Tucked away in one of San Francisco’s labyrinth of back alleys, General Bead is well worth taking the mid-block detour for the promise of self-discovery and creativity that awaits. A secret go-to spot for figure-skating and ballroom-dancing costume designers, this emporium affords the opportunity to create your own signature jewelry designs. Explore two entire floors of styles and shapes from Austrian crystal, African wood, bone, rhinestones, and wooden engravings to bugle beads from the Czech Republic, China, and Japan. Among the beaded-bling devotees: Olympic champ Kristi Yamaguchi.
637 Minna St.
(415) 255-2323
www.genbead.com