What are your hours?
How can I get in touch with Bead Paradise?
Where are you located?
How do I get to Bead Paradise?
Is your retail store the same as your online store?
Can I purchase a gift certificate?
How do I know how old a bead is?
Why do some beads have variations?
What is the difference between vintage, antique, and ancient?
Are you a Fair Trade dealer?
Why are some items not included in the discount?
What are African Trade Beads?
What is Coin Silver?
What is Roman Glass?
Bead Paradise is open Monday through Saturday 10AM – 6PM, and Sunday Noon – 5PM Eastern Standard Time. Our website staff is available Monday through Friday 10AM – 3PM.
If you have questions, please feel free to call us at (440) 775-2233 or email us at email@example.com.
If you have a question concerning merchandise from our website or an order you placed online, please call Monday through Friday 10AM – 3PM, and ask for Stephanie or Tim.
Bead Paradise is located in historic downtown Oberlin, Ohio. Our address is 29 West College Street, Oberlin, Ohio 44074. We are just a 15 minute drive from the Ohio Turnpike, and 35 minutes from downtown Cleveland, Ohio.
Please click on the link below and add your starting location to receive directions to Bead Paradise.
(link to google maps)
We carry many of the same beads in our retail store as we provide for sale online. Our retail store has a broader variety of beads including newly made beads, tools, books, and stringing supplies. We also carry women’s apparel and accessories, fabulous handmade jewelry, imported and American made gift items, and natural health and beauty products. Check out Our Store page [link to Our Store page] for more information about our retail store.
We are happy to offer Bead Paradise online gift certificates. Just click on the Gift Certificates link at the top of the page, fill out the appropriate fields, and you're all set!
Gift certificates purchased online are only available for use on our website. If you would like to purchase a gift card for our store in Ohio, please call us at (440)-775-2233.
We try to provide as much information as possible for each listing. Many of the beads and components sold online will have a date for when it was produced included in the description.
Many old beads have slight variations due to age and wear. Part of the beauty of these old beads and components is that no two are exactly alike. We make every effort to ship beads which are similar to the photographed item you purchased.
Vintage beads and components date from 20 to 90 years old. Antique beads and components date over 100 years old. Ancient is often defined in Western society as predating the Roman Empire in 476 AD. The beads on our site that are classified as ancient have the broadest range of age, dating from 1,000 years old to the earliest beads that we carry, which are nearly 4,500 years old.
We are not a certified Fair Trade dealer. We do have long standing relationships with many of the bead traders we work with. Most of these bead dealers have small family run businesses, and are creating job opportunity in 2nd and 3rd world countries. We are proud to work with them and continue with the ancient tradition of the bead trade.
Some of the items for sale on the Bead Paradise website are not available for further discounts. Many of these items are antique Karat gold beads and antique finished jewelry. Due to the fluctuating gold market and the rarity of these finished pieces, we can not offer additional discounts on these items.
African trade beads are rich in history and variety.
African glass trade beads were mostly produced during the 1600-1800s in Europe. They were traded throughout the continents of Africa, Asia, and the Americas, with a concentration in West Africa, during the 17th and 18th centuries. European merchants traded glass beads with African peoples for palm oil, spices, precious stones, gold, ivory, and in some cases slaves. Venetian, Dutch, and Bohemia glass were the most widely produced and distributed glass beads from that time.
Not all African trade beads were imported from Europe. Many older African Trade Beads were made up to 2,000 years ago by tribal people throughout West and East Africa using a number of rich native materials including amber, wood, coral, shell, ivory, snake vertebrae, and bone. Hand-drilled and carved stone such as amazonite, carnelian, quartz, granite, and jet are excavated in several West African areas, particularly in Djenne, Mali, which has become one of the richest archeological sites in the world for beads. Metal beads and components in gold, silver, brass, bronze, copper, and nickel were either hand fabricated or were cast using primitive lost wax techniques.
There are also many African trade beads that are produced today. A few of the newer varieties include recycled glass from Ghana, metal beads and heishi from Ethiopia, and batik bone from Kenya.
All of these varieties of beads are exported by African traders and sold throughout the world. African traders travel a rough road, to remote areas, gathering these old beads one by one or sometimes in strand form to sell to collectors, designers, and merchants.
Many of the old silver beads we carry from India, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Africa are referred to as coin silver. Coin silver beads are comprised of approximately 80% silver mixed with other metal alloys. European coins from the 1800’s and early 1900’s were made with a similar silver content and were sometimes melted and re-fabricated to create jewelry components. These beads are not a fine science of ingredient and can vary in silver content. The tested pieces are made from 80% silver, on average.
Roman glass beads were produced in Italy dating back to the Roman Empire and earlier. These beads were traded along the “Silk Road”, the main trade route between Europe and Asia. Roman glass beads are excavated primarily in Djenne, Mali, but have also been found in Niger, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Mauritania. The patterns on these mostly blue and green glass beads are often circles or “eye” designs, with some lines, but are generally quite simple in design.
A newer form of Roman glass has entered the market place recently. These beads are made from shards of Roman glass bowls, cups, and jugs, which are cut into shapes and re-purposed to use in modern jewelry designs. The material is ancient, but the beads have been drilled or re-shaped today.