Tiny Lake Bluff shop is chock full of beads
Abdullah Wardak outside his store. | Photos by Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
NAME: North Shore Beads
SPECIALTY: Wholesale and retail beads and findings; custom design and jewelry repairs
LOCATION: 210 N. Waukegan Road, Lake Bluff
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday-Saturday
CONTACT: (847) 650-3611 or (224) 544-5570
Updated: September 17, 2012 12:25PM
LAKE BLUFF — Wedged between a real estate office and cleaners, like so many tiny beads and fasteners that fill the shop, North Shore Beads opened this year to serve the casual beader and bulk retail buyer.
“I’ve been in jewelry since I was 7 years old,” said owner Abdullah Wardak.
An oncologist by training, Wardak of Gurnee now works jewelry trade shows across the country.
In the past month, he’s been in St. Louis, Nashville, Minnesota and the Carolinas selling the same items walk-in customers can buy.
The 750-square-foot shop, though tiny, is packed with precious and semi-precious stones of every available color, size and shape. One wall alone contains lapis lazuli, Peruvian opals, glass, quartz and fresh-water pearls. Another holds the minute “findings” that jewelry crafters use to separate beads and fasten bracelets, earrings and necklaces.
A small section includes thread, cords and tools specialized to the craft.
“We have everything here,” he said.
Pendants, beads and art pieces come from China, India, Africa, Japan and the United States, including turquoise from Arizona.
Wardak makes a point of finding and selling pieces made by local artisans.
“I have some beautiful high-fired porcelain beads by a Lake Bluff woman,” he said, holding the flat round disks. “I put a tray of these out at trade shows. You can’t get this look in mass market.”
Open just three months to walk-in customers, North Shore Beads has attracted a following.
“I have customers who are doctors, pilots and lawyers who do beading,” Wardak said.
Mary Kate Stefanowski of Wadsworth stopped in the shop for the first time one recent afternoon to see what she could find. A beading hobbyist since she was 12, Stefanowski has an order to sell her pieces on consignment.
“A friend told me about this shop ... and told me I have to stop,” she said.
In no time, Stefanowski already had a dozen beads in her wooden shopping tray and was talking jewelry-making with Wardak.
“I don’t give classes,” Wardak said, “but if someone buys something here, we help them make it.”
North Shore Beads also designs and makes custom jewelry
“We have a tumbler, a stone cutter, a drill, a polishing machine,” he said, in short, everything to put a unique piece of jewelry.
Diamond-ring settings and jewelry repairs also are available, along with gold-plating, engraving, casting, computer design and laser-welding.
“We do everything,” he said.