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“Since we’ve started 27 years ago, we’ve evolved from a bead shop into a real gem bar. You won’t find just glass beads here, we offer unique things that you generally can’t find anywhere else," says co-owner, Amanda Wirtanen. / Image: Chez Chesak // Published: 2.13.19
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A World of Beads Lets You Make Custom Jewelry on Vine Street

How many times have you seen jewelry in a store that was nice, but just not exactly what you wanted? Whether you’re shopping for something special for a loved one or for yourself, it has to be perfect. Instead of walking away disappointed, an OTR store allows you to become the designer and actually create your own jewelry—exactly the way that you want it.

A World of Beads has been in operation since 1992, first near the Tri-County Mall and then in Hyde Park, but they only opened in OTR just last July.

“We love our new location,” notes co-owner Amanda Wirtanen. “The energy is great down here with lots of traffic, from both locals and tourists. It’s just a very supportive community and really pulls people in from all over.”

Wirtanen is also seeing a boom in visitation too, noting that the new location draws people from all over the region as well as old customers from their previous stores.

The store is chock full of gems and minerals in nearly every hue you can imagine from Brazil, Morocco, the Himalayas, and other regions of the world. In addition to beads and findings (all the various parts that help make your jewelry), they sell rocks and minerals, locally designed one-of-a-kind jewelry, custom designs, and wedding pieces.

You can walk in off the street, choose your preferred beads and gems, and the staff will guide you through the jewelry-making process. Or, if you have a deeper interest, you can sign up for classes about beading or a variety of metalsmithing techniques, from Beginning Soldering to Advanced Silversmithing. Private classes can be accommodated and are great, as Wirtanen says, for bridal parties, birthdays, or friends’ nights out. Feel free to bring in your own outside beverages and snacks during these sessions, too.

There are regular happy hour classes on Fridays with complimentary wine, and Sunday classes with complimentary mimosas.

To top it off, jewelry repair services are also offered. So stop in if your favorite piece at home needs fixing.

As for the future, Wirtanen says, “We’d like to further expand our rock and gem collection for serious collectors and those who have metaphysical needs. Since we’ve started 27 years ago, we’ve evolved from a bead shop into a real gem bar. You won’t find just glass beads here; we offer unique things that you generally can’t find anywhere else.”

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A World of Beads is located at 1429 Vine Street (45202).

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