Meet the Bead Man of Encinitas

If you’re a beader or a rockhound, you already know Beads, Crystals and More, a shop in the Lumberyard that’s been there for over two decades. And whoever you are, you may have been lucky enough to venture inside and see geodes, African and Native American totems, and the small but impressive museum in back, and maybe have a chance to chat with the owner, Phil Fischman, about beads, crystals, and much, much more.

A Jersey boy who grew up near the Jersey Shore, Fischman’s love of rocks started when he was about seven; he didn’t get into beads until the summer of ’69, when he was 15, and stopped into a shop on the boardwalk to buy a few beads to go with some shells he was stringing to give to his sister and some friends.

“I was always a creative kid,” he said. “And I suddenly got turned on by a big red- white-and-blue-striped bead, and asked the guy in the store about it. He said it was an African trade bead called a Chevron, made in Venice in about the year 1500, and worn by African kings and warriors. I bought my two dollars’ worth of beads, and when I walked out of the store, my brain was buzzing. Art, history, culture, travel! Wouldn’t it be great to have a small bead store somewhere near the ocean someday?”

Thirty years later, Fischman walked into a bead store on South Coast Highway 101, needing to make a 10-cent purchase. He was making 43 pairs of earrings for his wife’s 43rd birthday, to match the bead necklaces he’d already made her, and found himself short one head-pin. He usually bought 1,000 at a time, but he’d just used his last, and her birthday was the next day.

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