Monday, March 7, 2011

The Garment Center and Beads

99% of Beads Imported into the City before World War Two were for garments. As time passed, local embroidery prices rose, and the shift in the accessories market move more toward jewelry. Swarovski brought there expertise in rhinestones, and applied that technology to beads and crystals. Then as the hippie and ethnic markets emerged, other materials emerged, like wood and shell ,but in glass, my favorite of course, so called African Trade beads as my dad says "got hot". Trade bead dealers, unlike today, were stationed out of Harlem. We could get 200-500 strands any given day if available, and they were out the door before you knew it. These were old strands, 1930's and prior. As the trade bead dealers disappeared, taking their earning back to Africa, we attempted to Import copies, from Venice, in the sixties and seventies (see cards) which also became "trade beads". I found these YORK made sample boards in my dad's office, in these wooden display cases( see pics), which were used by our salesman to show Miriam Haskel or Carol Dauplaise to name a few, the current trends(beads that could be reordered unlike the Harlem dealer's stuff).Carl Schimel, formerly of Kim's Craftman fame, and now with CJS Sales,, told me during this time period the juniors sections of department stores were becoming more vital, and sales to younger crowds were where you wanted to be. Today as the garment centers continues to recede, Jewelry Crafts and manufacturing still evolves.