BLACK MARKET FUN

As visitors to Hilton Head for many years, my husband and I always set aside a rainy afternoon to shop for souvenirs for our friends in Rhode Island. And while there is a plethora of gift shops selling Hilton Head-logoed paraphernalia – and fun items at that! – we found that after the third or so trip, staying original (and affordable) was a challenge. Our New England loved ones had everything from sand dollar tree ornaments to Harbour Town lighthouse magnets, to formaldehyde-filled jars stuffed with dead sharks (the latter of which seemed always of questionable origins and smacked of being a passive-aggressive threat depending upon the character or prison record of the recipient. But hey, the jar was painted with neon pink, “Hilton Head,” so how could we resist?). What other trinkets were out there, without resorting to the ubiquitous, “My Dad went to Hilton Head Island and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” t-shirt, or stealing a Vacation Company beach towel?
Black Market Minerals in Coligny Plaza turned out to be the answer to that question. It became our favorite haunt on every trip, and continues to be a great resource for gifts going out-of-town. During the course of our twelve years as visitors to the island, here are just a few of the truly colorful and authentic items we have purchased for friends and for ourselves: African-made drums; hematite rosary beads; magnetized bracelets; African masks; an Asian Dragon kite; an onyx chess board; marble and jade wind chimes carved into fish, planets, and stars; a large globe made from real gemstones, held in a brass stand with a compass centered at the bottom (way before the Shopping Channel and QVC ever heard of it!).

The best part of your shopping experience in Black Market Minerals is the pricing. Most of the inventory is incredibly unique, but when I occasionally run across a similar piece in another shop, it is almost always double the price! How do they do it? I asked the store manager, who explained that the owner of the company handpicks the products directly from manufacturers around the world and pays only wholesale and shipping, which adds up to great savings on really cool, one-of-a-kind, souvenirs for all of us. This must explain why they have been open and thriving on Hilton Head for over twenty years.
Black Market Minerals began in Florida and spread to locations in South Carolina, Arizona, Washington State, and Illinois. You can also visit them online and place orders at www.blackmarketminerals.com. The phone number here is 843.785.7090.

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