This past Sunday I attended by first ever really large bead show, Bead Fest 2011 - Philadelphia. I have been to many trade shows for other industries and the size of the Bead Fest show was comparable, so no surprise there.
Attending Bead Fest was not something that I had planned ahead, but more a spur of the moment decision when I realized it was on...the venue is a two hour drive from my NEPA home...so I convinced my husband it was a good way for us to spend the day together. After all I have accompanied him to many comic and toy shows to scour for items to add to his collections...one good turn deserves another, right?
My husband turned out to be a good shopping buddy...he did the scouting and pointed out some really good vendors and items...of course some of the items he pre-selected where things I would have loved to buy...but were not in my budget...I mean some of my items are pricey but I would have to price in the stratosphere to use some of the very beautiful gems he directed me to.
Nonetheless I did manage to pick up some very nice gemstones and such while being quite frugal and not buying anything I wouldn't be able to use right now....there were so many tools and materials I'm not ready for that I could have dropped a load of money on...but I was a very good girl.
I will now share some photos of my treasures...not all of which would be considered "treasures" by others but we all have our market and price points to cater to!
These Pyritized Ammonite cabs were purchased from Unique Russian Mineral of Fort Lee, NJ...no website.
This is definitely my favorite group of gems..unusual super teardrop Agate beads, Citrine Druzy, Red Tiger eye cabs, Amethyst Stalactite, Calico Pyrite Druzy...all from http://www.villagesilversmith.net, They don't seem to have the incredible selection of beads and cabs that they had at the show listed on their website...but they had some really beautiful and unique stones.
Here's some copper chain I bought from http://www.chelseasbeads.com/
I also purchased some more ordinary items from a couple of smaller vendors...this Donut Assortment from vendor unknown
And these short strands offered at a very attractive price by JC Gems Company
I primarily purchased from vendors that had good prices and unusual selections...some of the more well known vendors had great selections and good prices but I chose to bypass them since I can always connect on their well stocked websites.
The best part of the day was unexpectedly running into several friends from the Jewelry Artists Retreat that I have attended for the last five years...that was definitely the highlight of the day!
Now that I have been to Bead Fest I am not sure that with it being a 2 hour drive I would do it again, not unless I was registered for a workshop...now I'll dream of going to Gemfest in Tuscon...and having a bank roll to take with me!