Glass beads are a fascinating, beautiful creation. They have functioned as currency, gifts, work of art and symbols of high status. The glass beads are recorded as being created, traded and worn as jewelry by the earliest civilized societies.
There are many types of glass beads as there are colors in the spectrum. Art beads carry a variety of popular glass bead including;
Czech glass beads
Lamp work beads
Cat’s eye beads
We featured may dichroic glass beads from Paula and hand- blown beads from fire designs produced using a multi- layer coating, glass pearls, frosted glass beads and glass rocailles. The technology for glass beadmaking is among the oldest human art.
Common types of glass bead manufactured;
- Wound glass beads
- Drawn glass beads
- Molded beads
- Lamp work beads
- Dichromic glass beads
- Furnace glass
- Lead crystal
Glass beads are usually categorized by the method used to manipulate the glass.
Lead glass and especially borosilicate is available in tubing, making true blown beads possible. In addition, beads can be fused from sheet glass or using ground glass.
Wound glass beads were the earliest beads of true glass were made by winding method. The wound bead, while still hot, may be further shaped by manipulating with graphite, wood, stainless, steel, brass, tungsten or marble tools and paddle and it can also be pressed into a mold in its molten state.
Drawn glass beads are also very ancient. There are several methods for making drawn beads, but they all involve pulling a strand out of gather of glass in such a way as to incorporate a bubble in the center of strand to serve as the hole in the bead.
Molded beads are associated with lower labor costs. Thick rods are heated to molten and fed into a complex apparatus that stamps the glass, including a needle that pierces a hole.
Lamp work beads are a variant of the wound glass beadmaking technique and a labor intensive one, is what is traditionally called lampworking.
Dichroic glass beads are being used to produce high end art beads. Dichroic glass has a thin film of metal fused to the surface of glass, resulting in a surface that has a metallic sheen that changes between two colors when viewed at a different angle.
Furnace glass uses large decorated canes built up out of smaller canes, encased in clear glass and then extruded to form the beads with linear patterns.
Lead crystal beads are machine cut and polished.