Chinese Crystal Beads

What do you think of the new Chinese crystal beads?

With the news about products coming out of China the last couple of years, I had serious doubts about the quality of the Chinese crystal beads that have been flooding the bead shops and shows. Sure, they look pretty, but what's the quality like? And what about the other issues regarding buying Chinese-made goods today?

During my recent bead buying trip to New York City, I stopped in at City Beads and purchased several strands of Chinese crystals to add to my collection. I'd already purchased a few strands from The Hole Bead Shop a few weeks earlier, and I was eager to see what the other shapes and colors were like.

The prices of the strands were considerably less than the per-piece price of the Swarovski beads and even less than the Czech crystal that I've sampled as well. The colors were deep and intense, almost to the point where they were overwhelming. You really had to lift each strand up to look at it on its own before making a buying decision.

The shapes of the Chinese crystal were the same as the Swarovski and the sizes the same as the Swarovski beads.

Maybe it was my imagination, but the Chinese beads felt lighter in my hand than the Swarovski. It could be because of the lead content – Swarovski crystal beads have a higher amount of lead in them than other types of crystal beads, which gives them that very distinct sparkle. And lead, as a chemical element, is heavy, thereby resulting in a heavier, denser bead.

I've started working up a few projects using these Chinese crystal beads, and so far, they work beautifully with the seed beads. I'm not certain about the durability of these Chinese crystal beads. I suspect that they may not wear as well as the genuine Swarovski crystal beads, or even as well as the Czech crystal beads, but only time will tell. For now, I'll stitch up a few more projects and wear them around to see how they fare.

Meanwhile, what are your thoughts about these Chinese crystal beads? Have you used them yet? What do you think about the quality of them? Do you have reservations about buying inexpensive products that were manufactured in China? Share your thoughts and ask your questions here!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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