The Addiction

Posted by Rebecca Stone on March 16, 2010
Mar 162010

Holy cow! I guess I’ve never really thought about stones or rocks in quite this way. I’m not particularly the blinded-by-science type, but I do recall that back in junior college, my favorite science-type class was geology.  In fact, one of my cherished memories from that period was of a group of us students going on a rain-soaked, beer-fueled field trip up the Columbia River Gorge, in search of basalt formations and the like. But, I must say, as fascinating as basalt is, it never made me break out in a sweat the way I do when I’m surrounded by semiprecious and precious stones.

Rocks on the rocks... just one more addiction?

Rocks on the rocks... just one more addiction?

It all began with my layoff as an editor and writer on a boating magazine. Seems like the next day I awoke from a daze in the jewelry section at Michael’s Craft Store, staring at pretty rocks on a string and something called “Findings.” I remember thinking to myself, “Why not?” I bought a book and some basic supplies, excited for the chance to learn something new. Since then my craving for stones that I can transform into jewelry has grown into an addiction that could rival drinking and gambling. Heck, it’s downright insatiable. I can’t recall ever feeling this way about buying shoes or underwear.

I don’t think this is unusual among jewelry designers and rock hounds in general. While drooling over a strand of Moss Agate at Michael’s the other day, I overheard a girl say, “Look, Mom, we’re in your section!” Her mother muttered as she swept by the colored stones and crystals, “Nope, I’m going cold turkey.” It looked like it was all she could do to keep from breaking into a run to outpace her passion run amok.

I empathized. Lately, I’ve been trying to pick routes that steer clear of my growing list of bead shop stops, just so I can space my expenditures into manageable chunks. When I do succumb to a visit, I try to limit my purchases to one project at a time. This is tough to do. New stones beckon me like sea sirens lured sailors to their rocky shores — and their ultimate demise. While my ship is not in danger (I have an old wooden trawler that currently serves as my floating art studio, and last I looked, she was moored safely in her slip), my pocketbook is often perilously close to running aground.

Los Angeles is full of enticements, bead and stone shopping-wise. And I appear to be on course to discover every single shop and show that appears on my radar screen. But, while possible financial catastrophe lurks behind every sparkling, colored strand that dangles like a 24-carat carrot from a shop wall or lies twisted on a show table, so does a wealth of lessons. The more I run my fingers over stones and absorb their beauty, some blatant and some subtle, the more I learn. And I am hungry to learn.

So many shops… and for once I have time. I hope you’ll come along with me on the adventure — and chime in about your own.

4 Responses to “The Addiction”

  1. Thanks so much for writing this article. I so commiserate with you! I’m also a writer and jewelry maker with a passion for rocks of all kinds. Um, any chance that you could post a list of your favorite Los Angeles area rock and jewelry stores? Fuel for my addiction ;) Best wishes, Laura

    • Hi Laura: Are you an Angeleno, too?
      You know, I’ve been planning to post such a list along with a little travel piece I’ve written, but until I get my photos shot, here’s a preview:
      So far, my favorite haunts are: pretty much the entire Fashion District downtown (Bohemian Crystal, Athenian Fashions and Bruna Ferrari in particular) for stones, crystal, silver, findings and glass. Burbank (on Magnolia) has a cool little shop called Athena Goddess. Over by Beverly Center (I think it’s on 3rd) is Sweets. It’s been a while since I was there last, but very nice people. I was going to a place called Sun Gems in West L.A. but I am not seeing her site and I think she might be closed. There’s place called Ritual Adornments in Santa Monica that has some wonderful stuff, though I found their stones a little pricey. If it’s various types of crystals and healing-type stones you’re interested in, check out Rocks and Runes in Burbank (just off Magnolia). Wonderful place and the woman who owns it really seems to know her stuff. Bead Source is a chain that can be found in several places. They just opened a store in Silver Lake. They have a decent selection of single beads and stones (you don’t have to buy a whole strand). The San Gabriel Bead Company (Arcadia), Ruby Tuesday (Long Beach) and The Bead Studio (Redondo Beach) are great shops to go to in the outlying areas. My favorite go-to place, though, is Silver Sky in North Hollywood. It’s run by a brother and sister and, I think, beats everything else, hands down in price, volume, variety and quality.
      Plus, they are nice people.

      Have fun!

  2. Wow — I’m impressed! I loved your page and can hardly wait to see all your pretties :)

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