Jurates Akmeneliai, the bead shop that Jurate Kazickas opened in Vilnius in 2005 on Pylimo Gatve, officially closed its doors in 2015.
It was believed to be the first bead shop in the Baltics – certainly in Lithuania – that provided customers with beautiful stones as well as the opportunity to make their own jewelry. In a cozy store in the old part of Vilnius, shoppers could purchase loose beads of all sizes, colors, shapes and varieties – sparkling Czech glass, turquoise, pearls, coral, stones from China and India – and design their own necklaces, bracelets, and earrings in comfortable work areas with two full time instructors. The shop became a gathering place for women to socialize and express their creativity. Some discovered artistic talents they did not know they had.
Within a few years, several similar shops opened in Vilnius. “I was pleased that my original idea had inspired others to enter the bead business,” said Kazickas. But running a company from the United States where she lived proved to be untenable, despite her excellent local staff.
“All good things must come to an end, alas,” said Kazickas. But she was proud of the shop’s success, including the programs she initiated like “Good deeds with beads” where beads were donated to orphanages, hospitals and senior centers and the encouragement she gave to women to start their own jewelry businesses.