Sunday, October 25, 2009

Beaded Jewelry by Susan: Glass Bead Primer, Part I

I thought that some of my followers on this blog and on my Beaded Jewelry by Susan Etsy site might be interested in knowing a bit about the different kinds of glass beads. So, over several posts, I'll be presenting a quick primer. Part I introduces lampglass beads.

Lampglass beads are handmade, one at a time, over an open flame. The molten glass is turned on a wire mandrel, and bits of colored glass and other materials are added. They melt into the bead and are a permanent part of it when the bead is annealed (cooled and hardened). Here are a few examples of the types of patterns, colors, and designs that are possible. As you can see, sometimes the finished bead looks as though it has flowers on it or inside it. Sometimes the patterns are more abstract, such as swirls of color. The outer shell of the bead may even be clear glass, with colored glass embedded in its center.

Another common motif is that of the so-called eye bead. This is a very common and ancient design, dating back, literally, hundreds of years. Circular marks like eyes were added to beads of all sorts in an attempt to bring good luck and protection to the wearer by distracting, and thus warding off, the "evil eye." Many attractive eye beads today are created through lampglass techniques in which the patterns of the eyes in a contrasting color are added to a solid-colored molten bead.


  1. Hi, Susan- Read some of your blog- Great to read about someone else's craft! Love the garden pieces as well!

  2. Glad you enjoyed the posts. More to come about the craft and the garden, so stay tuned!