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Manufacturing process

  

Glass beads are being crafted for more than 2,000 years and various civilization has used them in many ways, from decorations to currencies. Techniques of the glass making industry were trade secrets until the early 17th century. But today, there are infinite ways in which glass beads can be manufactured, some of them are so simple that one can even give it a try at home. Popular methods of bead making include handmade, lamp worked or wound beads, etc. Glass beads are formed in many different ways. Some of the most prominent today are:

Wound: The bead is formed by the ancient technique of winding molten glass around a metal wire. The beads are then sliced and polished.

Lampwork: A wound glass bead is formed by winding molten glass around copper wire heated over a lamp.

Mosaic: Mosaic beads are very ornate, and are composed entirely of colorful fused segments of glass cane. Glass cane is a long drawn rod of glass.

Millefiori: These beads have layers of colorful glass fused in cross section and melted onto the surface of a bead. The resulting surface can look like flowers, like faces, like an abstract pattern, or even a realistic scene. One example of a glass cross section: two layers of different-color glass, rolled up like a jelly roll, and then sliced.

Swarovski Crystal: These are leaded (crystal) glass beads with a very high brilliance. These are named after Daniel Swarovski who was born in Bohemia in 1862, and who invented a machine to cut glass.

Chevron: A very popular bead, first made in the 1400's in Venice. This bead is formed by drawn-out layered glass block sectioned into beads; their ends are cut or ground down to create a zigzag pattern, usually blue with white and red stripes.

Blown: Blown glass beads are formed as a craftsman blows into a glass tube that has a small piece of molten glass on the end. The tube is turned over heat until the bead reaches the desired size.


Venetian Glass Beads
The origin of Venetian glass bead can be traced to Venice, where the beadmakers with their skill and eye for design make their Glass Beads desired throughout the world. Venetian artisans have been influencing glass bead makers from around the world for several centuries, creating the distinct Venetian glass style. Glass gifts and beautiful handmade jewelry can be designed with Venetian glass beads

Process
Venetian beads are lamp worked from glass, i.e. the bead maker makes the bead from molten glass over an open flame. The process carry on centuries old tradition of hand-crafting beads and are the most time consuming, as each bead is made individually. Using a torch for heat, glass cane is heated to a molten state and wrapped around a metal rod until the desired bead shape is formed.

Popular Forms
The various forms in which Venetian glass beads are found may include Millefiori, also known as thousand flowers, lace beads or mosaic. Sommerso, means submerged and is a small fleck of color, suspended inside transparent glass. Fiorato, are decorated with flowers, whereas these can also be foiled with gold, white gold and silver. They may be also be finished in spirals, or straight striping, and may be balls, or teardrop shape.


Lampwork Glass Beads
Lampwork glass beads are a popular jewelry component and are found in many necklaces, bracelets and other jewelry. Lampworking is done for past hundreds of years to make glass beads, and the quality of any handmade lampwork glass bead depends upon the expertise of its maker. The option of designs in this segment is endless as the maker can create a variety of dots, paterns, feathers, and representational ornamentation out of glass.

Process
There are many different techniques for making modern art glass beads, but lampwork glass beads are truly special. Since glass becomes molten when heated to a certain temperature, glass artists can create any shape as well as layers while holding the glass over a flame or lamp. Surface treatments such as fuming metals, electro-forming, acid etching and the use of enamels are used to alter the appearance of the glass beads.

Popular Forms
Through much time and patience, the bead maker learns the effects of the elements at play to create the design, size and shape of handmade lampwork glass bead that they desire. Many glass artists produce unbelievably complicated beautiful designs. Lampwork glass beads can come with raised decoration, bumps, dots, swirls in another color, sparkle "goldstone" feathering, foil inside, or other applied decoration.


Furnace Glass Beads
Furnace glass beads are recorded as being created, traded, and worn by the earliest civilized societies, from Egyptians to Romans, Vikings to Indians. Furnace glass beads are excellent in quality and are available with better clarity, more vibrant colors, and greater durability. Manufacturers work with the "master bead crafter" to bring freshly designed, magnificently beautiful furnace glass beads to the world at large.

