Wow factor: Thousands of glass, crystal, stone and wooden strands of beads - grouped by color - adorn the walls. Not only can you buy beads, but customers also can get a few tips at the counter from the friendly staff of this sunny storefront and studio. A feeling of calmness prevails (a few small signs implore that cell phones be turned to vibrate). Billie Holiday plays in the background, while patrons discuss beading and regulars chat about mutual acquaintances. Background: Owner Sharyn Sansoni, a former assistant fashion coordinator for Saks Fifth Avenue in Pittsburg and later a paralegal, got into beading in the late 1960s. When a now-defunct beading haunt closed down, Sansoni's future became crystal clear and she began operating what would become a series of bead shops. Today, she owns two. For seven years, she has operated the sites in Boca Raton and Jupiter, both named for Sansoni's grandmother, whose memorable backyard was filled with irises. Who's into beading: Dads and their kids stopping in to make a bracelet for mom; bodybuilders looking to relax; cost-conscious shoppers seeking to change the look of an outfit; hobbyists enjoying a social connection. Quote: "It's not costume, it's custom," Sansoni says. "[Doing the custom work is] what makes it exciting to people. None of the basic techniques are hard to master." Pricing: Gemstones generally are sold by the strand, ranging in cost from $5.50 to $500. Crystals come in bags priced from $2 to $10 each; and popular seed beads (so named for their minuscule size) cost $2 to $15. Bracelet and necklace clasps, depending on finish and size, run about $5. D.I.Y.: Two one- to three-hour classes take place daily, priced from $30 to $40, with no more than four participants. - Jennifer Heit INFORMATIONAL BOX: Iris Moon's Boca Beads Address: 21073 Powerline Road, Suite 35, Boca Raton Summer hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday (bead night when people get together with their projects to enjoy refreshments and conversation). Closed Sundays through Aug. 30 except for special classes or events. Owner: Sharyn Sansoni Contact: bocabeads.com; 561-477-8760 Do you know of a Divine Find, a local shop or boutique with an especially distinct flair? Send info to mderose@SunSentinel.com. Include jpegs, if possible.
Carline Jean, Sun Sentinel