Picking up some beads everywhere they go...

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - "I'm Tomas and we have a couple of bead stores in Tucson and I travel around the country doing bead shows," says Tomas Smith to a customer.

Tomas and Susan Smith attend the largest gem show in the nation at Tucson and operate two stores in the fashionable city. They also set up shop in a room at the Nacogdoches County Exposition Center.

They say they're looking for "bead-a holics". Even novices know what they're referring to.

"Oh, definitely," agreed Jerry Matthews, a woman named for her great uncle who recently began beading.  "Jewelry is addictive in any form or fashion."

So the Smiths make certain they have a wide variety of beads from all over the world.

"We travel to the Czech Republic for the Czech glass beads," explained Tomas. "We travel to India and hand select the stone beads and we travel to China and hand select stone beads over there. And of course every couple, three years we go to Germany and buy the vintage beads or the old glass buttons. Some of that stuff was made right after WWII was over."

Susan creates jewelry. She offers demonstrations to anyone who asks. In minutes she has the start of a beautiful necklace.

"And although I'm not finished, you can see how quickly it goes," she says while lifting a colorful necklace with a variety of beautiful beads. "This is just the start of a necklace that might look like this when it's finished.

What Susan doesn't wear she sales. So are a lot of other people. Beading is among the top five crafts in the United States.

"I have seen beginning amateur beaders making things that would sale for thousands of dollars," said Tomas.

The gems are a delight to the eye and with a little time and creativity can be turned into a bangle seen by everyone you meet. The Smiths will continue their bead show on Saturday, May 23 at the Nacogdoches Exposition Center.

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