Process
The traditional way of making these beads is to dip an iron mandrel into glass in a crucible in a furnace. The beads can then be shaped or decorated. After its final heating, it can be knocked off the mandrel because iron cools faster than glass, because the shapes and sizes of the beads vary enormously, there's no definitive form that can be associated with this process.

Popular Forms
Furnace glass beads are a fascinating, beautiful creation. Once the basic bead has been formed, the glass worker can choose to further ornament the bead by creating dot surfaces, decorating with slices of patterned glass or adding gold or silver foil to the bead. There are nearly as many types of furnace glass beads as there are colors in the spectrum. The various shapes in which these can be found includes cube shapes, disc beads, oval shapes, round etc. Whether creating a necklace or embellishing a lamp shade, furnace glass beads are used in a wide array of decorative artwork.


Handmade Glass Beads
Glass is an artisan's dream as it can be poured into any molds. Creative people throughout the world choose to express their artistic talents with glass and handmade glass beads are just one form of the varied glassmaking craft. Handmade glass bead can be cut and polished into beautiful designs as well as can be stretched and pulled into any shape imaginable. Creating handmade glass bead is a skill that takes a great deal of practice.

Process
Most handmade glass beads are made out of matte glass, dichroic glass, furnace glass, frosted glass, fused glass, blown glass and lamp worked glass. In all these process the glass becomes molten and then is given the desired shape. After that they are added with decorative effects, and different colors of glass interact with each other.

Popular Forms
Handmade glass beads are available in a vibrant kaleidoscope of colors & finishes. The various shapes available include diamond, round, cubes and other unique shapes. Handmade glass bead can be as plain or as decorative as the artist likes. Multiple layers of glass can be added, switching colors to create the desired effects. Small dots of color can be left as bumps on the bead's surface, or plunged into the center of the bead for a totally different look. These glass beads are available in a variety of colors for example primary colors of red, green, and clear to more sparkling colors of aqua, magenta and rose.


Glass Cane Beads
Glass cane is a long drawn rod of glass. Glass cane beads are very ornate and are composed entirely of colorful fused segments of glass cane. Generally handcrafted, these are high quality beads crafted by using a torch to heat the glass cane to a molten state and wrapped around a metal rod until the desired bead shape is formed. The brilliant colors and unique shapes of glass cane beads offer something for everyone.

Process
The making of glass cane beads is an ancient technique of drawing intricate patterns in hot glass and is a time consuming, difficult process. It consists of painting a very thick picture in glass. The picture can measure up to two inches thick and more than three inches wide, with the picture running the length of the glass. The picture cane is heated and when it becomes almost too soft to handle, it is stretched. The longer the stretch, the tinnier and more detailed the image becomes.

Popular Forms
Glass cane beads are available in a wonderful assortment of color and shape variations. These allow the beaders to craft exquisite necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and other stunning jeweleries. Glass cane beads possess many shapes, styles and colors. The design can range from simple designs of spheres, teardrops to extensively ornate ones.


Hand Blown Glass Beads
Glass is one of the oldest materials known to man. Unique hand blown glass beads are available in assorted sizes, shapes and colors. These beads possess a special look making them a fabulous decorating element while making jewelery and other crafts. No matter where these beads are placed, they are sure to be noticed and admired for their beauty and individuality.

Process
Hand blown glass beads are manufactured by primitive process that was used hundreds of years before. With nothing more than a blob of molten glass, a long hollow pipe, and a few primitive tools, artisans produced excellent glass beads in a variety of shapes. The hand blown glass technique consists of blowing through a pipe onto a red-hot glass mass, heated in a special oven. As the artisan blows, he can start molding the piece by turning it around with the pipe. When the piece starts cooling, using the appropriate tools, beads can be molded. Color is added to the glass to give it a wonderful look, tones and effects.

Popular Forms
The various forms in which hand blown beads are available is limitless. It depends upon the creativity and skill of the maker. The creativity while making hand blown glass beads begin with making a simple bead; that can proceed to easy variations, such as overwraps and raked patterns; and beads shimmering with different metals and featuring millefiori, sculpting, and hollowing. The various shapes in which these can be found include round, button, oval, rectangle, drops, baguette, nugget, winding, briolette and many more.


