Online shopping: Fire Mountain Gems

Justina of Padua by Bartolomeo Montagna – 1490s Vicentine — Loving the embellishment and trim in this portrait

While working on my 1480s Florence garb, I’ve been looking for a few things. Jewellery shops, fabric stores, notion-supply shops, bead shops; anywhere I thought I could find some of the elements for my costumes I’ve been looking, but coming up (mostly) empty. I decided to turn to online, and place an order with Fire Mountain Gems.

A lot of what I already have in my “stash” or was finding in-store was silver-tone. That’s usually great for me because I far prefer silver-tone, but for this project, I distinctly needed and wanted gold-tone findings; that was a lot more challenging without shopping online.

I placed my order on December 24th (yeah, not the best timing, but I finally had a chance to sit down and figure things out since I was working up until the 24th!). They’re located in Oregon (so presumably that’s where they ship from) and I received my package on January 6th.  Pretty good – two other packages I ordered in the same time frame didn’t arrive until later.

I figured that I’d share what I ordered – mostly so that I have a reference back when I’m documenting my project – but I thought I’d share here in case anyone is interested.

I’ll be adding in direct hotlinks from the website for photos, so sorry in advance if any of the  links break.

For decoration/clothing embellishment

Portrait of Ginevra Sforza Bentivoglio,c.1480 by Ercole de Roberti – such lovely sleeve embellishment!

Flower links

Flower links

Item Number: H20-9104FY
One package of 100 links
I ordered these thinking they would work to decorate sleeves/trim on my costume.

The link is slightly domed, but after getting them I still think they’ll work if I choose to use them.

Smooth “heishi” beads

Item Number: H20-1451MB
Sold in a package of 100, I got one package of these, hoping to use them to decorate sleeves/trim.
(no picture available)

These are very simple, but I actually kind of like them for this use – they’re kind of like a non-faceted, slightly thicker sequin. Now.. just to see how I’ll use them…

Blue Moon orange and gold-tone links

Item Number: H20-C1450CL
Orange and gold links

I bought 4 packages of these, which have a variety of sizes all in the same orange acrylic “gemstone” surrounded by a gold-finished steel band/cage/setting. I was thinking of using them instead of the Crystals below on sleeves/trim, but wanted to see them in person.

After getting them, I’m still a bit torn – they aren’t quite right either… and are fairly poorly made, even within the package several of the ‘gems’ are falling out of the ill-fitting settings.

Gold-plated brass diamond links

Item Number: H20-5128FY
I bought two packages of 48 of these 20x20mm little pieces. I had planned on using them to decorate sleeves/trim.
(no photo available)

They arrived a lot brighter than I had anticipated, but there are lots of  perfect little holes to sew them down, and add pearls or other beads, so I think they’ll work fine. In retrospect, I should have ordered the antique gold tone instead.

Sew-on Swarovski Crystals

“Sapphire” crystal rose montées

Item Number: H20-2738CY (Siam) & Item Number: H20-2741CY (Sapphire)
There are only 24 per package, so I bought two packages each of “Siam” (red) and “sapphire” (blue). They do have silver-toned mountings for the ‘rose montees’, which doesn’t really work with my colour scheme, so I’ll have to see if I end up using them or not for this. I bought them to decorate sleeves/trim, although they’re likely more faceted than they should be for this time period.


For jewellery


Sponge coral beads

Coral beads

Item Number: H20-6913CL
One 15″ strand, 8-9 mm
I ordered these to mix with pearls (below) for a necklace for this costume, since there are a lot of portraits and documentation about the Italian use of coral for jewellery in this time period.

When these arrived, they seemed a lot less unified in colour than I had hoped for, but since I won’t need the entire strand for a necklace, I’ll likely just pick out the beads that best suit my needs.

Faux pearls

Item Number: H20-7763GB
2 strands of glass pearls, size 8mm, ivory tone
I got these to go with the coral as above for a necklace. I have lots of faux pearls at home in my “pearl box”, but I wanted to ensure the size would be exactly the same, so figured this would ensure I had exactly what I needed.
(Photo not available)
These seem like decent pearls, and should work just fine for my project.

Bead cap

Bead cap

Item Number: H20-8767FY
10x3mm flower-shaped bead cap, to fit beads 8-14mm, package of 50
These were also for the necklace, since I knew I had bead caps at home, but not necessarily the right size or in gold-tone. The package was fairly inexpensive, so although I only would need a few, I opted to order.

When I got the caps, I was disappointed – they will NOT fit on the 8-9mm beads correctly at all, they’re definitely meant for a significantly larger bead. I likely will relegate these only to “stash” and not use them on this project.


For clothing function

End bars

Item Number: H20-4783FX
I bought three packages of these end bars, with 6 in each package, for use of attaching sleeves to the bodice of my gown.
(no photo available)

After looking at more portraits, I think I could have picked something a bit more embellished and decorative than these; they’re a bit plain, but specifically I wanted something with two holes on it with which ribbon could pass, and there weren’t a lot of options in the size I also wanted. (Many of them were quite small, which I didn’t think would work.)


Toggle clasps for lacing rings

Item Number: H20-8989FY
I bought two packages of these clasps, each with 20 in each package, for lacing up my bodice.

In getting them, they’re pretty much perfect to me. In looking at portraits, there seems to be a pretty wide variety between very small lacing rings with very little embellishment, and very large ones that are very ornate, but I think that these will work perfectly.

Now.. just to figure out what I’ll do with 40 left-over clasp bars!

For other projects

I also picked up a Mjolner/Hammer of Thor pendant, a Lunula (Norse & Slavic lunar symbol of femininity and fertility) pendant, some French wire, and some steel necklace cord. These are all for my continued Norse kit. All seem workable, though we’ll see if the steel necklace cord works the way I want it to.

I also ordered a hinged bracelet buckle, with a skull on it much like my rhinestone bracelet re-make buckle.

Finally, I also ordered two different kinds of Blue Moon brand links for an eventual Tudor costume. (Though they’ll likely just go in the stash for now, since I’m not ready to even research a Tudor costume, let alone start embellishing finished pieces!)



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