Hidden Gems: Ants

Jinan Moumneh
Contributing Writer

In the heart of Hamra, Vahan Papazian built a home in Ants, a small shop of unique trinkets and accessories.

Among the bustling sounds of Makhoul Street, Ants is a place that attracts many passers-by. It appeals to people from all over Beirut and has great popularity with LAU, IC, and AUB students, making it a home to a variety of special items.

Papazian has always been handy and creative, having started making his own crafts at the age of 14 as well as displaying his products in exhibitions. During his college years, he decided to finally open a place where he could sell his creations as his products were gaining popularity. In 2005, he opened his very first place in Bourj Hammoud.

Clothing on display at Ants, (credits: Jinan Moumneh).

When asked about his favorite places in Lebanon, he says Hamra. To him, Hamra is his neighborhood and represents all of Lebanon. After realizing this, he opened Ants in Makhoul in 2006. He kept the Bourj Hammoud space as a workshop where he and his team of “ants” could work on the products.

The goods sold at Ants vary in origin as well as design. They are well-known for selling accessories, silver, gems, journals, and even clothes. Papazian takes yearly trips to places like Bali, India, and Thailand, and he brings back more exotic things to be sold in our very own neighborhood. Most of the items sold at Ants are produced by the owner himself.

Something that is unmissable when you walk into Ants is the very strong scent of incense which is actually brought in from India and sold in the small shop. The clothes sold there are designed by Papazian and produced in India where he handpicks the fabric for their assembly. They also sell various band shirts which originally come from Bangkok. The ever-popular dreamcatchers have always been a big hit at Ants, and they seem to be gaining speed now more than before. These dreamcatchers are custom made and collected from the store owner’s trips to Bali.

Jewellery/accessories on display at Ants, (credits: Jinan Moumneh).

According to Papazian, the current best-selling items are the crystal-embellished accessories. He claims that yoga is a growing interest to many people, and there is a growing belief in the “healing powers” of crystals and gems.

He is known for his leather accessories and customized designs, having previously produced leather products based on customer orders.

If you are looking for a place that has a variety of things to offer, gifts to personalize, or just something to spice up your bling, Ants is definitely your go-to!

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