Vintage Glass Beads
Adding glamor and enrichment to any craft, vintage glass beads are exported widely. The collection of fabulous vintage glass beads may include pieces which date back as early as the 1920's. These pieces were manufactured mostly in Czech, Germany, India, European countries and Japan. Most bead lovers have a special vault in their hearts reserved just for vintage glass beads.

Process
With the ultimate choice of buyers worldwide, vintage glass beads are ergonomically manufactured, with super finishes that creates an aura of magnificence. A popular method of vintage glass bead making produces "lamp worked" or "wound" beads, so-called because the glass rods were heated in the flame of an oil lamp and the molten glass was wound onto a rod.

Popular Forms
Vintage glass beads are available in innumerable designs and styles including stripes, thin lines, bands, squares, matte squares, small dots, mini-dots and frosted sparkle. The varying colorful vintage glass beads include venetian glass beads, lampwork glass beads, furnace glass beads, handmade glass beads, murano glass beads, blown glass beads, glass cane beads, vintage glass beads, fused glass beads, etc.


Glass Seed Beads
Glass seed beads are small, usually mass-produced beads that are meant to be sewn on or woven into patterns to give movement and color to an object. These are the most popular form of beads to thread on a home made scale. Glass seed beads are sometimes called E-beads that refers to the shape of the bead. These are not perfectly round, but rather is sliced, which gives it a squared round or roundish shape.

Types of Glass Seed Beads
Glass seed beads are made in many countries. Seed beads are perhaps the most widely used as they are very consistent in size from bead to bead, and the colors and finishes are less likely to fade in sunlight or water, or wear away when rubbed against other materials and objects. Japanese seed beads, French glass seed beads are perfectly consistent in size from bead to bead, and have more durable finishes than Czech beads. Other countries make seed beads as well, such as India, France and Italy.

Popular Forms
Glass seed beads can be treated in many ways. The various forms in which these are available are transparent, opaque, matte, metallic, lined, iris, iris lined, silver lined etc. Glass seed beads are available in a multitude of colors varying from transparent to cranberry and from aqua to black. There are many different shapes of seed beads, for example sphere shaped, cone shaped, cube shaped and rectangular shaped. These are used to produce the best quality items of jewelry for example necklaces, bracelets and anklets.


Faceted Glass Beads
The term faceted refers to the fact that the glass is chipped along the edges of each piece for a brighter, faceted effect. The popularity of faceted glass bead is due to the fact that fewer materials, less labor and simpler designs are the standard in this segment. For some specific design in jewelery, faceted glass beads is a perfect match. All faceted glass beads are very well made with uniform, nicely facet and true color that accentuate the designs.

Process
The process of producing faceted glass bead is deceptively simple. However, without careful attention to the details of design and layout numerous problems occur. There are some restrictions in working with faceted glass. To make faceted glass beads the glass is often broken to the proper size and shape rather than cut, fine detail in design is not possible. Nevertheless, a skilled designer working with an understanding of its advantages and limitations can create beautiful, striking beads.

Popular Forms
Although the designs of faceted glass beads can be abstract, the patterns are generally not random but rather planned by the designer to make best use of the materials. Careful designs not only add beauty to the beads, but also allows for the minimization of waste glass. Faceted glass beads can also be made of stained glass.


Crystal Glass Beads
Due to its spark and shine, crystal glass beads are the most recognized name among the fine quality beads. These beads exceed all others in terms of quality and elegance and are extremely popular among customers from many different backgrounds and ages. Crystal glass beaded jewelry are meant to be worn on special occasions as these are extensively used to create beautiful necklaces, chokers, bracelets, earrings, pendants and anklets.

Process
Crystal glass beads are manufactured in diamond, round, cubes and other unique shapes in fancy finishes. These beads can have a perfectly smooth surface or can be faceted and optically-polished. Each and every crystal glass bead is precisely cut under the highest quality control. Multi colored lampwork crystal glass beads strand out in great variety from fish shapes to twisted ovals. Crystal glass beads are chosen due to their size, rarity, color and association.

Popular Forms
Crystal glass beads are available in many colors, for example green, red, blue and of course the most popular crystal in clear. Crystals are chosen for items of jewelry due to their ability to sparkle and dazzle, enabling the owner to glow and shine. The design depends on the requirements and the specific role of the item. For example a formal necklace may incorporate a few crystal glass beads threaded to give an impression of expense and class.


