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Vintage Beads

The term ‘vintage’ applies to goods made 30 or more years ago.

Off Beat Design stock includes Vintage beads made in Germany in the period from the end of WW2, to about 1970. The material – Lucite – was developed by Dupont in 1930.     It is strong, durable, and can be shaped into intricate and seamless designs.

Coco Chanel and other leading European designers found it was unmatched for the ability to take an infinite variety of striking colours which endured over time.

Manufacture ceased about 1970 when cheaper materials became available.

American costume jewellery designers imported these beads in huge quantities. When the market changed, pockets of stock were left languishing in warehouses across America.


Our principal supplier is a third generation American bead wholesaler. In the early 90’s they were offered a warehouse full of these beads, untouched for 30 to 50 years! Never made into jewellery, and still as beautiful, and durable as ever.

These beads are increasingly difficult to find, but we still have some stock.

There are other vintage beads. – Vintage crystals including Swarovski, fabulous vintage pearls, vintage Czech glass, treasures from Africa and the Middle East, semi precious stones and many other beads, never been made into jewellery before.

We continue to collect, and you will often find prized possessions included in exclusive jewellery designs by Lesley.