Like we mentioned earlier, we’re always on the lookout for new beads. We’re like Gollum, perpetually looking for preciouses! So every holiday we take, no matter where we are, we generally manage to work at least one scavenger hunt for beads into our schedule. Our folks have resigned themselves to stopping randomly by the road-side or outside small shadowed shops while we run critical eyes over the merchandise.
Once, when I was visiting V in San Diego, he had to run in to work briefly while we were on the way out somewhere. So I tagged along, and sat in their oh-so-posh cafeteria. Wandering about idly, I saw a large rack of brochures, and went over to get a closer look. Tucked away amongst brochures for the Zoo and Sea World and various restaurants was a little flyer for some place called South Sun Products. Given the profusion of other advertorials on that rack, I insist it was destiny that led me to noticing the one little brochure for beads!
South Sun, according to their website, initially opened a store to move the products they’d collected over 20 years of manufacturing beads and other jewellery components. I have to say, the store is a huge hit – always packed, and always well-stocked. The first time I went there, I was lucky, because there was a huge sale on German Silver, and I went totally overboard. I barely even looked at the beads because I was so in love with the findings!
South Sun used to be on Aero Drive in San Diego, but they’ve recently moved to Ruffin Road, just around the corner from where they used to be. I’ve only visited their old store, but I hear the new one is as good, if not better. It was enormous, with a long hall full of racks and racks of semi-precious stones. I bought my first aventurine and tourmaline from here. They have beautiful briolettes of dyed jade, and the pearls! Don’t get me started on the pearls! I wish I had pictures to share with you, but believe me, no picture can actually convey the Ali-Baba-Cave-of-Treasures-feel this place has!
South Sun is amazing – the sheer amount of stuff that they have alone makes this place a winner. But beyond that, the quality of their stuff can’t be beat. Plus, the people are very friendly and helpful. They’ve patiently dug things out of their cavernous stores for me!
The worst thing about the store? Well, if you’re new to beads and jewellery, it might be totally overwhelming. There’s so much to choose from, it might make it very hard to choose. And you need patience. And a lot of time (not to mention money) to do full justice to the place. V has been exceptionally good about taking me there and waiting for me. He sometimes looks around and finds things for me too! But recently, he did mention dropping me off there and coming back for me hours later! I guess you can push even the most patient of guys to his limits!
I’ve made tons of pieces with the stones and gems I’ve got from here. My trusty bead spinner was picked up at a steal from South Sun, too. Here are a few of my favourite pieces, all made thanks to South Sun!
So, everyone visiting San Diego, there’s more hidden away there than the ‘big attractions’! Go ahead, browse through some random brochures. You never know what you might find!
(Image of South Sun Beads taken from their website. All jewellery pictured here was made by me.)