The Bead Hunter

Much like a small child in a toy store, I get easily distracted and want to play with a variety of new toys at the same time.

My latest ‘toy’, or hobby, is making jewellry. And thanks to an area called Sham Shui Po, this is a hobby that can be easily and readily pursued thanks to the endless shops FULL of beads and arts and crafts supplies.



Sham Shui Po is famous for being the mothership of all things arts and crafts, especially beads, in its street markets. Everything from blown glass to coral, jasper to blood stone, pearls to plastic… Whatever you need, you can find in Sham Shui Po.

Just outside of the train station you enter into a world of tiny stalls, where little old ladies bring out giant plastic baskets full of beads made of glass, plastic, wood, bone, any and everything you can imagine. Tiny brass penis fertility charms from Cambodia. Old coins from Shanghai. Jade pendants from Beijing. Carved stones from Tibet. It is a craft-maker’s jackpot.

I get a real kick from going to the street markets, and poking around through the tiny stalls. While I’m pawing my fingers through a basket of beads, I often get the feeling of being stared at, and will look up and see an old Chinese woman looking curiously at me. I simply smile, and carry on. Indeed you don’t see many foreigners around there, searching for stones. Afterwards your fingers are dirty — after all, the beads are laying around in a basket, often on the road — but once you take them home and clean them up, you can turn them into beautiful things.

But, beads are useless, unless you know what to do with them. That’s why after buying my beauties, I head to Ki Lung street to get the fixings — the hoops, the clips, the stems, the earrings clasps. and the little tiny beads that add to the overall effect. And, of course, a good pair of pliers!

I’m not much for necklaces, so my real interest is earrings. I’m just a beginner, but here are some of the ones I tried making:



What do you think? Good enough to sell?

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