I’m starting this post from a hotel room in San Francisco. We are winding down a week in Carmel, Monterey, San Francisco and Marin. I love, love, love this part of the country. I spent some of the most fun years of my life – to date – in San Francisco
I moved to San Francisco all by myself, sight unseen, from Wisconsin right after graduate school. I was 25 years old. I did not know a soul. I had an internship with a small consulting company, a few suitcases, a car and lots of enthusiasm to explore. I thought I would just stay for the internship, but the diversity, energy, incredible people, food and beauty blew me away. I ended up living in San Francisco for about 3 1/2 years and so much happened in that time. I met my husband, got married, got a great job, explored and did amazing things in this beautiful, diverse and exciting part of the country.
My husband’s work transferred us to Northern Virginia 13 years ago and as the saying goes, I left my heart in San Francisco. We love where we live now and the life we have made in VA, but there is just nothing like the Bay Area. Our jobs and my husband’s family, have given us reason to travel back countless times in the last 13 years, but this is the first time we’ve spent so much time in San Francisco playing tourist in “our city.”
For all my jewelry making, beady, artsy, craftsy friends of mine, I know you want to know about the beads.
One would think (I did anyway) that San Francisco would be full of bead stores. This is not the case. I guess rent is just too expensive and a bead store is a difficult brick and mortar business to run in a very high rent city. There are only a couple of bead stores and only one worth visiting. When I lived in San Francisco I hadn’t discovered my love of beads and jewelry making, so this was my first time to this unusual bead store. Yone has been in business for over 40 years and is just bursting with beads – but you need time and patience to sift through them all.
Yone is located in the bottom of a Victorian home in the North Beach neighborhood known for it’s great Italian food. My husband, kids, niece and nephew from New Zealand sat in a restaurant across the street and enjoyed pizzas while I spent almost an hour and a half playing with the beads.
Yone was owned by a former fashion designer of the same name who had a passion for beads. His business partner Herman Baker still owns the store and works there after 40 years. I believe he is around 88 years old. He has an interesting assortment of beads collected from all over the world. Herman does not buy beads anymore unless a customer needs something specific. He told me he has enough to last forever! That looks to be true.
Beads hang from the ceiling, are in boxes all over the floor and the glass cases are full of expensive and rare beads. When my husband came to check on me after an hour or so he was surprised I was not climbing the walls to get at all the little numbered boxes!
Definitely overwhelming – if you need to find something. But it was fun talking to Herman about his beads. He knows the price and origin of every single bead in the store without looking it up. When you find a sample bead you want to see, he gets the number off the tag and goes to the wall to get the corresponding box so you can choose what you like. Not efficient, totally different than anything I have seen in a bead store before – but it was fun.
I was searching for something for a special project I am working on. I don’t think I found what I needed for the project – but of course I managed to find some treasures to take home. Unique beads from India and Ethiopia I had not seen before. Some old Thai silver buttons – which I love.
Yone is only open a few days a week for a few hours a day and they don’t have an online store. I am glad I was in town at the right time. If you ever are in the San Francisco area on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday between the hours of 1-6pm, it is worth a trip to Yone Beads to see what treasures you can find.
Here is a little sample of some of he beads I brought home.
If you are ever planning a trip to the Bay Area and want info. on great places to eat, beads, crafts, fabric stores, shopping, hotels, highlights of the city, etc. Places the locals go for the best of…. Contact me. If I can’t answer a question then I live with someone who can!
Enjoy the rest of your week.