Hemp Glass Beads
A new emerging item in this segment, hemp glass bead is known for the precision work and care for detail that has transform glass into wonders of the world. With many talented craftsmen spread all around, the combination of hemp and glass results into unique and interesting works.

Glass beads are matched with hemp, a natural fiber to create beautiful jewelery with design that are graceful and regal in their presence. Hemp glass beads come with stunningly geometric panel with an amazing gleam and an impactful and breathtaking motif. These designs are created using different shapes and sizes, incorporating a variety of beading weaving techniques and styles.


Frosted Glass Beads
Frosted glass beads achieve the look of etched glass and come with various designs in lines, waves, or double crossed waves. These beads have been quite popular for making jewelries as well as for other styles of decoration. These beads can be strung and worn as necklaces both around neck and suspended from brooch pins on dress/aprons.

Process
Frosted glass beads are developed with distinctive methods of decoration using trailing, feathering, dragging and folded technique. The different glass centers use different colors while making these beads. Sandblast technique is also used to make frosted glass beads.

Popular Forms
Frosted glass beads are available in unlimited design possibilities, allowing the designers to bring vibrant color, visual effects and graphic patterns to glass surfaces. Classic frosted glass beads offer additional style and grace to decorating apabilities. These may come in exquisite scalloped edges and flower leak design or may feature a crackle glass appearance.


Chevron Glass Beads
Chevron glass beads form one of the oldest varieties of beads. They were first manufactured in Venice in the 14th century. With time their popularity has grown immensely all over the world but the art of making them is now a veteran practice in African and north American countries.

The craft of making glass chevron beads involve intricate layering of different colors of glasses in diverse patterns. It is these large number of variations that make these beads exquisite pieces of beauty. The structure of a chevron bead includes a white core covered with a blue layer of glass, followed by crimson, yellow, cobalt, green and a host of other colors. The color of the glass layers can vary. The most popular category of chevron beads display as much as 7 layers where as others reveal four, five and six layers of glass. The traditional craftsmanship of making these beads lies in the way the layers of glasses are placed to produce a vast array of fascinating patterns. Each bead delivers its own distinct vision and lustre.
Some common designs that these beads display are as follows:
• Chevron Mixes
• Chevron Side Drilled
• Chevron Individuals
Chevron beads can be used to address a variety of applications such as:
• Jewelry for making necklaces, bracelets, earrings and anklets.
• Accessories such as key chains and belts.
• Embellishments to adorn bags, purses, hobos etc.
• Adorning garments.
• For making beaded curtains and other forms of drapes.
• For making various decoratives such as wall hangings, lamp shades etc.
The shape, size, color, number of layers and craftsmanship of beads is what decides their price and desirability. Owning to the beauty and their elegant appearance, they call for high export potential in many countries of America and Europe.


Plain Shiny Beads
The emergence of glass beads have completely revolutionized the concept of embellishing various objects. The art of making plain shiny beads is a popular rural craft which involves great precision and fine finish. The rich shiny lustre further imparts an exotic charm to the appearance of these items. Most popular types of finishes displayed by these beads are as follows:
• Lustrous
• Rainbow
• Frosted
Plain shiny beads can be transparent or opaque and come in all possible colors such as olive green, navy blue, crimson, moon white, lemon yellow etc. They are used for a variety of applications such as:
• For embellishing accessories such as belts, hand bags, wrist bands etc.
• Jewelry making for items like necklaces, chokers, bracelets, earrings, armlets, anklets etc.
• Decorating home furnishings such as cushion covers, line bed and table linens and table mats.
• Draperies such as curtains and sofa throws.
The expansion of fashion industry and the establishment of new designers have led to the use of beads in many innovative ways. Therefore, their demand has greatly risen in the last few years making them the most sought-after objects for export in both domestic as well as international sectors.


