And those who prefer the original—and only the original.
Many film buffs have already watched the new, live-actionMulan and have fallen head over sword in love.
Others grew up on the 1998 animated version and refuse to accept any iteration ofMulanwithout Eddie Murphy in the cast.
In general, many movie fans are delighted at the reimagined picture. Some, not so much.
Perhaps that’s because the new iteration is much more of an action movie, while the original became famous thanks in large part to its memorable songs.
One of the most beloved of these songs is “Honor To Us All.”
As Mulan is treated to a hurried spa day and transformed from horse-riding adventurer to eligible beauty in three minutes and four seconds (to be exact), she is given a few tools to help her impress the matchmaker.
“An apple for serenity, a pendant for balance” (sing along with us now). “Beads of jade for beauty.”
Aha! Beads! That reminds us, have you ever heard of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads?
This company is known in jewelry circles for its breadth of product offerings. But how did the company come to be? What exactly does it sell? How much do products cost? Are they of quality? What do customers have to say about the brand?
If you’ve got a cricket and are feeling lucky, keep reading to learn the answers to all of these questions and more.
It’s 1986. You and your spouse have lived in Hollywood, California, for the past 13 years. And it’s time to relocate to a quieter part of the country.
Where do you go?
Well, if you’re Stuart Freedman, you go to Cave Junction, Oregon!
In the mid-’80s, Stuart Freedman and his wife Chris packed up and moved to this rural town at the southwest tip of Oregon.
This small town offered a dramatic change of pace from Hollywood’s bustle, with its national park as the main attraction and a population of less than 2,000 still today.
Already fascinated with beads, stones, and gems—particularly turquoise—Stuart and Chrisbecame inspired by their new surroundings’ natural beauty. They decided to expand their existing jewelry supply company, previously founded in 1973.
Knowing the few Cave Junction residents could not serve as the company’s only customer base, the Freedmans launched a mail-order jewelry company.
And the rest is history!
The Cave Junction location was soon outgrown, and the business moved to nearby Grant Pass, Oregon—where Fire Mountain Gems and Beads still has its headquarters today.
Today, Fire Mountain Gems employs hundreds of workers and boasts a substantial presence as an eCommerce direct marketing company. It is estimated that over 20,000 people around the world source and manufacture its many products.
In a simple internet search of “largest selection of jewelry making supplies,” firemountaingems.com turns up as the fourth search result.
The top search result takes web surfers to a site designed for artists, including several blogs. One blog, titled"25 Best Jewelry Making Resources," names firemountaingems.com as the list’s eleventh resource.
What types of products does Fire Mountain Gems sell?
The mission of Fire Mountain Gems is simple: “Uniting the world one bead at a time.”
Well, friends, that’s a lot of beads, considering Fire Mountain Gems lists over 100,000 different products on its website, and over half of these items are some variety or other of beads!
Plastic beads and pearl beads, pink beads and purple beads. Shell beads and seed beads, shiny beads and square beads. Tiny beads and textured beads, turquoise beads and tube beads.
Chances are, if you’re looking for some type of small piece made from some type of material with some type of perforation for threading (aka, a bead), you can find it on this site.
But wait, there’s more!
Fire Mountain Gems also sells thousands of jewelry making supplies.
From clasps and coins and clay to charms and chains and cabochons!
Side note. If you’re not familiar, a cabochon is a gemstone that has not been cut down to a flat top. Cabochons are polished to make a flat bottom and curved top, resulting in a smooth, convex-shaped piece. Fire Mountain Gems sells over 2,000 varieties.
And if you need quick inspiration on the go, the Fire Mountain Gems Pinterest page includes scores of themed boards. Fan favorites are Jewelry for the Holidays, Everything Chainmaille, Butterfly Jewelry Designs, Fashion Accessory Ideas, and even Men’s Fashion Trends.
The company also sells complete jewelry. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, anklets, pendants, and rings all come in a variety of styles.
If it has anything to do with jewelry, chances are you can find it on the Fire Mountain Gems online store.
Not surprisingly, the company’s tagline is, “Yousupply the creativity, we supply everything else.” This line is registered as a company trademark.
Mulan is all about being loyal, brave and true. And, believe us. This tagline couldn’t be truer!
How much do Fire Mountain Gems products cost?
