I am used to buying seed beads by the gram but not larger beads. However, at Central Asia Arts (54-56 Kamphangdin Road (at its junction with Loi Kroh)) buying loose beads by the gram is what you do. I felt a bit daunted by this at first but quickly learnt that I just needed to ask for a bead to be weighed and that there was with no expectation that I would buy it just because I had asked for it to be weighed. My interest was initially drawn to some large, white beads of different shapes and sizes. They look like ivory beads but are Tibetan naga shell beads. Each bead is handmade and inlaid with old turquoise and coral. I couldn’t resist several purchases of these beads in different shapes including the large barrelled shaped bead in the photo opposite (about 5 cm long x 4 cm wide). The beads are made from conch shells and named after the Naga people (who live in Nagaland and Burma). They have a long history of wearing conch shell beads.
The other beads I really liked were also handmade and inlaid with old Tibetan coral and turquoise beautifully framed by Tibetan brass strips. I just love the rich reds of these beads and came away with quite a stash of them.
As its name suggests, this shop imports a lot of beads and beaded jewellery from the area around Tibet and Afghanistan. (Its Bangkok branch also sells furniture, carpets and rugs.) It also sold gemstones on strings and necklaces made-up by the shop owners. Deciding what not to buy in this shop was the challenge!