Thursday, July 7, 2011

Acrylic Beaded Fringe compared to Glass Beaded Fringe

I have many people ask if the beaded fringe carried in my shop at are glass or acrylic.  I have been purchasing and using beaded fringe for well over 10 years now and have in my personal stock probably 200 types of beaded fringe.  If anyone is telling you their teardrop beaded fringe is glass and they are charging less than $50 a foot, they are mistaken.  I have never seen 100% glass beaded fringe yet unless it is all seed beads. I think they use acrylic on teardrop fringe as otherwise it would be entirely too breakable and fragile.  

If you have priced Czech glass teardrops or briolletes, you will find that they are between $.50 and $1.00 per bead.  Celestial crystal beads are about the same and Swarovski will run between $.75 and $2.00 at most shops per teardrop or briollete.   Thus, glass beaded fringe would have to be hand made and would probably cost about $25 to $35 per foot just to make.  Swarovski would be more like $75 to $150 per foot.  So, to those looking to purchase glass or crystal beaded fringe, I wish you the best, but you would likely have better luck buying the beads and making it yourself than you would finding it. 

Most acrylic beads have shine and luster much like glass.  Acrylic is a very hardened, high quality plastic.  Teardrop ends also provide weight for even distribution and hanging of the beaded fringe.  The better quality the acrylic beads, the better it hangs.  Plastic beads or beaded fringe without heavier beads on the bottom will often have a more uneven look to the way they hang.  I have certainly found many very nice quality beaded fringe types in acrylic and glass seed beads.

I make Victorian ornaments using beaded fringe (see picture).  I put Swarovski crystals on the ornaments themselves by hand, but when asked if the beaded fringe is Swarovski, I always answer, "If it were, the price tag would have another 0 on the end of it."  Someday I will make an ornament with all hand made Swarovski beaded fringe that I will make myself.  When I do, it will indeed another 0 on the end of the price (or I will just keep it).

Happy days and thanks for stopping in!