“Where Beads and Inspiration Meet”: the story of Beadazzled’s founder

When I first joined the Beadazzled team in 2014, I had the honor of interviewing the woman who started it all. Penelope Diamanti (Penny to most) is a brilliant designer and businesswoman, and we are proud to feature her story this March 31st, the final day of Women’s History Month.  -Natalie

A quarter century ago, Dupont Circle was already one of the liveliest neighborhoods in Washington.  The 21st century and its rising real estate prices have taken their toll on local businesses.  A 123-year-old ladies’ club recently got converted into apartments; the independent drug store is now a CVS; the eclectic gay community has moved east to Logan Circle.

But one independent, community-oriented shop has remained.  

Now just across Connecticut Avenue from its original location, Beadazzled has been selling distinctive jewelry, international home accessories, and (of course) beads for 25 years.  Since its founding in 1989 it has opened up another location in Falls Church, Virginia; and regularly sends buyers to select beads, textiles and other crafts from artisans all over the world.  Its customer base includes collectors, decorators, long-time beaders as well as beginners, multi-media artists and makers, and the ever-present D.C. tourist crowd.  

How does a bead-based business thrive for 25 years in a highly competitive area?  When I sat down to speak with the store’s founder, I realized that the answer lies with her.  To learn Penny Diamanti’s bead business strategies, simply read on — and be sure to sign up for her “Bead Biz” classes at our Virginia store this May!  Just call 703-848-2323 to register.

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Interview: Heather Widener

Beadazzled is pleased and proud to welcome Heather Widener, a Gemological Institute of America (GIA)-certified gemologist, to our Falls Church location this month!  Heather will teach a “Gemstone 101” class on the 21st and 28th of February — call us at 703-848-2323 to register.  We sat down with Heather today to chat about her career, the intersections of science and art, how to tell real turquoise from fake, and more!

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Heather Widener

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