I found Moulaye Niang's tiny little shop by accident, and what a gem! If handblown glass is the epitome of Venice, these glass beads are the perfect, beautiful (and affordable) way to take home a piece of the island.
Moulaye sits at his little worktable blowing small miracles. When I came in, he popped up and dragged me out into the sunlight, spinning a freshly molten bead on a metal rod. It was black and smoking. Watch, he said, turning the rod. Blue began to emerge, then streaks of red and circles of yellow. Within three minutes, the black blob cooled and metamorphosed into gorgeous work of art.
Back inside, it was hard to choose among the strung necklaces. Moulaye's partner is responsible for designing necklaces with his beads, and her combinations are stunning. But there's also a big tray of just beads. If you can pick one, she will string it into a necklace of her design—or yours.
Many of the necklaces have "two possibilities," as Moulaye put it: in a short style, or a totally different long style. I'll let you visit the shop and see for yourself what that means.
These beads are exquisite, and very affordable. Not cheap. They're the perfect Venetian takeaway or gift that will be prized forever. All you have to do is find the shop!