any distinctive markings. It is also important to study the hole in the center of the beads because a larger hole may indicate greater age. If the bead is cold to the touch, it may be made from stone, glass, metal, pearl, or shell. Warmer, lighter beads may be plastic and are likely newer. Shuffle the beads in your hands, testing how they sound. Soft, dull tapping indicates plastic, while a heavier clinking indicates a material such as glass or metal. Use all of the information you gathered to check reference books and online sources, comparing your notes to vintage and antique beads detailed in the literature.