Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Beads Beads Beads: Glass Beads


Hi everyone! Welcome to my series, Beads! Beads! Beads! Today, we are going to talk about:


 GLASS BEADS!

Oh, the myriad of glass beads! The shapes, the sizes, the colors! Now the category of glass beads alone has it's own encyclopedia of subcategories that are all fascinating! We will start with seed beads, because that's what I use the most in my jewelry.




SEED BEADS
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Basically, seed beads are made from recycled glass and raw materials melted in a extremely hot furnace to make molten, red-hot liquid glass. As the molten glass is transferred, it is poured into a long hollow tube that is formed into the shape of the glass bead. As the molten glass goes through the shaped hole, decompressed air is blown through the center of the liquid glass, forming the molten glass into a tube. The glass is then pulled like taffy into a long rod shape and then cooled. Any rods that are misshapen or broken are gathered and put back into the furnace to be melted and shaped again. Once the rods are cooled, they are cut and polished into the finished seed beads.

Seed beads are made in different sizes. The unit of measurement for seed beads follows the rule that the smaller the number, the bigger the bead. For example, a 13/0 size bead would be smaller than an 11/0 bead, an 8/0 bead would be larger than an 11/0, a 6/0 is larger than an 8/0, etc. There are different finishes such as opaque, luster, metallic, rainbow (or AB which is short for aurora borealis). There are also different cuts: rocaille, delicas, hex, to name a few. Seed beads that are the most popular are Miyuki, Czech, Toho.
Vintage Violets Cuff Bracelet - Patricia Bowe Designs


The art of beadweaving has been around for centuries. Just about every culture has some artwork, whether in jewelry, on clothing, or in home decor that uses seed beads in some way, shape or form. My favorite jewelrymaking technique is beadweaving and I learn new skills and techniques every day.
soon.  Toodles!