There are a number of Vancouver Bead Stores. They are also all of fairly high calibre, compared to the bead stores of other major Canadian cities. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that Vancouverites are willing to spend more money on handmade goods. There are more small jewellery artisans per capita in Vancouver than any other major metropolis.
One of my favourites is Country Beads, owned by my friend Susan Gill. It is managed by Danika, a super talented and wonderful gal, and helped run by an army of fantastic and bubbly jewellery designers. Sue is the creative business woman behind the scene all these years. She has a gift for colour and likes warm and inviting interiors. I like her display ideas. She’s people oriented, well traveled, open minded, and the ideal person to own a Vancouver Bead Store. Sue has a great eye for trends and quality. She hand picks all of her stones and Country Beads has the best selection of Indian cut stones in Vancouver. They provide steep volume discounts to wholesale jewellery designers. The store is definitely worth a visit and they’re working on an online store.
Kimdoly specializes in inexpensive Chinese stone beads. They have 2 locations, and exhibit at all the major bead shows in Vancouver. Their prices are competitive and they have a large selection of stone beads. The variety is not different from regular Chinese stone beads. They believe their customer base is more price conscious, and their selection of sterling silver components is almost non-existent. If you like their selection of stone beads, but you don’t want to go elsewhere to buy your sterling silver, you need to speak to the owners to get them to bring it in.
Capilano Rock And Gem is located on the north shore. It is a direct competitor to Country Beads, but without the meticulous selection. They have a large selection of sterling wire, sheets and casting grains. They also have a good selection of gold filled wires. They have a fair amount of pearls, but not a lot of stone beads.
There are a couple of Beadworks locations. One of them is located in Granville Island. It is very pretty and a relaxed location to shop in. However, like all Beadworks locations, the selection is limited and the prices are strictly retail.
Beadsmart is located in Richmond, but since they draw many Vancouver clients, I consider them as one of the Vancouver Bead Stores. The owner Cindy is very generous and their prices are great. They have purportedly the lowest prices and largest colour selection of Swarovski crystals. Cindy’s partner, Kareen, is a retired banker who is very talented and has a great eye for colour co-ordination. She holds beading and wire wrapping classes. They have some fine chains a small selection of good clasps. They carry a good selection of sterling and gold-filled wire in different gauges. You can negotiate for volume discount and many regular customers get little gifts without having to ask.
Many retail customers go to Fire Mountain Gems across the border to do their shopping. However, it has been said that the stone beads from Fire Mountain Gems is poor and they’ve had to switch back to buying locally. The minimums at Fire Mountain Gems is low, but again, unless you buy a significant amount, the duties and shipping will not make it cost effective.
Vancouver Bead Stores are sophisticated and prices are as price competitive as that of many major cities. Because there are many professional jewellery designers in the city, Vancouver Bead Stores are prompted to carry better selection and enable themselves to sell wholesale in order to compete.
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