April 12, 2010

MIA Monday: Quartzsite, Arizona

I wish thoughtfully posting to my blog was as easy as it is to upload a photo to Facebook. That way I would be much more regular in my Bead Up postings and not feel like I have to cram in everything once I do get a chance to blog it up! In other words, so sorry for seeming MIA!
For what I have lacked in posts I have made up in preparing for my Summer Collection ("Huh?" you may ask, "What happened to your Spring Collection?" Good question, o' faithful reader. Due to crazy life changing events going on this spring, I am going to put everything I had planned to make this spring into a Summer Collection - and now that I bought tons of new supplies I have my work cut out for me!). 

This week the hubs, the dogS (we adopted ANOTHER one!), and I drove to Tucson, Arizona to visit family. I forgot how much I loved suburbia when a HUGE Jo-Ann Etc. and Michael's greeted me in Arizona. The hubs and I went out of our way to schedule in a good chunk of time visiting Jo-Ann on our way out of town, so already I felt like the otherwise obligatory visit was advantageous to this beader.

However, on our way home I spotted a huge billboards that simply stated "GEM WORLD: Beads and Findings, this exit." I TOLD the Hubs that we would be making an unexpected pit stop at this promising place in the hopes that I will leave with a good story or two, especially considering that we were literally in the middle of the Arizonan desert near the California border (as evident in this picture). I figured I would find either some great trucker-stop-type souvenirs or a cool selection of over-priced turquoise. What I found in the fittingly titled town, Quartzsite, however, was MIND BLOWING.

After accidentally passing by the store on "Main Street" (the only street in this otherwise truck stop), I parked on a dirt lot behind "Hardes Bead and Jewelry." The store featured Native American-esk jewelry in the front of the store and lots of beading supplies and products in the back. At first glance I figured that I buy everything that I saw at the store just as well in the Los Angeles Jewelry District, until I saw a sign that said "Everything 50% off marked price!" Suddenly everything was a total deal! I walked away with a bunch of Swarovski and glass crystals that would have cost me at least $40 elsewhere and paid only $13! Score!

Walking past souvenir merchants and locals who have set up shop out of the back of their trucks, I came across the store I was waiting for: GEM WORLD. I walked in and couldn't believe my eyes: aisles and aisles of gems and findings and coral and turquoise and necklaces and earrings and on and on and on! Not only was there a vast selection, but ALL THE BEADS WERE ON SALE! We are talking 75%-off turquoise and coral; $1 pearls by the strand, crystals for less than a dollar... in other words, it was like I was in China again! 

I quickly grabbed a basket and went to town as quickly as I could since the Hubs and dogs were in the car. I managed to buy all kinds of gemstones and pearls and findings within 10-minutes and rushed out to the car to show my family. The Hubs was so impressed that he encouraged me to go back in the store and do it again. NO problem! I went back in and did it again, and this time didn't hold anything back. Overall, I bought what would have been over $500 here in LA yet only spent a 1/5th of that. I asked the guy at the counter where he got most of his beads -- turns out China, so he and I had a good little chat of all that's available in Shanghai. He also said that they are moving to a 2-story location later this Spring, which will include several big-screen TV's for all the unfortunate husbands who have to come and wait for their ladies to get their beading on! Um, who wants to make a trip to the middle-of-nowhere, Arizona?
Here's a look at what I bought:

I also bought something pre-made for myself. I can't remember the last time I bought a necklace for myself, but when I saw this one, I looked and looked over it for a good 5-minutes thinking of ways I could take it apart and re-string it. I could think of no ways I would want to change it! And best of all, it was only $5! I think I am going to take notes from this bold piece and make some similar pieces for Bead Up!

Whew! What a trip! I literally had an adrenaline rush to last for the rest of the trip thanks to the amazing deals in the middle of nowhere, Arizona! Now I have LOTS of work ahead! New pieces to come soon!


  1. Can't WAIT to see what you do with those gorgeous purple beads!

  2. LOVE the colors of your new beads and CANNOT WAIT to see how you spin them into Bead Up creations! xoxo

  3. Wow! Those purple shell beads look like the ones on my necklace!! HALLA CHINA!!

  4. Love your selections, what a wonderful pit stop on your journey! I love the deep purple beads. Have fun with your new treasures.

  5. Hey, What a lovely collection you have! I love the purple beads . It looks so gorgeous...

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