La Grange shop strings together success
Owner Becky Martin points out necklaces kids make at birthday parties held at the Circle of Stones jewelry and beading store in La Grange. | Jane Michaels—Sun-Times Media
What’s in store
Name: Circle of Stones
Location: 700 W. Burlington Ave., La Grange
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday; noon to 8 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday
Phone: (708) 352-5662
Updated: November 12, 2012 1:31AM
LA GRANGE — A dizzying array of stones, beads and crystals tempts jewelry lovers at Circle of Stones to pick out a unique piece or design their own.
Some of the glass and stone beads are corralled in neat rows of plastic bins while other selections are swirled in an assortment of teacups, saucers and small glass dishes.
The myriad of colors and textures from the beads, bold paintings on the walls and woven baskets are a feast for the eyes in the store’s new, larger airy quarters at 700 W. Burlington Ave.
“We moved from around the corner on Stone Avenue in April of 2011, but some people are just discovering us and think we’re brand new,” said owner Becky Martin. “Actually, my mom opened the shop 12 years ago.”
Martin said she has been making and selling jewelry since the age of 15, and she loved spending time in her mother’s shop. She studied art in college and moved to Montana, where she worked in a bead shop and continued creating jewelry.
When Karen Martin hinted she was ready to retire and thinking of selling or closing the shop nearly two years ago, her daughter returned home to buy the business, an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.
“I’m new to it, but I love it, the best job in the world,” Becky Martin said. “Sometimes, it can be overwhelming, but it’s great having my mom to be able to answer all my questions.”
Martin has expanded on her mom’s jewelry-making instruction with private and group sessions, as well as ladies’ nights, after-hours events for private groups and birthday parties.
“We do a lot of seed bead classes with needle and thread and lots of things for beginners,” she said.
Martin also began carrying a selection of crystals, both imported from Afghanistan and India, and those unearthed in Montana by her boyfriend.
“Some make cool paper weights, and a lot of the crystals are just really pretty, like dog tooth calcite from Montana or zeolites from India,” she said.
Martin has maintained a relationship to import beads and woven and beaded baskets from an African dealer, and she features the paintings, prints and silk batiks of area artists.
“It’s tricky to keep track of everything with such a large inventory. It tests my memory,” she said. “But when you spend a lot of time here, it’s not too bad. I pick everything out myself.”
Circle of Stones has developed a loyal following.
“It’s all so beautiful and addicting to come here,” said Pat Linka , a jewelry fan from LaGrange Park. “It’s a good value here, and the pieces are unique.”