Silver Foil Beads
Silver foil beads reveal a unique silver luster along with the vibrant colors that they display. The technique of manufacturing silver foil glass beads basically involves the a .925 sterling silver foil submerged beneath the translucent colors of glass. These beads are hand made with great precision and neatness ensuring that each piece displays a fine finish.
The patterns and appearance of silver foil beads are diverse speaking volumes of the intricate and meticulous craftsmanship of the artisans. A few common types are as follows:
• Stamped Silver Foil Beads: These beads are comparitively flat or pressed revealing silver lustre at both ends and a colored lining in the centre.
• Dotted Silver Foil Beads: Dotted beads display tiny colorful dots on their metallic surface.
• Two Tone Silver Foil Beads: Two tone beads display a combination of two shades in a specific fashion such that one of the color is silver.

The shapes and sizes of silver foil beads are varied. They represent the following shapes:
• Barrel
• Cylindrical
• Circular
• Faceted
• Diamond
• Heart shaped
• Square and rectangular
Silver foil beads find their uses in a variety of applications from adorning apparels and accessories to making beautiful beaded jewelry, curtains, throws, lining linens etc. Their unique lustre have made them the most sought-after items used as embellishments. The reason they call for high export potential not only in India but overseas as well.


Gold Foil Beads
Gold beads are alluring pieces of beauty that have captivated the attention of people the world over. Their lustrous appearance in diverse colors make them highly commercial in terms of their popularity. With the fashion industry spreading its wings at a fast pace, the use and eventually their demand has risen massively in the last few decades.
The structure of gold foil beads basically involves a gold foil core encased in transparent colors of glass. The quality of glass engaged in the making of these beads is of great importance. The glasses used could be Venetian, Murano or Indian featuring a vast array of fascinating designs and colors. These beads display a vast array of shapes and sizes, some of which include:
• Circular and oval
• Rectangular
• Heart shaped
• Diamond
• Cubic

The desirability and price of these items is decided by the patterns and finishes that they reveal. Some of the common finishes that these beads display are as follows:
• Regular
• Torn
• Twisted
• Swirls
• Stripes


Recycled Glass Beads
Recycled glass beads, though a new innovation is an endeavor to re-use glass to manufacture beads. This is achieved by melting the glass, remoulding and coloring it in various shapes and sizes. Some common shapes that they display are as follows:
• Barrel
• Diamond
• Cylindrical
• Cubic
• Round and oval
• Faceted
The quality of glass used is what decides the appearance of these beads. The coloring techniques also differ depending on the same. A few common types of lustre imparted by these pieces are as follows:
• Matte Crow Beads
• Rainbow Crow Beads
• Furnace Glass Beads
• Frosted Glass Beads
• Crystal Glass Beads
• Chinese Glass Beads
• Craft Glass Beads
Recycled beads are most commonly used for making jewelry items such as necklaces, bangles, bracelets, earrings, anklets and armlets. Since their cost of manufacturing is low, items made from them cater to people belonging to all economic groups. This eventually leads to their accelerated demand in jewelry and its allied sectors.


Transparent Glass Beads
Transparent beads make for some of the most exotic varieties of beads as unlike other kinds of beads, they are made up of transparent glass. The shape and sizes of these items are varied. Some common ones are as follows:
• Round
• Cubic
• Drops
• Rondelle
• Barrel
• Tubular
• Disks
• Heart shaped
The type of glass used plays a major role in deciding the appearance and quality of the beads. Venetian, Indian and Murano glasses are the most frequently used for the manufacturing of these beads. The finishes that these items display further accentuates the look of these pieces. The craftsmanship, however is of prime importance when it comes to the finesse and patterns that these pieces reveal. A few finishes that are commonly depicted include:
• Regular
• Twisted
• Swirl
• Stripes
• Cubic
The export potential of these beads is quite high as apart from their unique appearance, their cost of production is low. Their increased application has further accelerated their demand in sectors like fashion and the handicrafts industry.


Handicraft Glass Beads
Handcraft Glass beads are completely handmade beads, and the main equipment require to make these beads is oxygen and propane fueled torch. To make these beads more attractive, sometimes pure silver, special reduction frits and enamel powder can be mixed with these beads. These additional substances provide unusual and interesting finishes to these beads. These handcrafted glass beads are mainly used for making precious crystals jeweleries.

