My So Charmed Life



Unbelievably, I never knew that there was a bead crack den warehouse located in an unassuming light industrial area just a few miles from my house. A metal door at the end of an empty parking lot is simply marked “Marvin Schwab.”

Marvin, it turns out, is a real guy, with a whole lotta beads. Hence the name of his business: The Bead Warehouse. When he is not carting TRUCK LOADS of beads to the warehouse, or from the warehouse to a trade show, he will open his stock to the public, about twice monthly or by special appointment should you need a large quantity.

The place isn’t huge, but it is sizable and crammed floor to ceiling with grids of hanging strands, boxes, bins, and showcases of beads and findings from all corners of the world. At the top of the post, some old brass with gorgeous patina, dug out of a dusty box. Above, collectible beads from Africa at really really great prices.

I almost never buy full strands of beads b/c they are expensive and I don’t need that many of one thing. My friend and I split the graduated strand of crystals above, and I’m going to give her some of the gorgeous opalite chunks too.

These are lovely hand-painted wooden beads from India along with some weird silver foil and candy pink beads that I can not really figure out. They all look like little toys.

I can’t wait to patina these lovely charms. On their backs is a stamped OM symbol. Gorgeous. Also pictured are resin beads that mimic bone and some tiny genuine bone beads.

The strand of wavy beads above is old, and incredibly cool, in a shade of blue-green that is wonderful. I was told these are wood, but they seem like some other material to me. Also pictured are luscious limey yellow glass and tiny bright red beads.

The large glass beads pictured above have really unusual confetti inclusions as well as some copper dust floating about. They were the first beads I spotted, at which point my heart started pounding in my chest. Surrounding them in the photo are very old glass teardrop charms with a crusty aurora borealis finish. These were dug out of a box of dusty glassine-bagged beads.

I have a small stash of these old reflector cabs, but could not resist adding to it. The emerald-cut glass stones are just gorgeous. There was a box of this kind of stuff gathering dust on a shelf. I think these are 1930’s glass but I’d love to know more about the reflectors if anyone out there has info. I’ve honestly never seen them in vintage jewelry, but they are magnificent.

Check the website for dates/hours that the Bead Warehouse will be open on any given month, as well as for directions. An off-the-beaten-path treasure trove that was a really fun experience since most of my supplies are purchased online these days. A special thanks to the anthropologist and his lovely wife for turning me onto this place and escorting me on such a fun field trip.


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