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13/11/2015

A Look At The Different Types Of Glass Beads Available



Glass is one of the widely used and most versatile materials when it comes to creating beads for jewelry making. Beads made of glass have been around for ages and it is believed that they date back to Roman times. Today, glass beads are available in all different colors, shapes and sizes. They undergo a huge array of production techniques so that an endless variety of beads can be created.

Here's a look at some of the different types of glass beads available.

Lampwork

These beads are made with the use of a flametorch to heat a rod of glass. The molten glass is then applied around another rod which is called a mandrel. Heat is constantly applied to the bead while it is worked on. This work requires a very skilled lampwork artist because if it is not done correctly, the bead will lose its shape. The artists can give the bead any design or shape. Beads can be made in floral or geometric design and given any desired color. The surface can also be worked on to make it smooth or raised. Beads which are annealed in a kiln are much stronger and resistant to breaking. Lampwork beads are made in different parts of the world, especially in China, America and Czech Republic.

Wedding Cake

These beads are a kind of lampwork bead and they are famous in Venice. They consist of metallic bits such as copper and add a sparkle to the beads. They are named wedding cake beads because they look like tiny cakes with icing.

Millefiori

In the 1800s, these beads were famous in Venice only, but today they are popular all over the world. They are called millefiori beads because the resulting bead gives a three dimensional look and are filled with various patterns or flowers. To create these beads, different colored glass rods are bundled together to form a design such as a flower. They are then fused together and then cut and melted over a glass core.

Pressed Glass

Molten glass is pressed into molds to give shapes to the glass. Basically, they can be pressed into any shape such as leaves or flowers.

Blown Glass

As the name suggests, the beads are made by blowing into molten glass through a glass tube. Flame is then used over the tube to give shape to the bead.

Crystal

Crystal is a type of glass that contains lead and was first created in the 1600s in England. Crystal is much stronger than most other types of glass beads due to the fact that it contains lead oxide. Since it has the ability refract light, it is quite famous today and used in the creation of expensive jewelry.

Vintage

These are beads which represent a bygone era, but the fact is that they are not more than 20 years old. In fact, they are not even used beads. They are called vintage beads simply because their designs are discontinued and they had been sitting in boxes in old bead manufacturing factories for years. Most of the vintage beads come from Japan, Germany and Austria. Beads which are more than 100 years old are known as antique beads and they are very rare.

 

 


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