Living in Europe has its advantages when it comes to being a bead collector. Europe
has a year long schedule of jewelllery and bead fairs to keep you busy for the
Trade fairs like chibimart in italy is easily one of the events of the year.
Chibimart currently has hundreds of exhibitors from all over the world carrying
endless variety of beads. I often attend this fair to see all the materials
available, and I never gotten disappointed. Although the size of the fair vary
depending on the season, I find the winter fair an interesting time to go just to
check the colors and materials for next season.
When it comes to looking for particular hard to find pieces I notice trade fairs
have to most variety and gives me the best chance to finding what I need. Findings
for example is quit hard to find if your looking for new designs. Beads fairs in
Germany like Early Bird have the largest collection of findings I have ever seen.
There are about 9 major companies distributing all kinds of findings even offering
made to order designs from all kinds of materials. I usually get my brass collection
from these fairs. I notice the past few fairs have gotten smaller but the coming
year looks promising with more exhibitors from all over the world.
I enjoy trade fairs and have made a lot of friends and business connections from
attending such events. It may sound expensive but transportation to these fairs
usually cost more than the ticket you need to buy to get inside these fairs. If you
know a participant they usually are allowed to give complimentary tickets but I
highly discourage this free me from any obligation from buying from them.
I usually solve my transporting expenses by planning ahead and getting my air
tickets a month before. I did have some problems with trade fairs in Milan which has
very expensive accommodations. But staying in hostels in the city has solved my
I highly recommend attending trade fairs to any bead collector. It has open my eyes
to a whole new way of looking at beads from all over the world.