In New York City, we used to have this really cool store on Broadway called Big Stone. Big Stone had stones, they had glass beads of all sorts, they had silver and base metal findings, and more. In addition to that, it was possible to connect with the salespeople and ask questions about what you were looking at, and actually get truthful answers (I was awed when I connected with the manager, and was able to ask questions about new stones I saw there and get answers I could later verify as truthful — why? we have so many stores here where the employees will tell you the first thing that comes to their minds, and Big Stone was the first store where I found someone who would tell me what I was looking at and be spot on!)
Well, Big Stone is gone. The sister store that was on W. 37th St. near 6th Ave. is also gone.
Do not despair yet! The “mother store”, Phoenix, is still around, and they have adopted a rather open policy. Phoenix, on W. 37th, on the north side, at 5th Ave., has the same program that Big Stone had (buy so much at one time — I think it is $200– and maybe they will apply the discount to that first purchase, as Big Stone did, and you get a card that gives you a discount of so much for the next year) That is really useful for the folks who do not have tax ids. The store is one really big floor of all sorts of beads. Gasp gasp! It can be overwhelming the first time you go in there, particularly since there is little help. If you are good at working on your own, you will love the place. (You already know other places to get Chinese-sourced beads, so you can compare prices and decide … besides, this store has things you won’t see elsewhere)
To be truthful, I don’t go there much. I prefer to go to Stone International on 5th Ave at 30th St. because, at least half the time, I can get a straight answer about the stones I am looking at. If it is a big ticket item, I do know that Stone International will have the best price.