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?