How Halstead Bead Began

We are frequently asked how the business got started. Our story is in fact very similar to the stories of many of our customers. A hobby took root and eventually grew into a new career.

The Halstead story began in about 1970 when Tom bought a strand of antique African trade beads because of his interest in archaeology and anthropology. He showed his purchase to colleagues at work and immediately had bead orders from half the women in the office. Tom and Suzie then decided to make beaded jewelry for Christmas gifts that year. It went so well that they continued to make jewelry to sell at craft festivals for extra income.

Halstead 1975

The business continued to grow until they took the plunge in 1975, quit their jobs, and gave the beading business  their full-time attention. The company started with the name Halstead Bead, Seed and Snake-oil. (Crazy hippies!) That name wouldn’t fit on the license form so it was shortened to just Halstead Bead. Eventually the Halsteads stopped making jewelry and started reselling wholesale beads. Over many years the business evolved into a complete jewelry supplies operation that sold to other bead retailers throughout Arizona and gradually expanded to include clients across the country.

Many jewelry supply and beading resellers that are still in the business started around the same time and have very similar stories. It is wonderful to be part of an industry full of family companies with an appreciation for the jewelry arts. Halstead Bead Inc. is still owned and operated by the Halstead family and will be around for many more years to come.

See our 40th anniversary video and many more at: Halstead Jewelry Minute!


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  • Hello Halstead Bead people. I remember that story well. I also remember Suzie’s father almost having a heart attack at the thought of Tom quitting his job to sell beads. He thought the kids were crazy. It was a wise decision and in the end, Dad was very proud of Tom and Suzie.

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