Here’s a list of the top bead and gem shows. These shows usually feature a wholesale and a retail section, so make sure you have your paperwork in order!
Usually this means having your business license on you, and business cards, but check with each promoter before arriving.
Don't forget to bring a big bag (or a rolling suitcase lol), a bottle of water, and wear comfortable shoes!
International Gem and Jewelry Show
The larger bead and gem shows run by the International Gem and Jewelry Show tend to be the best, such as their San Mateo and Santa Monica, California shows. The wholesale section tends to be bigger, not to mention the amount of variety increases. This is by far my favorite promoter; even their smaller shows are not too bad. If they have both a retail and a wholesale section, spend most of your time in the wholesale bead show, but keep your eye out for great deals in the retail bead show as well.
Vendors range from fine jewelry, fashion jewelry, trend jewelry, to all manner of glass beads, vintage pressed glass beads, Swarovski crystals, amber beads, painted beads and pendants, etc.
Semi precious stone beads are in abundance here as well, you should be able to pick up some really nice basic bead strands such as amethyst, carnelian, amazonite, turquoise, coral, garnet, peridot, and moonstone beads. You will also see some unusual finds such as diamond beads, shell beads, carved beads and pendants.
In terms of findings, there are plenty of vendors specializing in bali silver findings, thai silver findings and beads, sterling silver findings, gold filled findings, and 14k, 18k, and 22k gold findings and beads. Make note of prices at each of the vendors you visit, as they tend to be pretty competitive with each other.
American Bead Shows
American Bead Shows covers the Nourtheast, Southeast, and Central United States. They have a combination of retail and wholesale vendors at their shows, as well as classes and demonstrations.
You'll find all sorts of things here: freshwater pearls, lampwork, findings, ceramic beads, crystals, craft supplies, gemstones, as well as finished jewelry ready to sell.
Intergalactic Bead Shows
The Intergalactic Bead Shows tend to stick to the East Coast, and the shows are mixed retail and wholesale. They carry a similar mix of beads as the International Gem and Jewelry Show: a nice variety of glass, crystal, and semiprecious stone beads, loose stones, findings, fine jewelry, and sometimes display vendors.
Whole Bead Show
Unique from the other bead and gem shows, The Whole Bead Show features a touring shop filled with vintage and vintage inspired European glass beads, sterling silver findings, bali silver findings, vintage findings, and vintage lampworked buttons. Semi precious stone beads, glass beads, and crystals are also featured. This is a mixed wholesale/retail bead show.
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