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History of Lampwork Beading
Choosing Lampwork Beads
How are Lampwork Beads actually Make?
How to Sell Beads Online
Special $8 Offer
Citrine: Mellow Yellow
"Citrine" comes from the French word for lemon, and is any quartz crystal or cluster that's yellow to orange. The darker, orange colors were traditionally the best, but today people prefer bright lemony shades to mix with pastel colors. Citrine with man-made color tends to have more of an orange or reddish caste. Most natural citrine starts life as amethyst until heated in a molten state to change.
Sunny and affordable, citrine brightens all jewelry, blending especially well with the yellow gleam of polished gold. The yellow color is a natural reviver, and citrine focuses the mind bringing a feeling of self-esteem. In medication it helps re-establish the link between your conscious and subconscious minds. If you are feeling down, try holding citrine to lift your spirit. It's also very good at healing the body and helping people communicate. Citrine has warm energy, promotes optimism, and attracts abundance.
Citrine is one of the few stones that removes negative energy and never requires cleansing. In ancient times it was carried as a protection against snake venom and evil thoughts. Known as a "merchants' stone", placed in the cash register to not only acquire wealth but to maintain it as well. Citrine is the birthstone for November, and its corresponding signs are Gemini, Aries, Libra, and Leo.
Although the darker, orange colors of citrine, sometimes called Madeira citrine after the color of the wine, has generally been the most valued color, in modern times, many people prefer the bright lemony shades which mix better with pastel colors. Most citrine comes from Brazil.
Sometimes you will hear citrine referred to as topaz quartz, which is incorrect. This name was used in the past in reference to the color, which is sometimes similar to the color of topaz. Since topaz is a separate mineral, this type of name can be confusing. However, citrine is considered an alternative to topaz as the birthstone for November. As long as citrine is protected from prolonged exposure to light or heat, it will last for years.
The Egyptians said that topaz was colored with the golden glow of the sun god Ra. This made topaz a very powerful amulet that protected the faithful against harm. The Romans associated topaz with Jupiter, who also is the god of the sun. Topaz sometimes has the amber gold of fine cognac or the blush of a peach and all the beautiful warm browns and oranges. Some rare and exceptional topaz can be pink to sherry red.
Wear topaz only if you wish to be clear-sighted: legend has it that it dispels all enchantment and helps to improve eyesight as well! The ancient Greeks believed that it had the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible in times of emergency. Topaz was also said to change color in the presence of poisoned food or drink. Its mystical curative powers waxed and waned with the phases of the moon: it was said to cure insomnia, asthma, and hemorrhages.
Brown, yellow, orange, sherry, red and pink topaz is found in Brazil and Sri Lanka. Pink topaz is found in Pakistan and Russia. Today we also have blue topaz, which has a pale to medium blue color created by irradiation. Pale topaz which is enhanced to become blue is found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and China. In early 1998, a new type of enhanced topaz made its appearance, the surface-enhanced topaz, with colours described as blue to greenish-blue or emerald green. Topaz is a very hard gemstone but it can be split with a single blow, a trait it shares with diamond. As a result it should be protected from hard knocks.
History of Lampwork Beading
The "lamp" in lampwork came from the oil lamps and blowpipes used in seventeenth century France and Italy. Blowing by mouth or bellows into an oil lamp flame with a small pipe makes just enough heat to soften and form this type of glass. It's amazing the great work the early lampworkers were able to do with so little equipment. Hot glassworking skills originated from the Syrians around 1700 BC, the Egyptians 1450 BC, the Chinese around 550 BC, the Romans at the turn of the first millennium. Today lampworkers usually use an oxygen torch, but the technique to form and decorate the glass hasn't changed much for thousands of years.
Choosing Lampwork Beads
As usual with handcrafted items, the quality is equal to the expertise of its maker. Choose beaded jewelry in a style you like, but remember that style isn't the only thing you must consider when buying handcrafted glass beads. Air bubbles should not normally be visible in the bead & although some beadmakers use these as design elements, but they are normally round or positioned in specific areas. The bead hole should be free of nicks or burrs. Jagged edges around the hole produce a wobbly bead that can eventually cut through beading wire. Check that the shapes of beads. They're handcrafted, so expect some variations, that's part of their charm, but the overall look should be attractive.
How Are Lampwork Beads Actually Made?
