Mon-Sat, 11am-7:30pm; Sun, noon-6:30pm
4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R at 14th St.-Union Sq.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
The name Beads of Paradise doesn't do justice to what's actually inside this inviting Union Square store. There are billions of beads, of course—of all kinds and from all over the world—but you'll also find brightly colored silk scarves from Pakistan and Thailand hanging on the wall, necklaces made with donut hole-sized quartz pieces, and even a small selection of unique clothing, like fisherman's pants from Bali and quilted jackets from Vietnam. Since the 1980s, owners Brian Kenner and Richard Meyer have filled their boutique with artifacts and jewelry collected in Africa, Vietnam, Myanmar, and India, so it's not unusual to see a late-18th century bronze opium weight from Thailand displayed next to beaded earrings handmade by customers who've taken the jewelry-making classes, offered in store's back room. Above and beyond the fun, easy-to-follow workshops, budding designers can stop by for supplies like wire, silk and leather cords, and finishings—and to drool over all those glimmering beads, including wooden pieces and recycled glass beads from Ghana. Call for a class schedule.