- Category: Lampwork Beads
Warm up winter with lampwork beads!
Lampwork beads are great to work with during long winter evenings. Then in the spring, bring in extra money by making a special display of lampwork to add to your jewelry fair stand. You could even add interest with an oil lamp and some glass tubes. Lampwork beads are unique, so you won't find anyone else selling the same. Silver spacers and troll beads will make your lampwork look fantastic. And buyers love the originality of these beads.
What is lampwork?
The "lamp" in lampwork came from the oil lamps and blow-pipes used in seventeenth century France and Italy. Blowing by mouth or bellows into an oil lamp flame with a small pipe makes just enough heat to form this type of glass.
Hot glass working skills originated from the Syrians and Egyptians around 1500 BC, the Chinese around 550 BC, and the Romans at the turn of the first millennium. Today lampworkers usually use an oxygen torch, but the technique to form and decorate the glass hasn't changed much for thousands of years.
Choosing lampwork beads
As usual with handcrafted items, the quality is equal to the expertise of its maker. Choose beaded jewelry in a style you like, but remember that style isn't the only thing to consider when buying handcrafted glass beads.
Air bubbles shouldn't be visible in the bead. Although some bead makers use these as design elements, but they are normally round or positioned in specific areas. The bead hole should be free of nicks or burrs. Jagged edges around the hole produce a wobbly bead that can eventually cut through beading wire. Check the shape, but as they're handcrafted expect some variations - that's part of their charm.
How lampwork beads are make?
Lampworkers use a torch to melt the tip of glass rods, and then wind the molten glass around a narrow stainless steel rod called a mandel. Later, when the bead is removed, the space occupied by the mandrel becomes the hole used to string the bead.
Taking a bead out of the flame into the open air makes the outside of the bead cool faster than inside. This can cause a bead to crack. To prevent cracks, beads are soaked in a kiln to ensure all the glass is the same temperature, before gradually cooling.
Making jewelry from lampwork beads
Most crafters will buy lampwork beads by the strand and make them into bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Try designing matchings sets of all three for extra profit.
Usually large, lampwork beads go a long way and can be made to go further by mixing with silver spacers and other findings. Silver spacers look great next to the bright colors of lampwork. Google search "lampwork bead jewelry" to see some ideas.