Cleveland Rocks and Beads brings the exotic to Heights Rockefeller Building
“I always make community wherever I go,” said Jennifer Gerard, owner of the newly opened Cleveland Rocks and Beads shop in the Heights Rockefeller Building at 2499 Lee Blvd., in the space formerly occupied by Isle of Beads. This fair trade importer, whose wares include exotic beads, cabochons, crystals, gemstones and hand-carved wooden windows from Nepal, has been in the business for 20 years, though not at that location. Experienced beaders eagerly await the shop’s opening on May 2, as do beginners who can buy and learn at the same time.
Gerard has treasures for every pocketbook—from geodes for $5 and a repose metal pendant for $12, to an elegant hand-carved sterling silver necklace for $400. Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim artisans, who learn their craft from their elders, create many of the one-of-a-kind necklaces, bracelets, earrings and beads, which Gerard displays on slat boards and tables throughout the store, a place where, Gerard hopes, people will gather and create together.
When Gerard talks, it’s clear she has a vast knowledge of the art, culture, religion, history, and the people of Nepal, where much of her stock comes from. In addition to visiting Nepal many times over two decades, she lived in Japan for three years and explored Asia—Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia and China, all sources of her merchandise.
She also has rare Swarovski crystals in shades of blue and green from the Czech Republic. Chains of gemstones—amethysts, peridots, garnets, citrine, carnelian and topaz hang in the store and dazzle the eye. The list goes on. It may seem like a woman’s world, but Gerard has much to engage men and boys, such as rock quartz, shark teeth and other fossils.
Gerard plans to offer classes in the shop—from stringing beads to making metal-clay jewelry, wire wrapping, bead embroidery and more. A round worktable in the shop is equipped with tools, threads, dyed ribbon and leather for beginning and experienced beaders. A kiln for creating dichroic glass (melting layers of glass with metal) is ready and waiting to be used.
Cleveland Rocks and Beads is an ideal setting for fundraising events and birthday parties. For more information, “Like” Cleveland Rocks and Beads on Facebook.
Mary Krogness, writer and longtime resident of Cleveland Heights, now resides in Cleveland.