I am feeling so despondent with buying beads and stones online all the time and I wished there was an actual shop I could visit. After several searches on Google I still can’t find anywhere local to Leeds.I miss the tactile, visual and interactive experience of shopping for beads.
There are several drawbacks to buying online in my opinion, the main one is the time it takes to trawl through pages and pages of stones finding what you think you might like, getting the measuring tape out to check sizes and the choice of suppliers and stones is just so vast. Time is money as they say, and this adds a huge amount of extra hours needed just to source your materials.
70% of the time I am very happy with what I have purchased online but occasionally, colours are different, sizes are not what you imagined and the pattern on the stones can be hit and miss. Online stockists list things with as much detail as possible (measurements, hole size,) so they do try their best. Gemstones are all individual and unique too so what you may see in the photo may not represent what you actually receive, however, that is just unavoidable.
Thankfully, Yum Yum Beads in the Victoria Quarter, Leeds, have started to stock gemstones so I took a trip over. I have been a regular visitor for years, remembering the days when they used to be in the beautiful Corn Exchange. I used to go about once a week at one point but since I started to work with gemstones only I stopped going as regularly. The beads at Yum Yums are gorgeous and there is a superb selection of glass, metal, ceramic beads and findings. Upstairs is the newly opened gemstone floor and this is what got me really excited. On my last visit I was informed that a new delivery was arriving soon and there will be more choice of gemstones available. What wonderful news!
Upstairs at Yum Yums. The gemstone bead floor.
So far, Yum Yums are only stocking the smaller sizes of gemstone beads so if you after bigger stones there aren’t that many available there. If you are familiar with my work you will know I am not afraid of using big stones, I am hoping these will be coming soon. They do have a selection of pendants and I managed to get a really lovely pink Moukite Donut Pendant which was very reasonably priced too. I have just finished working on that this weekend and am very pleased with the colour combination with the copper.
Admittedly, Yums Yums is a little more expensive than buying online but at least you are not met with any disappointments when the beads arrive in the post. Many beads stockists are from China and the choice on the internet is just vast. The time it takes for international delivery is also an issue as by the time the beads have arrived you don’t feel the urge to create or make what you ordered them for! With an actual shop you know what you are buying, what colour it is, and exactly how big it is. You can check out if colour combinations work too.
So it seems that if choice and cost is a priority (which it is for me) then we have to stick with online buying, but I know I won’t be able to resist the occasional trip to look at, see and feel the beads I want to choose and buy. My hunt for more stockists and retailers of gemstones will continue and I will of course share any discoveries I make.