I get a lot of questions as to where I find all my beads and other mala-making supplies, so I decided to make an ongoing list for you! I will continue to update as I find other good places to buy. :)
Where to Buy Mala Cord
For cord, I prefer using 100% Griffin Silk Cord, .08mm wide (size 8). It’s already cut to a length of 2 meters, complete with a wire needle on one end, making it easy to string beads. For my mala, I use a single strand to knot -- if you prefer to double up your cord, you’d probably need 2 cards' worth of this particular cord. The best price I’ve found is here. Sign up for their emails -- I often order 40-50 cards at a time when there’s a 20% OFF sale!
Other mala makers prefer Beadsmith's S-Lon nylon beading cord or Caravan Beads' C-Lon bead cord. You can buy it individually, but a multi-pack of assorted colors is a great way to build your stash when you're just getting started with mala making.
Want to learn more about the most popular types of cord for mala-making? I've written all about it here -- including magical correspondences of each material option (silk, linen, etc.).
Where to Buy Gemstone Beads
For gemstone beads, I buy a lot of my non-gemmy beads at Panda Hall. The quality is good for mala use -- though I make sure to pay attention and look for A and B-grades, etc.
If you're looking for opaque stones like howlite, standard-grade amazonite, tiger eye, etc, Panda's great. They also sell wood beads (cedar and sandalwood, etc) for great prices.
Just be warned: these beads ship from Asia, so shipping times vary and shipping costs extra (dude, they're shipping rocks lol).
Once you've gotten used to what types of beads you like most, you'll find you end up purchasing from many different suppliers, as all of them have different strengths. Panda's strengths are quantity and affordability. If you want AAA-quality stuff, this is not the site for you.
My second most common bead-hoarding spot is eBay -- gemstone beads here. Note that to shop for beads on eBay, you REALLY need to be familiar with what you’re buying. I’ve heard horror stories of sellers calling glass beads “turquoise,” “emerald,” “smoky quartz,” “citrine,” etc -- because of the color (I mean, not so horrific in the grand scheme of things, but still). Just be aware and use the above link for gemstones, specifically.
For truly amazing beads and focals, there’s Intrinsic Trading. I mean, just LOOK at their double-point bead collection.
Intrinsic is the place I send anyone who says they want quality. It's the best place I've found for the gemmiest stones (go here for lodolite, tourmaline, labradorite and moonstone that actually flash, and more). This is the most consistent quality I've found of any bead seller online.
Another great spot for crystal point pendants is Cherry Tree Beads. They are very affordable and available in lots of colors and stone varieties. I really like that they have drilled towers and double-terminated hexagonal options too.
Lima Beads is another small company with a lot of beads that are perfect for mala- and bracelet-making. They've got standout customer service and a wholesale program, too.
If you've got an EIN, it's definitely worth it to sign up! Check out Lima for exquisite raku and handmade stoneware beads, as well as some really great lampwork for excellent prices (prices that get even better when you sign up for the wholesale program).
If you're looking for African trade beads (GUH, they are so freaking beautiful!), definitely check out The Bead Chest. They've got the best selection, but it rotates quickly so if you see something you like, GRAB IT! They've also got a wholesale program.
I can't stress this enough: if you're making malas to sell, register your business so you can sign up for bead sellers' wholesale programs. You'll save quite a bit of money in the long run and also avoid paying taxes twice.
You'll always find the best beads when you're able to shop in person. Most of us don't have that luxury, so hopefully you're finding this helpful!
Where to Buy Crystals
I also use eBay to buy crystals for pendants and focals I make myself. Shop the rock and mineral section of eBay here. This gem and crystal section is much less shady when it comes to the descriptions. You can get some AMAZING deals -- especially if you’re buying bulk!
Making Your Own Crystal Pendants
While we're on the subject of shopping for crystals, want to know how to make gemstone pendants without having to drill them? Check out this other site I’ve been building -- SoftSoldering.com. It’s nowhere near finished (photos are lacking), but I tried my best to share thorough supply lists and links on Amazon for easy purchasing. Learn how to make soft-soldered pendants with the Tiffany method, like these here:
And finally, for unique, one-of-a-kind artisan-made beads and focals, I LOVE supporting independent makers on Etsy. Here are some of my favorites:
Carved bone pendants:
Please note that “Tibetan Silver” is usually just made from a tin alloy (which means it's technically pewter). Unless it’s vintage, there’s probably no actual silver in it at all.
This can be a problem for people with metal allergies to zinc, nickel, antimony, etc.
There’s no standard for labeling exactly what’s in these pieces. BUT they are beautifully made by artisans, each one from SCRATCH -- and I love them so, SO much!
Don’t discount them just because they’re not actual silver (side note: the ones that specifically say “sterling .925” generally ARE -- but these are hard to find).
Also, don't confuse "Tibetan Silver" with "Hill Tribe Silver" - Hill Tribe Silver actually is silver (also known as "Karen Hill Tribe").
I hope this has been helpful! If you a favorite source for beads or other mala-making supplies and feel like sharing, please let me know. :)
*Please note that some of these links may be affiliate links, and I may gain a small commission if you buy something (at no extra cost to you, of course!). I truly appreciate it -- it will keep this blog’s lights on. Please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at TheWeekendMystic@gmail.com if you have more questions or are having trouble finding something. I’ll do my best to help you suss it out!