This past weekend I was in Barcelona for a friend’s Hen party. The weather was beautiful and us girls had a ball. I won’t go into too much detail, but one activity involved an afternoon cruise just off the coast with cocktails and fizz. It sounds great right, but sadly, as someone who gets crazy sea sick, I had to miss it. So instead of joining the other ladies, I wondered around the super cool streets of Barcelona’s gothic quarter. Starting at Jaume I station, I took a stroll down to Carrer del Call, stopping along the way to stare longingly at mountains of gelato and delicious pastries. The gothic quarter is a maze of little side streets, all with something a different to offer; artwork, handmade gifts, fashions, jewellery and most importantly – beads. With the clock ticking (I had about an hour before I needed to leave to meet the girls for lunch at the Marina), I knew this wouldn’t be like usual bead shopping. I could fit in about 3 shops, provided I didn’t spend any extended time in any one of them.
The first one I came upon was called Bella. It was a smallish store with staff that spoke English, which was very helpful as my Spanish vocabulary doesn’t extend to beading phrases. They had a little bit of everything and most of the prices were reasonable. Semi precious stones came in strings of rounds only (a little limited) and averaged around €12, however they were all abit smaller than I wanted and there were no names on anything.That was a big thumbs down for me, if i’m buying a semi precious stone I need to know what it is. I didn’t leave empty handed though, I picked up some chain and really cool neon cotton cord that stood out for me. It’s 2mm diameter which is way too thick for some of my usual designs so I’m going to have to find something new to do with it – I love a challenge!
The second store, I can’t remember the name sadly, was a little further down the street from Bella. It sold wholesale, however you could buy retail if you purchased the requisite amount. Anything priced at less than €1 per piece, you needed to by a minimum of 12 pieces (pretty straightforward). The store wasn’t any bigger than Bella but it was packed to the ceiling with stock and tables were stacked 2-3 bead boxes deep. I stayed here way longer than I should have, trying in vain to get a look at everything in the store. Here the metal beads were my weakness. I always struggle to find stand out metal beads and I love to use them alongside semi precious or wood beads. I purchased a small bag full of metal beads including rounds, rings and pendants. At €18 it was my most expensive purchase of the day, but I still think it was worth it.
The third store was L’antiga Casa Sala, After spending so much time in the second store, I went in just to have a quick look, not really planning to buy anything. However, things soon changed once I got a glimpse of the sale corner. I love a good sale and with up to 50% off I couldn’t resist getting a good look. They also had a fabulous selection of ethnic inspired beads and a pair of large carved wood horn shaped beads caught my eye. My little tray was fast filling up. I forced myself to cut a few bits before I reached the checkout but still ended up with a fair few goodies for only €12. A bargain and by far my favourite store of the day.
I would love the opportunity to go back to discover more of Barcelona’s bead ad jewellery shops, but until then I would definitely recommend the gothic quarter to any beaders who happen to be in the city.
Until next time!