Gypsy Dragon is a Los Angeles based wholesale bead company that has been importing inventory directly from overseas since 1990. We import most of our inventory from Germany, Thailand, and China, along with other places around the world.
Specializing in Vintage German Glass, Thai Marcasite Silver, Hill-Tribe Silver, and Cubi(CZ)irconia, Gypsy Dragon is notorious for finding new products that trend their way to success in the jewelry world.
Please browse through the selection of products in our online store or contact a representative to schedule a meeting.
Vintage German Glass Beads are colorful, unique, beautifully designed glass beads that were produced in Gablonz, Germany up until 1945 and then continued in production through the 1960’s in New Gablonz, West Germany. When Gablonz became a part of the Russian bloc and the great glass artists were forced out of their homes and work at the end of World War II, they moved to New Gablonz, West Germany, a new city 300 miles away from Gablonz.
Erich Huschka, an exile from Gablonz, was responsible for jump starting this new city by opening factories were there had been munitions plants. During the height of production, there were as many as 500 factories turning out these extravagantly gorgeous beads. Then the economy began to change, and the workers were provided other jobs with better salaries and working conditions. By 1969, there were only 50 to 75 factories still in production. (Modern West German Glass Buttons, by Lucille Weingarten and M. W. Speight, published by National Button Society, 2002) The supply of Vintage German Glass Beads continues to decrease since they are no longer being manufactured. Because of the manufacturing process, the exquisite, colorful, fashionable, and highly desirable beads were, and still are, far superior to any other glass beads. The variety in design, shape, size, and color, as well as the limited supply, make Vintage German Glass Beads extremely popular.
Vintage German Glass Buttons are the result of the artistic skills and imagination of the German manufacturers in Gablonz, Germany before World War II and New Gablonz, West Germany afterward. Like the Vintage German Glass Beads, the buttons are treasures of the past never to be produced again. The distinctive artistry is evident in the wide variety of button styles, colors, shapes and the emulation of unusual finishes like fabric, frost, brilliants, jewels and metal. Some are pearlized or iridescent. For the fashion industry, the vibrant colors were created to match fine fabrics ranging from the primary colors to myriads of hues to enhance beautiful garments. Although all the buttons are glass, some have tracings of gold or silver. Some button designs are elegantly simple statements to add to the individual quality of clothing. For button collectors, the inventory is filled with Moonglows, Auroras, and other types from the clear and colored glass classification. The collection also includes buttons to be glued onto clothing, belts, bags, costumes, and earring backs.
Cubic Zirconia is a cubic form of zirconium oxide that is created in a laboratory, thus it is not a mineral. However, it was found in its natural state in 1937 by two German mineralogists, von Stackelberg and Chudoba, but has yet to be discovered since then. The two mineralogists thought so little of their discovery that they did not even give it a name; which is why it is still known by its scientific name Cubic Zirconia. It wasn’t until the 1970’s, however, that Soviet scientists learned how to grow CZ’s in the laboratory. To the untrained eye, Cubic Zirconia looks identical to a diamond, with fire and flashes of color. The overall effect is so similar that it can even fool a trained gemologist on occasion. Cubic Zirconia has a hardness of 8.5 on a Moh’s Hardness Scale, which is as close as you can get to a diamond at a hardness of 10.
Thai Sterling Silver Marcasite Beads are sterling silver beads (92.5% purity) in which small, polished and faceted marcasite stones are set. Marcasite, whose name is derived from the Arabic word for Pyrite, is an attractive mineral. Marcasite is a metallic pale yellow, brass color stone. Marcasite jewelry was popular in Victorian times and made a resurgence in the 1920’s and 1930’s as people looked for attractive low cost alternatives to diamonds. Queen Victoria wore Marcasite rather than diamonds for over forty years. Cleopatra was known for wearing Marcasite and believed it helped preserve her beauty. Marcasite has again risen in popularity in recent years due to its endearing beauty and wide variations now produced.
Thai Hill Tribe Silver Beads are fine silver beads, hand-fashioned with 95-99% pure silver content. This is a higher purity then sterling silver (92.5%). These beads offer beautiful color and greater resistance to tarnishing, are easy to bend and shape into forms, and still maintain their aestheticism. Every bead and component are the work of expert silversmiths from one of the seven Hill Tribes of the Golden Triangle Region. This region, located where Thailand, Laos, and Burma come together, enjoys a century-old tradition of fine craftsmanship.
Chinese Glass Beads mostly come from Southern China. For a long time, it has been assumed that the Chinese were not important glass bead makers. It was thought that van der Sleen had the last word when he wrote that “Chinese museum officials told him China never exported glass beads.” There is little doubt he was told that, although, his mistake was that he believed it. The Chinese produced some very elaborate beads before the Han dynasty, but afterwards most glass beads were made to imitate precious stones, especially jade, the “stone of heaven.” Chinese Glass Beads have come a long way from when they were first manufactured. The Chinese have a very good work ethic and are now very driven in succeeding at the top of the bead world.
Chinese Stone Beads are mostly last processed in Northern China. The stones for beads are mined in many countries throughout the world. Most are from the North and South Americas, Africa and Asia, although some are also mined in Australia and Europe. Regardless of the origin of the stones, the Chinese Stone Beads will be labeled “made in China” because they are required to be labeled from the last place they are processed, not from where they originate. Chinese Stone Beads usually include Jaspers, Agates, most of the Opaque Stones and some of the Quartz Stones. They come in all sizes and many different cuts. They are machine cut and tend to be more uniform in shape and size.
Gypsy Big-Hole Beads are manufactured in China. These beads were produced because of the small supply of big-hole beads on the market. Leather, hemp, and hair can be stranded through the Gypsy Big-Hole Bead. This bead is almost identical to a Pandora Bead, one difference being that the Gypsy Big-Hole Bead has base metal surrounding the hole versus Pandora’s sterling silver. This allows the prices on the Gypsy Big-Hole Beads to be extremely reasonable. The Gypsy Big-Hole Beads also fit on all Pandora Jewelry.