Ah, bead stores. Any long-time beaders has been inside at least one regular shop-type bead store, even if it has been the beading section of a larger art supply house or general crafts or hobbies store. Bead stores are wonderful, whether the beads are all laid out in front of you for visual and fondling pleasure, or if you see only sample boards and must write up your order and have someone pull it from the stock room. There's a magic in a bead store or beading section of a store just in seeing all those beads.
We get know bead stores and have our favorites. Perhaps yours contains a selection of vintage crystals, while another beaders' favorite may have a charming staff and carry just the right bead colors for her designs. Good bead stores don't have to be large, and while many large bead stores have developed an unfortunate reputation for it, not all big bead stores need be bad; filled with rude staff, long waits, dusty, dirty beads, too many items out of stock, and absolutely no charm. Not if that big bead store is Shipwreck Beads, that is.
At Shipwreck Beads
, if they don't have it, it may not exist. Of course, they are not in the rare or trade bead sales business, so we're talking about current beads, including - well, including everything. There are gemstones, pearls of all sorts, Czech pressed glass, an incredible selection of fire polish - no, really, in-cred-ible!
There's also a massive range of seed beads from basic 11/0 beads of every imaginable glass type and finish, on display and available by the kilo, the hank, or, in the case of more expensive beads, such as the heavily-coated karat-gold beads, even by the strand. There are Charlotte beads, True Cut beads in every size, including the coveted 8/0 and 11/0 single-facet True Cut configuration. They also carry two and three cuts, hex beads. Miracle beads, and, really, quite possibly every other bead you've ever heard of. I was allowed to wander over the sales floor for the better part of an entire day and still did not see everything they have in the store.
I was particularly impressed with the selection of seed bead sizes and the True-cut selection, running all the way down to the 15/0 size, and there are even a few round seed beads in the "sand-grain" sizes, too, such as 22/0 and smaller.
Of course, there are also Swarovski crystal and the new, Czech-made leaded crystal line called Preciosa Crystal
, with such a beautiful finish and depth, you'll think you're looking at new Swarovski colors.
Shipwreck Beads also carries in-house designed bead kits; seed bead color groupings, pressed bead kits, and wonderful new-beader kits containing a selection of beads all in matching shades of a single color, available in a wide range of color choices. Unfortunately, these kits are not yet available for sale on the Shipwreck Beads Web site
, but you may be assured that when they are available on-line, I'll be celebrating and will let you know, too. They really are that wonderful.
But don't think Shipwreck Beads
is confined to beads only. You will find tools, stringing media, thread, needles, organizers, chain, findings and any and everything else you might need to make beaded jewelry.
Finally, no discussion of Shipwreck Beads would be complete without mentioning two things - the floor, packing, and shipping/receiving staff staff and the in-house restaurant, The Galley
. The Galley may be the smartest thing any bead store ever did. Since I was a guest of Shipwreck Beads during my three-day visit, I was able to enjoy the food in The Galley
on a few occasions, not to mention the coffee and iced tea. This is no burger stand, either but an elegant lunch facility. The food is so good, I bet that others in the surrounding industrial parks come over for lunch, even if they don't bead! Delights including a range of great sandwiches, a memorable salmon corn chowder, delicious coffee, iced tea and other drinks, along with chips, candy and various other goodies to keep bead shoppers sustained, rested and refueled. An excellent concept, especially with a menu as delicious as The Galley
Finally, I and compelled to rave about the sales and floor staff at Shipwreck Beads. Never have I met with a more conscientious, helpful and genuinely nice staff as I met at Shipwreck Beads. And I don't believe they were "putting it on" just for press, because I don't think most of them knew who I was. And, they were just as caring and considerate of everyone else in the store, and the customers that I asked told me that this was "business as usual" for Shipwreck Beads floor and sales staff. Any time I raised my head or had a quizzical look on my face, I was immediately asked if I needed help. There was no pushiness, no "upselling" and I never felt like it was condescending or a "put on"; these are genuinely nice people at Shipwreck Beads
. It made for one of the most pleasant in-store bead shopping trips I have made in a long time. Even the shopping carts are perfectly designed for bead shopping; roomy, with places to put loose beads, to hang strands of beads, to lay out hanks - everything has been considered in making these carts comfortable to use, including the wide aisles and easy-to-reach shelves. They are simply genius.
If you are unable to pay a visit in person to Shipwreck Beads, I recommend them as an on-line source for beads, since almost everything in the store in available on the Web site, and the phone and Internet order staff are as personable and kind as the floor staff. The shipping and packing are all done with great care by people who enjoy their work, and in the shipments I've received, not a single bead has been out of place.
Shipwreck Beads is highly recommended, both in-store and on line or by mail, between the helpful staff, the most current and lovely, and the great prices, you won't go wrong.
Full Disclosure: I was a guest of Shipwreck Beads for three days last October. They paid my airfare and all expenses during my three-day press stay, so that I could have an opportunity to see the scope of their bead store operation and their bead inventory.