Process
To manufacture the handcraft glass beads, the colored glass roads are melted with the help of a mix-torch of propen and oxygen. This colored glass rod is heated up to 1700° F, and then it is wound around a treated glass rod. In this stage, it is decorated and shapes are given according to the requirements. If the requirements are for some special purposes, then in this stage, the molted or semi-molted form of the beads can be annealed by using a digitally controlled kiln. The purpose of using such a kiln is to avoid any kind of splits of fracture on the surface of the beads, because kiln makes the cooling process slower.

Popular Forms
The famous hand crafted glass beads are Nava and Saga glass beads. These beads are used specially in the necklace with other precious crystals. Another type of handcrafted glass bead is Loose Glass Bead. These type of glass beads are totally handcrafted and very high quality glass is required to make these glass beads.


Handicraft Glass Beads
Handcraft Glass beads are completely handmade beads, and the main equipment require to make these beads is oxygen and propane fueled torch. To make these beads more attractive, sometimes pure silver, special reduction frits and enamel powder can be mixed with these beads. These additional substances provide unusual and interesting finishes to these beads. These handcrafted glass beads are mainly used for making precious crystals jeweleries.

Process
To manufacture the handcraft glass beads, the colored glass roads are melted with the help of a mix-torch of propen and oxygen. This colored glass rod is heated up to 1700° F, and then it is wound around a treated glass rod. In this stage, it is decorated and shapes are given according to the requirements. If the requirements are for some special purposes, then in this stage, the molted or semi-molted form of the beads can be annealed by using a digitally controlled kiln. The purpose of using such a kiln is to avoid any kind of splits of fracture on the surface of the beads, because kiln makes the cooling process slower.

Popular Forms
The famous hand crafted glass beads are Nava and Saga glass beads. These beads are used specially in the necklace with other precious crystals. Another type of handcrafted glass bead is Loose Glass Bead. These type of glass beads are totally handcrafted and very high quality glass is required to make these glass beads.


Alphabet Beads
Alphabet beads are also known as "Letter Beads". When anybody wants to provide personalize effect on his/her craft project, the Alphabet beads are used. There is a lot of fields, where the Alphabet beads can be used. These fields include keychains, hatbands, jewelry etc. Alphabet beads have different types. The major types of Alphabet beads are: ceramic alphabet beads, square or round acrylic alphabet beads and colored heart shaped letter beads. These beads are simply fashion oriented due to their appealing design. People from all age groups demand these alphabet beads. With any splendid apparel, alphabet beads can be used and looks gorgeous during auspicious occasions. These beads can be washed if these are required to clean.

Process
Alphabet beads are made from different kind of materials. The materials which are used for these beads are: glass, sterling silver, wood, acrylic, plastic etc. Moretti glass is used to form alphabet beads. For heating the glass, the flame is kept in moderate form, neither very hot nor to cool. With the formation of the letter shaped beads, gravity will help. While heating, both the front and back portion of the beads should be brought in the flame, so that the entire surface can get uniform amount of heat. Merely turning the bead in the flame should be averted, because this is only suitable for round beads, not for the alphabet beads. The idle mandrel size is 1/8", because mandrel of this size allows a cable or chain to pass through the bead. Some specific alphabetical beads are tough to prepare (like capital "K" and "B").

Popular Forms
Alphabet beads are associated with vigorous colors. This phenomena makes their appearance very appealing and attractive. Especially for jewelry and for other decorative items, the alphabet beads are used. Home decorative include decorate the backpacks, book bags, hang from the rear view mirror. Alphabet Beads are found in Blue, Red, Yellow, Silver, White, Pink and Green A variety of shapes are available for the alphabet beads. The popular shapes of alphabet beads are: heart shape, button shape, square shape, triangle shape and round shape. Depending upon the demand and fashion prevailing in the market, two type of finishes are found in the alphabet beads. These two finishes are: Transparent and Opaque.


