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Hidden Treasure

A holdout in the jewelry business that’s still going strong, Wolf E. Myrow’s beads and baubles have inspired generations of artists and jewelry designers.

Photographs by Michael Cevoli

Anthony Antonelli doesn’t know how much inventory he has. But he knows exactly where all of it is.

Need a little plastic Texas flag? He’ll find it. A tiny, pipe-smoking walrus? Not a problem. All manner of beads, baubles, buckles, bows and stones of every conceivable shape, color and size? Give him a minute, he’ll put his finger on whatever you need.
Antonelli, his wife, Irene, and their two grown children, Tony and Robin, are the lifeblood of their company, Wolf E. Myrow, which for more than sixty years has been a huge presence in the jewelry-fitting industry, those little doodads that are the embryos of future bracelets, earrings, necklaces, artwork and everything in between. Ask what each does, they’ll smile and say, “whatever needs to be done.”
Their business, known on the Internet as Closeout Jewelry Findings, is located in ancient buildings that once were Atlantic Mills on Providence’s Aleppo Street, a company that processed wool for Union soldier uniforms in the Civil War.
All around are shelves crowded with well-worn boxes; attached to the outside of each is a sample of the contents within. In the massive warehouse just beyond are rooms of tall metal shelves heavy with boxes, manna from heaven for jewelry makers and artists who make their way here from around the world in search of goods and, more often than not, inspiration for what to create from them. 
How much stuff?
“Someone once said that if everyone in China walked through here, they could give each of them a present,” Anthony Antonelli says.

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