Beads have been used for generations to make necklaces, rosaries, and other pieces of jewelry. While traditional beads are adorable, lampwork beads go a step above in adding aesthetics and enhancing the overall appeal of the jewelry.
Despite their exquisite nature and unique heritage, few people are aware of their origin and building process. This necessitates shedding light on several topics such as ‘How lampwork beads are made?’ and so on. So without any further ado, let’s get started!
What are Lampwork Beads?
To know what Lampwork beads mean, it’s important to know what ‘Lampwork’ and ‘beads’ mean separately. So beads are small pieces of glass, stones, or similar materials that are threaded together to make jewelry or some other items.
On the other hand, lampwork is a glasswork technique where a torch or lamp is used to melt the glass. And once the glass is in a molten state, it is shaped using hand or tools.
So that means lampwork beads are those beads that are made using lampworking techniques. As these are mostly handmade, intricate designs and fascinating details are some features they are heavily endowed with.
Why are Venetian and Murano Lampwork beads famous?
Whenever we hear about ‘glasswork’, the mention of Murano is bound to take place. This is because glass making is widely practiced in Munaro and the artists and workers belonging to this place have acquired distinctiveness in glasswork. The Muranian glass work is inspired by Venetian glass artists.
One might wonder whether such beads can be copied by manufacturers in China or some other countries. Well the answer is Yes, they can be copied, however, there are several qualities of such Muranese beads that are difficult to be replicated, such as usage of Effetre glass canes (which are produced only in Murano).
Likewise, the tools used, and most prominently the traditional Venetian techniques are hard to replicate too.
All the mentioned factors make it a unique product which is endemic to Murano and some other areas where Muranian artists could provide their help.
And this is why at Venetian Bead Shop, we are a family-owned business in Santa Clara, CA, USA where we have been importing Venetian Glass & Murano Glass since 1993 and we work directly with the bead makers of Venice Murano which makes us able to provide the best Venetian & Murano lampwork beads in USA and worldwide.
What do you require to make Lampwork beads?
Every special thing requires unique efforts. The same holds for lampwork beads as well. It is important to source the required materials and tools before starting to make the Lampwork beads. Here are some of them-
- Bench Burner
This is a device that produces heat and flames which is essential in heating and shaping the glass for making beads.
- Hand Torch
You’d be dealing with intricate detailing and fine objects while working on beads. This makes a hand torch indispensable as using it you’ll be able to focus on different small and intricate particles of beads.
A marver is one of the most important tools when it comes to glassblowing. It is generally made of polished steel, brass, and attached to a metal or wooden table. However, when it comes to using them in a process requiring fine application, a hand-held version of the same could be used. Overall, it is a flat slab of metal or stone or wood on which glasswork is rolled, shaped and cooled.
A reamer is a rotary cutting tool used in metalworking. They are used for finishing or enlarging a hole on a metal. A reamer may seem the same as a driller, however, while a driller ‘makes’ hole on a solid surface, a reamer on the other hand, finishes or works upon the existing hole to leave smooth sides.
- Tungsten Pick
Tungsten is a hard metal that is used in making light bulbs and its extreme temperature resistance makes it ideal in glasswork or anything that requires dealing with high temperatures. There are several applications of Tungsten in bead making such as raking (dragging glass), boring holes, and others.
A mandrel is a cylindrical shaped rod around which metal or some other material is shaped or forged. Essentially, you’ll be using this device the whole time in making Lampwork beads.
- Glass rods
These glass rods would be your primary raw materials. You’ll have to melt them to make beads.
How to make Lampwork Beads
Now we’ll directly shift to talking about how lampwork beads are made. We have tried to break down the steps involved into pointers. So here we go:
- First of all, melt the glass rods over a torch and bring it into its molten state.
- Now wound the molten glass carefully around the steel mandrel. The hole that we see in beads is formed due to the space taken up by these mandrels.
- Now you have to give a shape to the molten glass by rotating the mandrel and holding it in various positions. The gravity and rotation given by you would help the bead in getting your desired shape. Now, as a beginner, you’ll not be certain about how hot the glass needs to be when it should be rotated or when to apply pressure. Needless to say, you’ll know the same gradually as you begin working regularly.
- You can add decorative embellishment and colors to adorn the beads. Overtime, you’ll learn how different colors, tools, and metals react with glass to form beads.
- You can also use marble tools, paddles, and marvers to give the glass the desired shape. Just make sure to keep the mandrel spinning and glass hot.
- At last, you’ll need to carefully ‘anneal’ the beads. Annealing is a process of cooling down the glass, reducing stress, and avoiding thermal shock to the glass bead.
Overall, we can say lampwork beading requires a great deal of patience, precision, and skill sets. With practice and proper tools, you can make your own designer Lampwork beads.
Now if you wish to buy traditional Venetian and Murano Lampwork beads, you can browse for the same on our store. At Venetian Bead Shop, we provide over 6000 different colors and styles of traditional and modern Venetian glass beads. Do visit our store, we are sure you’d be delighted seeing the variety we offer.
Thanks for reading!