I've featured some pretty nifty bead businesses before but Bananas4Beading is one of the coolest. The business is run by an English and Czech couple, Keith and Simi, who do personalized bead tours for beadaholics keen on going to the source of their favorite Czech beads! A trip of a lifetime!

Prague, Czechoslovakia
They live near the beautiful and historic capital city of Prague.  They got the idea of doing tours because their mother/mother-in-law was really, really  into beads and beading!  So their tours typically combine both a guided tour of Prague and Jablonec, the bead production center.

Simi and Keith
It's not just about the bead shopping but also the opportunity to see how the beads are made and to learn something of the long history of the bead industry there.  Their tours range from 1 -5 days with accomodation at a family run hotel,  breakfast and transportation arranged.  Kimi and Keith are flexible with their tours.  Many visitors end up wanting to revisit some favorite shops towards the end and they are happy to oblige!

While in Jablonec, visitors can take a group lesson at a fantastic bead shop - if only to rest the legs and the wallet for a while.

A visit to the Glass and Bead Museum will cover the bead history in that area which go back to the 18th century.

Glass and Bead Museum
There are also antique bead shops where you can expect to get your hands dirty.  Some of these treasures were hidden in chimney breasts in times of crisis.

Kimi and Keith like to include at least one factory stop so that their guests can see first hand the full production of the beads we so love.  There is also a visit to a small but old glass button press still in use. They said, "This is one of the last button pressing masters still working."  They also sell fantastic hand painted glass beads. 

The glass pearl making factory also has outlet stores to buy from!

The small glass pearls for making Christmas decorations are still made in the same way for over 100 years.

All in all a beader's perfect holiday!

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips