Thursday, February 17, 2011

Around the world in 80 beads-Seattle

I recently visited Seattle (ok, it was over a month ago and I’m just getting around to actually making this post . . . I admit it!) and found myself with a free day. What did I do? Well other than spending a little time in my favorite quirky Seattle neighborhood-Fremont-of course I went looking for bead shops! I was staying near the University of Washington and was easily able to visit both of these by bus. They were two totally different bead stores, each cool for a different reason!

Fusion Beads:
I thought this was a really professional-looking store. It’s really nicely set out and organized by type of bead. They did have some different beads than I normally find where I am, and they have a good selection of popular and useful materials- a variety of metal charms, Swarovski crystals and pearls in all sizes and colors (in fact I bought a whole bunch of them in fire opal and black diamond for a necklace I’ve been planning), cubic zirconia in a rainbow of colors, plus other supplies like resin and bezels, and just about anything else you might want for most common jewelry-making projects. I was most excited about the selection of charms, resin, and bezels as my nearest bead store at home doesn’t actually carry resin supplies, and has a pretty small selection of charms. The charms here were sorted by type and very easy to look through for what you wanted. The prices seemed pretty decent to me-not especially cheap, but definitely not more expensive than other places, either) and they also have an online store which is really convenient for future shopping!

I made the pair of earrings at right for my Etsy shop with some of my finds at Fusion beads. Find them in my etsy shop here

Gargoyle Beads:
After a stop at one of my favorite Seattle places-the Theo Chocolate Factory-I headed to Gargoyle beads in Fremont- it’s a small independent store that, according to their website, has been around since 1933 (but not always in Seattle)! It’s a bit hard to find but totally worth the effort! Was one of only a few shoppers in really rainy weather (I know, you’re thinking ‘it’s Seattle, of course it rained’ but it was raining much harder than is usual there!) The woman who was running the store that day was very friendly and enthusiastic about the shop (I can’t recall her name, unfortunately-sorry about that!)
She chatted with me about the selection of beads, the shop, the weather, and just whatever. She even let me put my soaking wet coat and backpack behind the counter so they could dry and to make my shopping easier. This place had a very unique selection and I got all sorts of beads there that I’ve not found elsewhere-I got a gargoyle (of course!), some pewter beads, two packages of adorable little handmade Indian glass butterflies, and a few interesting charms. They had a cool collection of different gargoyles, pewter beads in bulk, vintage glass and acrylic beads, stringing materials, and skulls galore! Above all I loved the friendly and small feeling of this store, and almost wish I lived in Seattle so I could visit more often! The only downside to this store, for me, is that they don’t have an online store so I can keep buying!

I'll leave you with one of my favorite quirky finds from Seattle's artsy neighborhood of Fremont: the huge Fremont troll, located under one of their big bridges! I definitely recommend checking out Fremont if you're ever visiting Seattle!

Please leave a comment and let me know what you thought of this post-Are store reviews interesting/useful to you? Have you been to either of these stores? Do you have a favorite local bead store or do you do all your buying online? Do you look for new bead stores when you travel, or is it just me? LOL

Copyright 2011. See more at Voyage of the Hyperspace Hippo


  1. This is a great post! I live in Vancouver and often go to Seattle, it would actually be awesome if there was a directory of bead store reviews somewhere for Etsians. Thanks for this!


  2. Glad you enjoyed it! You should definitely check out these two if you haven't already. (And the Theo chocolate factory if you like chocolate-they have free samples!) I just stopped by your blog and followed, too :)

  3. I liked your reviews! I think it's great that the 2 bead stores were so different but both so cool. Too bad about the one not being online shop-able; I love the little gargoyle guy! Fremont Troll roolz, btw; I had a friend take a photo of me standing in front of it when I visited Seattle 7 years ago...



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