About Us

Who we are, and how Beadazzled and Bead-Zone have become one...

My name is Penelope Diamanti. My dad's diplomatic career led our family all around the world, an amazing experience on so many levels, Beads found me in Gabon in West Africa as an 8-year-old, and really hooked me 12 years later in the Ivory Coast. They eventually drew me to all the other places I’ve traveled to collect them: Ghana, Guatemala, Peru, India, Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia and more...

I did go to school (MA Journalism) and got “real” jobs (Library of Congress and National Geographic Society), but beads kept calling me back. I kept selling beads and jewelry on the side, at fairs, and wholesale trade shows, until they became my full-time work in 1986.

In 1989 I opened Beadazzled in Washington DC and grew the business to include stores in Baltimore and Northern Virginia as well. My goal was to create the ultimate bead store, the one I'd always wanted to shop in. With my great team, I think we succeeded. And I had the best life I could imagine, traveling the world to shop for beads for nearly 30 years.

I started Bead-Zone as a retirement gig during the pandemic in 2021. Rather than a full-service bead store, I offered a peek into my studio, posting the beads I’ve loved best and used most over the years, as well as some odd things I’ve collected along the way. Many items are one-of-a-kind, or limited, so get them while you can. 

Working on my own, selecting, shooting and describing all the beads seemed overwhelming. So I surveyed my long-time students and loyal Beadazzled customers, asking which beads they wanted to see first. Gemstones won, so I launched that Collection in May 2021, followed by the African, Asian, Metal, Glass, Organic, and Pendants Collections.

When I acquired a large part of the Beadazzled Falls Church store's inventory after it closed, I began to fill the Tools & More Collection as well as adding many items to other collections monthly.

In May 2024, on Bead-Zone's third anniversary, I'm adopting the name Beadazzled again. It better represents what this website is now. I also hope it will help more of our Beadazzled store customers to find us online. 

Nomadic Jewelry and the Maya Beadwork Collections will be the newest additions, while the essence of Bead-Zone will be preserved in the Bead-Zone Collection where you can find all the unique and special things from my personal collection and travels pulled together into one place. (It's a major work in progress so please be patient and keep checking back)

I hope you'll enjoy discovering new beads as we keep evolving. I'm doing my best to help meet all your beading needs. And when I'm traveling in search of more treasures, Kathleen Manning, whom many of you will remember as the Assistant Manager of Beadazzled DC, will be filling your orders.

I wouldn't be here without the support of other wonderful members of the Beadazzled team, and our tens of thousands of customers over the years. I hope you will find both treasures and bargains here, and that you'll be inspired by the jewelry and more. We beaders know that getting new beads sparks creative energy to use some old ones in new ways. Happy Beading!