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by Alicia O. Godmasch

I am kind of going to tell my age by deferring to this famous slogan.  Remember the Hair Club for Men slogan “I’m not only the President, I’m also a client.”  That’s how I feel about Intergalactic Bead Shows; the reason being that it is a crazy good opportunity to find excellent items at a great price.  There are potential deals in each little tray and corner of the exhibitor’s booths and it’s wonderful.  What’s even better is that a lot of the things you purchase at the show are not available at your average store.  Even if you are not as skilled as some of the amazing beaders you may recognize selling their product or professional looking folks walking through the aisle, you can still shop like a boss and design your own unique jewelry.  For example, my mother-in-law’s 45th anniversary was taking place and I wanted to get her something special.  She happens to live in Germany so getting her just any gift was not an option.  I had to have something light that I could trust would make it over to her without too much of a hassle since it would be arriving via a family friend that had gone over for work purposes.  So I went to the Atlanta Bead Show which is always a great time.  I purchased some chain from Beads of Cambay, I bought a semiprecious stone pendant from Beadworks and a very unique toggle from Lisa Hammerlee.  A friend of mine happens to know how to put jewelry together.  I gave her a purse as a get-well present and as a total surprise to me she offered to put my necklace together.  The end result was pure magic.  The necklace was beautiful that my mother-in-law (or as I affectionately call her my German mom) couldn’t wait to show it off to me via Skype.  No one else will ever be able to buy anything like it and I know that it will match a number of different items in her wardrobe.  The point is that even if your BFF is a professional jewelry designer and wants to shop the show, there’s no reason for you to stay home.  There’s literally something for everyone.  With that said, make sure you do your research on what you would like to get before you get to the show or at least before you are before the cashier to make your purchase.  The exhibitor more than likely will not have too much time to answer your questions.  Every minute they spend with you they are potentially losing another sale so they work quickly and efficiently to assist as many customers as possible.  Unlike a typical shopping experience, bead shows are unique because the exhibitors only have a finite amount of time to make as many sales as possible.  The length of a show will vary but our shows last only two days.  Therefore, expecting the owner or cashier to carry on an hour long conversation with you about gemstones is like being the person in the line at Starbucks who would like to review the whole menu at the counter before ordering.  Come prepared.  Know what you want and keep it moving.   That’s the key to shopping like a Bead Show Boss.  Oh yes and even if you don’t have a friend that can put jewelry together, a number of exhibitors including Beads Bagan are also jewelry designers.  So you can merely select what you want among their amazing selection of product and they can make it for you.  Now how cool is that?

See you at the show!

Here are links to the exhibitors I shopped for my German mom’s necklace:


Here’s a great place to go for awesome jewelry design:


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