Beaded Book Marks.

Q: I'm making a trip to the city to the bead district this week. On the last trip, I used the 'Beadfairies' list of stores, but found many stores out of business, and others up scary-looking elevators. Does anyone have suggestions of where to go in the city for a day of beadshopping fun?

A: A lot depends on whether you have a resale number and on what you plan to buy. There are some places along Broadway in the 20's (esp. between 27th & 28th St.) some of which require a resale number. 'Stone International' at 1160 Broadway, 5th floor, (212) 686-2090 (must have resale #, $60 minimum) has great prices on freshwater pearls, if you're willing to buy in large quantities. They are a favorite of mine. Their prices on semi-precious stones are pretty good, though on some stuff I do better with mail order, and you can buy those by the single strand. 'Big Stone' at 1181 Broadway, 5th floor, (212) 779-9888, has freshwater pearls by the single strand and a selection of beads, and semi-precious stones. If you spend at least $20, pay cash, and don't ask too many questions, they probably won't give you a hard time if you don't have a tax number. There are a few other stores on that block, some of which say "wholesale only" and/or $50 minimum on the door, but do not necessarily mean it.