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Bespoke Beads at Covet + Lou

Bespoke Beads at Covet + Lou

Image from Jenn Park, Sculpting in Time: "Harper’s Bazaar Italia 1981."

Please join us at the shop, located at 28 Lincoln Street in Newton Highlands, from 10 AM to 5 PM on Friday, May 10th and Saturday, May 11th for a pop-up with Caren Orlick and Sam Fremont-Smith of Bespoke Beads.

Based in Providence, Rhode Island, Bespoke Beads captivates both the classical and avant-garde crowds with a treasure trove of vintage and traditional beads, semi-precious stones, crystals, and pearls. Caren and Sam will join us at the shop with a variety of their beaded creations, each with a story to tell.

And now, in conversation with Caren and Sam, below.

Hi Caren and Sam- tell us about Bespoke Beads. How did you start?

We first crossed paths at the Handicraft Club in Providence during a transformative six-week "Reimagine Your Beads" jewelry-making course. Sam, having gathered a remarkable assortment of traditional African beads during her time in Arusha, Tanzania, pondered how to broaden their appeal. Meanwhile, Caren found herself in possession of a treasure trove of semi-precious stones, crystals, vintage beads, and pearls, yet uncertain about the next steps with her collection.

As we forged a bond over shared interests and creative pursuits, it dawned on us that our individual bead collections held the potential for something truly special. (One of the many reasons for the interlocking letters in our logo).


By blending Sam's vibrant African beads with Caren's eclectic mix collected over decades, we envisioned crafting colorful, contemporary adornments that would captivate not only the avant-garde crowd but also those with more classical tastes. Our collaboration represented not just a fusion of materials, but a fusion of ideas and styles, aimed at delighting a diverse and discerning audience.

Image Courtesy © The Trustees of the British Museum

Image from The World of Interiors, A History of Beads: "The technique of making millefiori (‘thousand flower’) beads using glass rods originated in Ancient Egypt in 2,000 BC, was redeveloped by the Romans 1,000 years later, revived in the 15th century by Venetian glassmakers, and is still used today. Courtesy © The Trustees of the British Museum."

What about the name?

Bespoke Beads carries a clever and meaningful significance. The term "bespoke" traditionally refers to something that is custom-made to fit a specific individual's requirements or preferences. In the context of "Bespoke Beads," it suggests that our bead designs are not mass-produced or off-the-shelf, but rather tailored and personalized to meet a unique design style and the creative design style of our clients.

The repetition of the letter "B" in "Bespoke Beads" creates a catchy and memorable name and emphasizes the focus on beads, the primary “ingredient” of our brand. We believe "Bespoke Beads" conveys the essence of the personalized, artisanal craftsmanship of our necklaces, also suggesting that the beads are carefully selected, crafted, and curated to embody their unique style and personality. Lastly, the use of the word "be" in both "bespoke,” and "beads" evoke a sense of being present, authentic, true to who we are and aligns with the idea of individuality and customization.

Are all of your beads vintage? Are there particular qualities or features you look for when sourcing?

Some of the beads in our collection are vintage, while many others are locally sourced here in Providence, RI. Once renowned as the Jewelry Capital of the world, Providence boasts a rich history in jewelry production. While fine jewelry and casting still thrives, the city was once home to over 900 jewelry firms in the early 1980s, collectively producing over 80% of the costume jewelry in the United States. This legacy provides us with abundant sourcing opportunities.

When selecting beads, we are drawn to vibrant colors, unique shapes, and captivating textures. Our sourcing process involves combining the elegance of pearls with bold colors and diverse textures to create designs that are both joyful and expressive, with a definite "wow" factor.

Among our favorites are the Japanese glass high-luster pearls sourced locally from Wolf E Myrow. These pearls, known for their pristine quality, offer a modern touch and provide a striking contrast to the intricate yet stunning African beads that often feature prominently in our designs.

Jenn Park, Sculpting in Time

Image from Jenn Park, Sculpting in Time: "Benedetta, 1993."

Tell us about your style inspiration. Who keeps you inspired personally?

Sam’s creative magic is her insatiable appetite for whimsy and an unyielding love for vibrant hues, she infuses each piece with a playful energy that can't help but catch the eye. She's the one who knows just how to "fun it up," from bold color combinations to quirky embellishments.  She buys what she likes and loves to wear our necklaces with solid colors as to “ zhuzh” them up!

Caren is guided by a passion for sophistication, a bit of funk and a dose of refinement. Her discerning eye seeks out elegant shapes and  luxurious colors; her creations reflect an air of timelessness. Meticulously curated, she blends harmonious and complimentary hues with a little punch to create jewelry that exudes an  understated sense of creativity. As a client of Covet + Lou she appreciates and enjoys Ichi, Henrik Vibskov, Raquel Allegra and her new favorite, Anaak. Like Sam, Caren is also  a lover of solids so our designs have a canvas and “speak” for themselves.

Is there a certain time period you are drawn to when sourcing? Or specific colors or materials you find yourself especially liking / wanting to keep yourself? 


There's truly no rhyme or reason that dictates our choices when sourcing. Instead, our process is driven by our shared passion for creativity, enjoying each other’s company and our individual expression. We call ourselves ‘City Crafters – we  sit, talk, laugh, and create as we sift through an eclectic array of beads and gems. No two necklaces are the same. Our only guiding principle is that we create pieces that resonate with us personally—necklaces that we ourselves would proudly wear. This ethos ensures that every creation is imbued with authenticity and reflects our individual tastes and preferences.

As for distinguishing our works, it's a delightful challenge left to the observer. So, when you see our collection, we will let you guess and let the mystery of our crafting journey unfold

Lastly, what can we expect at your pop-up with us? We're thrilled to have you. 

At our pop-up, anticipate a dazzling array of vibrant bead creations, each with its own unique tale to tell. We will have options to suit every taste and occasion, there's something for everyone! Thank you for having us and thank you for letting us share our passions for beads with you.


 Bespoke Beads, Caren and Sam