Mixed Glass Beads
Mixed glass beads involve the combination of two or more patterns giving birth to a vast denomination of bead designs. Some common types are as follows:
• Surface Trail Mix: These beads engage the use of opaque as well as transparent colors which are then decorated with intricate patterns of surface trails, particularly gold lustre flecked glass.
• Aventurine Mix: These beads display a variety of shapes, the surfaces of which are treated with gold and floral decorations.
• Fancy Amethyst Mix: These beads display colors ranging from deep lilac to deep amethyst with differently colored cores and fancy pressed shapes.
• Dot and Bumpy Bead Mix: Popularly known as eye beads, these beads carry small and large dots on their surface in contrasting colors.
• Clay Bead Mix: Clay bead mixes are first usually carved in different designs, shapes and sizes in white clay which are then later colored in vibrant shades.
• Bone Bead Mix: Bone beads come in combinations of brown and white with intricate carvings on their surfaces. Some pieces also display stained work on them.
Mixed glass beads display a variety of innovative designs and unique patterns, paving way for their use in a variety of applications such as adorning apparels to making jewelry and beaded curtains in a highly creative manner. Manufacturing of these items is a skilled art and has caught up great popularity not only in India but abroad as well.


Glass Leaf Beads
Glass leaf beads impart a dramatic statement to where ever placed and accentuates the overall look of the craft. Curved & flat, glass leaf beads have carved their own niche in the glass bead market. These beads have become so popular that entire shops are now devoted to selling them and it is also possible to make these colorful beads from one's own from craft materials.

Process
Glass leaf beads can be crafted out of any type of glass and can be made with any of the glass beads making techniques. Some of them include matt glass, dichroic glass, furnace glass, frosted glass, fused glass, blown glass and lamp worked glass. In all these process the glass becomes molten and then is given the desired shape of a leaf. After that they are added with decorative effects, and different colors of glass interact with each other.

Popular Forms
Glass leaf beads are multicolored, grooved, feathered or foiled, and can be decorated with spots, dots, eyes, and stripes. Some of the popular forms are etched rectangle, leaf drop, heart, curved leaf drop, ivy, fat leaves, spear leaf, dagger leaf, maple, pointed, gold etch pointed, spikey, curved, bamboo, large grape etc. No matter which of these designs in glass leaf beads is chosen, the results will be beautiful.


Glass Pearl Beads
Glass has emerged over the last few years as one of the hottest art forms. Glass pearl beads, in particular, is now one of the favorite glass beads, worldwide. These add a subtle, stylish and effective level of beauty to any application. Extremely beautiful and highly sought after, glass pearl beads are ideal for jewelry-making as well pin beading and stitched beaded projects. These decorative beads are offered in a palette of colored, translucent, opaque, and geometric patterned designs.

Process
Glass pearl beads are captivated with their shimmering finish, thus making it the most important aspect while manufacturing these beads. The glass pearl beads are coated with desired surface finishing. Premium glass base are coated with pearls in rich jewel tone colors. The glass base gives the perfect weight for a beautiful drape and the facets add sparkle and dimension.

Popular Forms
Glass pearl beads are examined for its luster, orient, surface, shape and color. The luster of these beads is very reflective. The shape of the pearls is very important to look at. The most valuable shape for a glass pearl beads is round, but other shapes can also be found such as drops, hearts, oval twists, diamond shaped, freshwater, nuggets, flat ovals, cubes and faceted rounds. The color of a pearl is classified into major groups containing white, pink, silver, cream, gold and black.


Wedding Cake Beads
Wedding cake beads are a fascinating range of lampwork beads that look like little cakes with icing of different designs such as flowers, swirls, geometrical shapes, aventurine etc.

The craft of making these glass beads requires great skill and expertise as they are made using a lamp or a flame torch to heat the rod of glass while it is worked upon keeping in mind that the bead does not lose their shape. The designs are made using a fine glass rod and feature a vast array of shapes such as flowers, leaves or abstract patterns. This skill is an ancient art which has been passed on since generations and has now become a rich source of employment to people in the rural sectors.

Wedding cake beads are produced in almost all the countries of the world, particularly China, Czech and America, the difference being in their looks and the patterns that they display. Great care is taken to ensure that each piece has a fine finish and are small masterpieces in themselves.

The export of wedding cake beads is now an established trade and is fast catching up pace with their increasing application in spheres like:
• Jewelry making such as necklaces, earrings, bracelets, anklets etc.
• Beaded curtains and sofa throws.
• Adornments for showpieces such as wall hangings, lamp shades etc.
• Decorating accessories such as key chains, wrist bands, hand bags etc.


African Glass Beads
In the ancient period, the African bead work was done with some very valuable metals, like gold and copper. Some natural materials were also used for this bead work. But, in the recent period of time, abundance quantity of plastics and glass are used for this purpose. As a result, the ancient glorious touch of bead working has been lost from the African bead work. The intrinsic touch and original beauty can be retrieved only through the metallic beads. To abate this problem, Mintek of South Africa developed a new process. In this process, recycled glass bottles were utilized to manufacture glass beads. This manufacturing process followed the indigenous methods.

The beads, which were manufactured by using this process are known a African Glass Beads. In the new process, the used glass bottles are crushed and grown to powder form. This powder form is then added with a binder to make this adhesive and desired colorant. The beads are formed from the powder glass mixture and these beads are kept on stainless steel wires and sintered in a kiln. The temperature is provided around 800° C. after passing through such high temperature, the beads come out in both clear and opaque form. In Ghana, clay mold was used for casting glass beads into providing shape. In the mould, molten glass was poured, which had circular bead-shaped abjections. This poured molten glass sticked to make the chasms.

Process
One type of powder beads in the ancient period of Africa is known as Akoso. From when these beads were started to manufacture, is not clear. One assumption is that these beads had been started to make in between of late 18th century and early of the 19th century. The glass was grounded and from the ground powder of glass, the Akoso beads were manufactured. After grounding the glass powder, the powder was placed in a clay mold and until and unless the powder did not fused into solid glass, this powder was fired in the open air ovens.

In Africa, still today, these beads have an esteemed place in the mind of the African people. These beads are used in any specific celebrations, funerals and these beads are buried with the death under the grave. But, the matter of concern is that, today these beads are becoming reared and rearer to find in the market. Today, most of the Akoso beads are available in the market in the form of private possession. Other type of African beads are called as Bodom. These beads are powder glass having worked designs beads. These beads are made in Ghana. It is believed that these beads were started to manufacture from late 18th century. The normal size of the diameters of these beads lies in between of 10 mm to 13 mm and the strand of these beads is 43 inches long.


Curtain Glass Beads
Curtain glass beads are shaped in a mold, then flame-polished to a smooth, shiny finish with slightly rounded and faceted edges. Curtain Glass beads are extensively used in the beadwork that consists of making really intricate, patterned pieces on curtains. These beads come in brilliant colors that can vary slightly in size from bead to bead. While most curtain glass beads are handmade, now they are mass produced and made by modern equipment.

Popular Forms
Making glass beads for curtains, like any other craft, is only limited by the imagination and creativity of the maker. Available in a rainbow of uniqueness, these beads come in literally every color and color combination imaginable. One of the most daunting aspects of working with glass beads in general, is the vast and divergent array of colors, finishes, styles available.

Finishes
The various finishes in which curtain glass beads are found include ceylon (pearl) - this surface finish gives the bead a shiny, and pearlescent appearance, color - lined - these are beads that have a hole or center color that is different from the color of the bead glass itself, greasy or oily - this is a finish that gives the bead the appearance of being wet or "oil-polished". Other finishes include iridescent, metallic, opalescent, opaque, satin etc.


Glass Bead Jewelry
Glass beads have been used from making the ancient jewelry of Babylon and Egypt to today's trendier jewelry. These beads are widely used in the making of jewelery owing to it's amazingly detailed work that come with a natural fluidity. Designers manufacture jewelry glass beads, having a very specific creative concept in mind. Glass beads are produced in a very large quantity both in factories and by cottage industries to fulfill the rising demands of jewelery industry.

Techniques
Glass beadwork for making jewelery consists of really intricate designs that is only limited by the imagination and creativity of the maker. Most often, they are strung, but on occasion they are wired to a mesh backing which is called the "collage" technique of jewelry making. The collage technique is most often used for broaches or earrings. Glass beads are made more beautiful when mixed together with gemstone beads and some metal beads for accent.

Popular Forms
Glass beads are available in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and shapes that make them a great element in one's jewelry supplies. An added benefit to using glass beads in jewelry making is their low cost. Jewelery makers find a wide selection of shapes of glass beads including flowers, leaves, cathedral beads also known as "window beads", pyramids, bicones, stars, hearts and coins. The various finishes in which glass bead jewelry are found include shiny and pearlescent appearance, beads that have a hole or center color, oil-polished, iridescent, very shiny and polished looking on the surface.
 

 
 

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