Glass Beads & Latest from MrBead with Free Shipping

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Click a link below to see one of this month's new beads. To receive free shipping enter "glassbeads" (without the commas) in the box at checkout, and click "Redeem Coupon". Use NOW - as expires Thursday 19th February 09.

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Click a link below to see one of this month's new beads:

10 Large Strawberry Coral Beads
Lush Orange Coral Bead Strand - 12mm
2 Large Button Web Agate Beads - 39mm
2 Large Enchanting Amber Beads
Larimar Blue Web Agate Rondell Beads - Large
3 Huge Larimar Blue Jasper Rectangle Beads
50 Silver Bongo Bead Spacers - 925
Lucky Chinese New Year of the Ox Jade Pendant
6 Carved Flower Butterscotch Jade Beads
Chunky Web Agate Barrel Bead Bracelet
Chunky Lipstick Red Jade Rondell Beads
Slinky Long Purple Agate Barrel Beads
40 Roped Barrel Bead Spacers - 925
100 Silver Cog Bead Spacers
Huge Vivid Red Carved Cinnabar Bead - 42mm
4 Unusual Vivid Red Carved Cinnabar Buddha Beads

Glass Beads

Glass beads are very popular for necklaces, bracelets, anklets, piercing and tiaras. Glass is a cheaper alternative to crystal and more available, plus there are also many more shapes, styles and colors in glass beads. These shapes can range from simple designs for example spheres, teardrops and leaves to original and obscure designs that can be indescribable.

Glass beads can be in primary colors like red and green, as well as clear to more sparkling colors of aqua, magenta and rose. Many are multicolored with a blow effect as can occur on glass vases and beakers. Glass beads, especially when making jewelry items can be mixed with other beads on the thread. The mixture depends on their use. A formal necklace may incorporate a few crystal beads threaded with the glass beads to give an impression of expense and class. However, a more casual look may prefer to incorporate shells or seed beads instead.

Most glass beads are made out of matt glass, dichroic glass and lamp worked glass. These regular forms of glass beads are relatively cheap to purchase. Glass beads are available from specific suppliers located in shopping malls and internet shops. The beads can usually be purchased individually, however the cost of the beads tends to fall the more beads that are purchased.

Glass beads can also be found in rare forms of vintage glass. These glass beads are usually from Germany, Japan, Italy and Czechoslovakia. These vintage beads are usually hand made and therefore more expansive and are common purchases for collectors or customers requiring a rare piece of jewelry to be made. Glass beads, as with many other beads are usually purchased ready holed and are thread onto either cotton or nylon threads.

"Lampwork" means glass that is formed and decorated in a torch flame hot enough to melt the glass. The "lamp" in lampwork came from the oil lamps and blowpipes originally used in seventeenth century France and Italy. Blowing by mouth or with a bellows into an oil lamp flame with a small pipe makes just enough heat to soften and form the softer types of glass. I'm always amazed at what great work the early lampworkers were able to do with such a minimal amount of equipment.

Today lampworking is usually done with a fuel gas and oxygen torch and a few hand tools. The tricks and moves used to form and decorate the glass haven't changed much in Millenniums. Hot glassworking skills came to us from a long history starting with the Syrians around 1700 BC, the Egyptians around 1450 BC, the Chinese around 550 BC, the Romans at the turn of the first millennium, and with the French, German, Italian, Indian and Islamic folks bringing us up to the present.

Another type of glass bead has colors creatively formed inside: Millefiori, which translates from Italian to "a thousand flowers". Traditionally, each bead was handmade under the flame, using glass rods to produce a colorful mosaic effect. They were first crafted in Venice as far back as the 15th century, but it was not until the 1920s that they were produced in quantity.

First glass rods are made like candy rock with multiple colors throughout. The colors at this stage are only viewable from the cut ends. The bead maker then cuts thin slices off while the glass is still hot and press them down to form mosaic patterns.

This labor intensive process attracted a high price for the beads. However today, the millefiori technique has been applied to polymer clays which are pliable and do not need to be heated and reheated in order to fuse. This makes it much easier to produce millefiori patterns than with glass. There are hundreds of thousands of different designs of Millefiori beads, making them great to collect. top of page

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New Seed Bead Category at or

Coming very soon: New Swarovski Crystal Category with many amazing crystal beads!

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