Let’s begin with the company’s most popular product. That would be—you guessed it—beads!
When sorted by price range, the largest category of beads includes those priced under $5. The lowest in this category is one of the business’s latest deals—a 15-inch strand of multi-colored glass and gemstone beads for a total of 50 cents, down from $2.50.
This price point becomes even lower when you add in a coupon code or get thrifty with some Fire Mountain Gems coupons.
Taking a look at the highest-priced beads category, almost 3,000 types of beads each cost $100 or more.
The most expensive of these are 10mm-wide beads made of crysophrase, an apple green-colored gemstone with a small quantity of nickel. Each 15-inch strand of this bead will set your pocketbook back $1,615.
By the way, if you wish to channel your inner warrior princess and wear beads made from jade (like Mulan), you’ll need to sift through over 300 varieties.
The priciest of these are dark, nephrite jade beads selling for $71.90 per 16-inch strand. On the other end of the spectrum are tube-shaped, olive jade beads currently on sale for 60 cents per 16-inch strand, down from $2.90.
What is the quality of pieces sold by Fire Mountain Gems?
Now, let’s go back to the basics. Or, rather, back to the beads.
When it comes to the quality of beads on the Fire Mountain Gems online site, it is helpful to take a look at one of the brands of beads.
Perhaps the most recognizable brand represented on firemountaingems.com is Swarovski Crystal. This particular label accounts for over 19,000 beads sold on the site.
And Swarovski crystals, diamonds, and pearls are widely known to be of the finest quality.
While not all Swarovski beads sold by Fire Mountain Gems will force jewelry makers to take out a second mortgage, the priciest item under the category “Fancy Stones” is a single, embellished rhinestone which sells for $415.
Moving on to gold, visitors to the Fire Mountain Gems online store might notice the beads can be filtered by category. And one of these categories is “precious metal.” But be careful. A great adjective does not necessarily make a great bead.
Among the search results under “precious metal” are gold-colored beads and gold beads.
It is important to understand the difference.
Gold colored pieces are composed of a lesser quality element—like copper, silver, nickel, or a combination thereof—and brushed over with a thin layer of paint resembling the color gold. In other words, not all beads with the word “gold” in their description are made of gold.
True gold beads, on the other hand, are made using real gold. The ever-popular karat is a measure of how much gold is used in proportion to other metals mixed in, out of a possible total of 24k. For example, an 18k-gold bead is composed of 75% genuine gold (18/24 = 75%).
Fire Mountain Gems sells beads in a variety of karats. Just keep in mind that more karats do not necessarily equal more value.
Let’s also take a look at sterling silver. Silver is classified as a precious metal but on its own can be too soft for daily wear. Thus, designers often combine silver with other metals (typically copper) to make the jewelry stronger and more durable.
Sterling silver denotes pieces made with at least 92.5% fine silver, which happens to be the industry minimum. On the downside, sterling silver tends to tarnish over time.
Stringing it all together, pieces sold by Fire Mountain Gems are neither the best nor the worst quality. While there are exquisite rhinestones and 14k-gold clasps for a premium price, such items also share the website with inexpensive plastic charms and soon-to-discolor chains.
In essence, you get what you pay for.
How is Fire Mountain Gems’s customer service?
Impressively, the Fire Mountain Gems’s online store has a page dedicated entirely to customer service.
The business lists a variety of ways to get in contact with a representative, including convenient live chat, traditional mail, old-fashioned fax, a catalog request link, and email.
And if you want to speak with a real live human being (a rarity in today’s automatic world, let’s be honest), there’s even a phone number too!
Fire Mountain Gems’s return policy is comparable to those of other businesses. Customers may fill out and mail in a return form and the unwanted product within 90 days. Items must still be in the original packaging and accompanied by the initial invoice.
Returns are processed within five days of receipt. Customers are eligible for a full refund to the original payment method or via credit applied to their Fire Mountain Gems and Beads account.
Keeping in mind that most customers are individual consumers or businesses purchasing bulk quantities at wholesale prices, the Fire Mountain Gems Facebook reviews currently stand at an impressive 4.6/5 stars.
Also on the site’s customer service page are quotes from real customers. And a new quote appears each time the page is refreshed.
The quote featured at the time of this writing is, “I am enjoying your web site VERY Much. The information and free projects are just wonderful. Thank You."