© 2014

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for underdogs. I’m also a bit of a sucker for a deal. So when those two factors combine into the opportunity for me to get a slightly-less-than-perfect bead for a great price, I usually have a hard time saying no. I figure that eventually all my beads will be “gently preloved” anyway, so I’m just accelerating that state in some by occasionally getting beads that have already put in their dues.

The Pandora Silver Flower with Gold Tip came to me more than a little gently preloved, but the price was right and the fact that the gold tips on one side are a bit bent isn’t enough to bother me. The few little dings on the silver also contributed to the lower price, but you don’t see those unless you’re taking a close-up picture. ;) The Trollbeads Bee on Hive has a hexagon with one slightly unformed side, probably a result of a casting error and not damage after the fact, but since the rest of the bead is fine, it was easy enough to overlook and it immediately found a home upon arrival. Outside of these two, my other silver beads are intact, with the occasional one suffering from a slightly worn maker’s mark, which is inevitable over time.

The most common fault that I’ve seen in glass beads are loose cores. I don’t always remember to check cores when buying in person or to ask about them if buying online, but I’m not particularly bothered if the bead spins slightly around the core. I’m sure I would be more diligent if it bothered me more. While I can usually forgive loose cores, I can’t ignore all flaws. My Trollbeads Black Silk has the unfortunate distinction of having not one, but two strikes against it: inconsistent colouring and at least one chip along the ridge. While I know that the silk beads do vary in shade and usually that adds to the appeal, mine is half gold-tone and half black, making it harder to use in combinations since the degree to which it matches the other beads depends on which side is showing at any given time. If that was the only flaw, I might sell or trade it, but I can’t in good conscience pass it off to someone else with chips in the glass. I do still use it sparingly so I haven’t tossed it in the trash, but it’s definitely on the hit list to be replaced (as soon as my wish list shrinks a little!).

My ambers haven’t faired much better, but mostly due to my own faults, not theirs. I dropped one on ceramic tile and it shattered. I did a trade for a Trollbeads World Tour Baltic Gold amber, which I knew had a small chip in it, but during the journey to me the chip expanded into a larger crack. Undeterred, I took a dremel to it (otherwise it was bound for the garbage!) and have started carving it to get rid of the crack. It’s still a work in progress, but if it turns out decently you might see it on these pages one day! And my artisan amber, new and unblemished when it arrived, recently took a tumble and cracked into two pieces – something that I thought would certainly resign it to the garbage – but with a few drops of extra strength glue, you’d have to know that it had been broken in order to see where it had been repaired (Hint: it’s not where there’s a hole in the edge, that’s a natural imperfection). The fact that it has debris and other visual distractions in it certainly helps!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on imperfections. Do you accept flaws in your beads as a sign of their uniqueness, or do flaws drive you crazy enough that beads have to be rejected because of them?

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  • 3 Comments

    1. July 5, 2014 | #

      Imperfections in stones I don’t mind if they work with the material and don’t make the stone vulnerable to cracking, but I’m very impressed with your sticking together and taking a dremmel to another!! Bravo!

      I did pass on a goldstone with a chip in it (which had been passed on to me originally) to a friend who didn’t mind it, but it was on the edge and it bugged me too much whereas she wasn’t bothered by it at all.

      Small dints near the core, or loose or wobbly cores generally are fine, the only bead that I’ve really wanted a perfect example of but haven’t found yet is the faceted amethyst. I’m still on the search for a daker version with no inclusions.

      Mars xx

    2. Tracy
      July 5, 2014 | #

      That is my newest concern with the more “sparkly” ambers – that what makes them beautiful is also what makes them more vulnerable to cracking :\ My grungy amber has quite a few pits in it though, which are clearly just a natural part of the amber and really work to make it more interesting! But I know of at least one person who wasn’t happy with pits in their amber – I think they were concerned that water/soap/whatnot would get in and potentially damage the amber?

      My RBF white coral also has a crack in it (was like that when I got it) but you can’t really even see it unless you’re looking for it. Now that the White Coral is retired, I’m contemplating picking up a “backup” since it seems to be getting a fair amount of use and I’m not sure how fragile it really is with that crack.

      The one bead that I forgot to mention in this post was the Trollbeads Stay Positive bead! I think that one actually has a slightly flawed design since mine has bent just a bit over the course of the year that I’ve had it. I guess the more open design just means it is subjected to slightly more pressure when resting your arm or whatnot.

    3. July 10, 2014 | #

      I’ve not got the stay postive bead myself so not sure, but silver is a fairly soft metal so I can imagine that might be an issue for the design.

      I love the sparkly ambers, hell I love any amber pretty much, I have a post coming up that is amber related (again), will probably publish next week. I’ve been lucky with mine and not had any issues, I did send back my first WT Baltic Gold which came with a big chip in the edge though! The replacement has now developed an inclusion which I think might be an internal crack… but I do bash my beads accidently so I’m pretty sure I’m the cause of that one!

      Mars xx