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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Orange County Roundup

I was in southern California for work recently (and boy, is Orange County different from New England). I did stop by some bead stores, so here's a quick review.

The Beading Place, 604 El Camino Real, Tustin
Bright airy place with a big selection of glass and some semiprecious. Also a fair amount of shell, in natural and various shapes/colors. A good selection of tools, and some interesting specials. The glass and tools are reasonably priced, the rest is a bit expensive, but we've been spoiled by Gemstar. Tustin itself was cute, there's an oldtown section and I wandered around for a bit. Best selection of glass of any of the shops here.

Bead City, 1932 S. Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa
Lots of metal, and some swarovski. Nice strands of pearls, but more expensive than I could get elsewhere. They have a huge number of charms, all separated into different categories. Of all the places I visited they had the largest selection of Sterling Silver toggle clasps. And copper! Nowhere else had copper out, though I didn't ask for it. They had several varieties of copper toggles, and several spacers. There were strands of many semi-precious stones behind the counter. Overall a great selection and helpful people, but a bit on the pricy side.

Kristalle, 875 N. Pacific Coast Highway, Laguna Beach
This shop was an accident, I was really looking for the two stores below (notice the S. vs N. in the address) but it was fun anyway. No beads here, just crystals and finished jewelry, but there were some fun fossils and free cookies. The shop has been in Laguna since 1971.

Beadline, 995 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach
Friendly people, happy to make change for the meter. Lots of variety, from african glass and wood to japanese ceramic to shell and semi-precious. Prices were high, but selection was good, and if you only want a few of something in most cases they'll break up a strand for you. The best selection of beads of all five places.

The Bead Shop, 889 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach
Smaller shop than the one above, but had some interesting stuff. Prices vary from some strands of pearls and garnet on special for $4/strand to strands of vintage glass pearls for $400 (and I'm sure some of the things in the locked case were more than that). Lots of individual beads if you want to make one special necklace to remember your trip. I bought more here than anywhere else.

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