Shipwreck Beads in Lacey, Wash., just outside Olympia, advertises the world's largest selection of beads. So far, no one's disputing it. Inside Shipwreck's 20,000-square-foot showroom, you'll find everything from sterling silver roses, cloisonné hearts, and freshwater pearls to ceramic giraffes, porcelain penguins, and bone skulls. Choose from some 50,000 varieties of beads in all, costing from less than a penny to $15 a pop. "Beads are as old as mankind itself," says Shipwreck owner Glenn Vincent. "And obviously we think they'll be around for a while." (800) 950-4232, www.shipwreckbeads.com.
Photography by Mitch Tobias
This article was first published in January 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.