I love hearing from my customers, visitors and fellow beadmakers. The comments I get in email are usually very nice and kind, and I sincerely thank everyone for the feedback! Sometimes questions get repeated a lot, so in the interest of saving time, I have drawn up this FAQ to help answer some of the most common questions. Please check this page before emailing me. Thanks!!
Q.Where can I order your beads?
A. To see what beads are available, go to the Beads For Sale page.
My gallery pages are basically my portfolio - these are beads that have already been sold, and are shown as a representation of my work. They are not for sale.
Q. Can you email me when you have beads available? / Do you have a mailing list I can join?
A. No, the mailing list has been retired. I will announce new beads here on the website or in Facebook.
Q. Do you have a printed catalog of beads?
A. No, I don't have a printed catalog.
Q. Do you sell wholesale?
A. I'm sorry, I do not offer wholesale pricing.
Q. Do you sell at bead shows?
A. Not at the moment, but that may change - I will announce it on the website!
Q. Is your work in bead stores/galleries?
A. I don't personally go and sell work to offline stores or galleries, but I have had store owners and gallery owners purchase beads I have had on auction or on the website, so you might see a few things here and there at some point. :) But I have no idea where! If you're a store or gallery owner and have my beads in your store/gallery, feel free to let me know so I can put up a link!
Q. What payments will you accept?
A. At this time, I accept payments through PayPal.
Q. How soon will I get my beads? What's your shipping policy?
A. Domestic shipping is by U.S. Postal Service first class mail, and is $3.00. Shipping to Canada is $10 and International Shipping is $13. I will combine shipping for multiple bead sets if all purchased at one time. If you are a US customer, and would like insurance, please let me know. My PayPal isn't set up to add insurance automatically, so please email me. I insure my packages using Stamps.com, which does not have any visible "insurance slip" on the package. It's electronic, so if anything happens with your insured package, please do let me know.
Items will be shipped within 1-2 business days of receiving payment (unless it's a custom order, which will take longer). Shipments usually take 3-4 days in the US, 1-2 weeks internationally. For international shipping, please do allow 4-6 weeks (some packages have gotten caught in customs, so please do check your local customs office if you haven't received your order after two weeks or so). Please make sure the address you provide is correct and complete.
Please note that anyone making an international purchase is responsible for their own duty fees or any other fees imposed by their home country when receiving packages. I will not mark "gift" on customs forms, nor will I misrepresent the value of the items purchased. (It seems silly to put this here, but I have been asked for this many times - I cannot do this because there are hefty fees involved if I get caught).
Q. What is your return policy?
A. I want to make sure that you are completely happy with your bead purchase!
For returns/refunds in the same condition the items were sent: If for any reason you are not satisfied with any item purchased, you may return it for a refund. I ask that you please obtain a refund authorization by emailing me within 10 days of receipt of the item. Refunds do not include shipping costs. I do reserve the right to impose a 10% restocking fee on returns. This is usually not necessary, but will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
For replacement of broken beads up to 2 months after you purchase them: If a lampwork bead should break during the first 2 months, you may return it for a replacement. Please email me and let me know if this happens. Breakage is rare, but does sometimes happen. Please do take reasonable care when using these beads - they are glass. :)
Q. What are lampwork beads?
Lampwork on Wikipedia
A. Lampwork is a term used to describe glass beads made by melting glass with a torch and wrapping it around a metal rod. The term "lampwork" was used many, many years ago when people used to blow air through oil lamps to melt the glass. More information as well as a glossary of terms can be found on my blog Coloraddiction.
Many people who are new to beading sometimes confuse artisan-made lampwork with imported mass-produced lampwork from India, China, Turkey and the like. It's also easy to confuse artisan made lampwork with Czech or Venetian made lampwork, which are sometimes higher quality than mass-produced lampwork. Artisan made lampwork is almost always more expensive, but almost always higher quality, and it's often kiln-annealed so it won't break as easily.
Annealing is the process of slowly cooling beads in a temperature controlled kiln (oven) so that the glass molecules have a chance to slow down. This reduces stress in the glass, so that it becomes more stable and less breakable. Many sellers of mass-produced lampwork claim their beads are annealed. This is usually not correct - mass-produced lampwork, and even Czech lampwork are cooled in fiber blankets, sand, vermiculite or even nothing at all. This cools beads way too quickly, and does not reduce the stress in the glass - therefore the beads are far more breakable. To be annealed, glass must be placed in a kiln and cooled over a period of several hours (how long depends on the type of glass).
When buying lampwork, make sure you understand where it is coming from and what went into making it. Be careful you're not buying imported beads from people claiming to have made the beads themselves. There is a place for all beads - some of the mass-produced beads are very pretty these days, and cost effective for jewelry designers. However, artist made lampwork is usually of the highest quality - it's much less breakable, and beads are often unique and made with more precision and care. Lampwork prices tend to vary so much, it's really hard to tell what's worth your money and what isn't. It's best to do your homework before buying any glass beads to make sure you are getting the quality you desire. Here are some links if you would like to find out more information:
International Society of Glass Beadmakers
Q. What kind of glass/materials do you use to make your beads? Where do you get your supplies?
A. I use Italian, German, Chinese and American soft glass. Some of the brand names I currently use are Effetre, Vetrofond, Double Helix, Kugler, Creation is Messy, Reichenbach and Lauscha. On occasion I will use frits (crushed glass) and pixie dust (mica-based sparkle). My beads are made with a oxygen/propane mix torch (either my Nortel Minor or my Cricket), and then placed in a kiln to be annealed for lasting durability and long wear. I get most of my glass and supplies from a couple of merchants here in Washington State.