I'm only looking to buy Freshwater pearls, in between sizes 6mm-8mm, various colors (white, pink, lavender, and I'd like some dyed ones too!) and not drilled (I do that myself, as I only decide what to do with the pearl after I see it, in whatever way it inspires me). I would prefer round/near round, and minimum AA to AAA quality (these would be used in "one pearl" settings). I will also buy some buttons and rice shapes, but the buttons are sometimes more like "bread" shape/flatter, and that wouldn't always work for some of the settings.
I saw a string of AAA pearls for $25, which would probably be closer to 50 pearls, but to try to find one single pearl, undrilled, if I ordered 50 of those, well, it wouldn't add up to $25 at all, it would be more like $200+. I'm not understanding how they can sell a full string of near round/round AA pearls for $25, but I can't find the same undrilled for the same price!
Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
Freshwater pearls are drilled and temporarily strung at the factories in China. Earring grade pearls are the ones not drilled/strung there. Large vendors purchase in bulk and get wholesale rates for the hanks of strung pearls from which they make necklaces. You as a small buyer would not have the same buying power.
I'm not sure what to suggest for an inexpensive source of undrilled for your projects. Someone else may have a suggestion.