Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Beads in Unexpected Places

Claremont is a small town in the great sprawl of Southern California. It's upscale, clean, and beautiful and has more "gee, I'd like to try that place" restaurants per square foot than anyplace I've ever been.

Necklace at
Tibetan Artcraft
We visited Claremont for the second time today, and walked through several blocks of the downtown shopping district looking for our lunch place. This is the kind of foot-traffic friendly shopping area that has been largely killed off by mega-malls and Walmart in so many places in the US. I'd love to know how Claremont has maintained the vitality and health of their central district even in the face of bad economic times.  There were very few vacant fact, I saw a couple, but they had "Coming Soon!" signs in the windows. Contrast that to many towns around our house, like Bellflower, where about 80% of the available storefronts are vacant.

There is a bead shop in the Claremont Packing House, which are both worth a visit.  International Glass & Bead has a fine selection of Swarovski crystals, glass sculpture, and other interesting items. Don't go there for seed beads or tools. The Packing House is a converted, you guessed it, packing house, with a wide array of community-serving restaurants, shops, and places for kids to learn and explore cooking, art, and music. Great space, and everyone there seems to be genuinely friendly.

Similar Tibetan turquoise
But that's not the big discovery of the day. In walking back to the (free) parking next to the Packing House, we passed Tibetan Artcraft Imports, a small shop tucked on a side street.  It's filled with exotic goods you'd expect in an import shop, but this link to their very basic website doesn't begin to cover what's there.

There is also case after case of imported jewelry and stones. Although it totally busted my budget, I fell for a strand of antique, natural Tibetan turquoise stones in greenish shades, and had to have it. It's similar to the one in the picture, but the beads are oval, not irregular. 

There are more pieces in the store I want to go back for, if I can get some cash together. (sell, software, SELL!!) But I'll have to hurry. The very sweet and helpful old gentleman who owns the place is slated to retire in January.  Oh, and I expect the very cute and friendly little dog who keeps him company will retire too.

If you're in the neighborhood, stop by. You won't be sorry.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely surprise, and that sounds like a great place to visit! It doesn't seem like there are enough foot-traffic friendly places to visit anymore!