Lampworkers use a torch to melt the tips of glass rods, and then wind the molten glass around a mandrel, a narrow stainless steel rod. Later, when the bead is removed, the space occupied by the mandrel becomes the hole used to string the bead. Glass cools from the outside in and the outer layers shrink as they cool. Bringing a bead out of the flame and leaving it in the open air allows the outside of the bead to cool rapidly around its molten interior. However, a stress point develops between the cool shrinking glass and the hot center, which can cause a bead to crack immediately or at a later time. To prevent cracks, the beads are soaked in a kiln to make sure that all glass within them is the same temperature. After soaking the artist reduces the kiln's heat over several hours to bring the beads to room temperature.
How to Sell Beads Online
Selling beads online is easy. Much easier than selling from a bricks & mortar shop or a trade show. Also, because beads are small and relatively light, they are an ideal product to trade online. You can sell them by the strand, in batches of loose beads, or strung together as necklaces or bracelets. It all depends on your supply, if you can get a lot, then strand or loose will sell faster online. Here are my top ten tips selling beads online:
1. Make sure your heading is catchy and descriptive. The heading is the first thing that catches the eye of a potential buyer when selling on auctions. Unless the heading is good a buyer won't even get as far as looking at your auction. Especially with so much competition these days. Go through eBay and note good selling titles for similar beads you want to sell.
2. Make a good photo. The main thing an online buyer has to go is the photograph & good pictures sell! Get in close, crop hard, enhance the contrast, and reduce to about 400 pixels wide. Although many have broadband these days, too large an image will put off buyers with a dial-up connection. If your camera won't focus close enough to fill the frame with your beads, then shoot from further away and crop with an image editing program. One of the fastest and easiest to use is ACDSee - not as sophisticated as Photoshop, but much cheaper and simpler to use. To down load for under $50 go to http://www.acdsystems.com/
3. Get the price right. If you are selling on auctions, then many other sellers force you to set your minimum bid at a competitive price. With too high a price you won't get any bids. Check successful sales of similar beads to give you a guide.
4. Work out your best strategy selling on eBay. This will depend on what site you're selling on. In the US eBay increased fees make a preference to sell on 7-day auctions. Where on their UK site I favor 10-day listings because they cover two weekends (when most buyers are online), and don't cost any more. eBay gallery pictures can be expensive if you have a lot of listings, but I think the increased exposure more than covers it.
5. Good contact between you and the buyer is important. Answer e-mails fast (within 24-hours most of the time), and send out prompt letters to winners, non-payers, and problem customers. Make as much clear on the actual action as you can to save unnecessary letters. Especially shipping prices and payment options.
6. Offer Paypal as a payment option. Paypal is simple once set up, fast, and economical. It's also the best way for buyers to pay internationally. And make sure you do offer sales to international buyers & there's no disadvantage with a wider catchment.
7. Don't just rely on eBay auctions. One tip worth more than your computer system is to establish an eBay store & easy and cheap to do. Then just put your best sellers on auction and everything in the store, relying on links from the auctions to bring sales to your store. Works a treat and saves you a packet in eBay bills. And the more stores you have, the more you will sell. If you're selling a lot, consider a MarketWorks store too. This is linked to your auction sales and encourages extra add-on purchases outside of eBay. And for high-volume sellers, Miva offer the best online store software & get the store for free by signing a hosting contract with someone like NetNation at http://www.netnation.com. Because of less competition you should also see at a higher price in your store.
8. Don't loose out on postage & packing! It's not a rip off to charge buyers more postage & packing than the mail costs you. Consider all the time it takes to sort and mail orders, apart from purchasing materials and the actual packing. If it's a business, someone has to pay for this time. I bet your bank charges you more for a simple letter than most sellers charge to mail a string of beads. Also, eBay doesn't take a commission from your shipping charges.
9. Don't try to do everything yourself. Sign-up to an auction management system like MarketWorks at http://www.marketworks.com/ (the best) or Andale at http://www.andale.com/. To see a comparison of 50 of these auction tools go to http://allauctiontools.com/XcDirViewInCat.asp~ID~4. Any fees incurred will be more than covered by the increased sales you have more time to make. Many of these management systems list automatically, send personalized winner letters, combine shipping on multiple wins and automate feedback.
10. Find a good bead supplier like MrBead at http://www.mrbead.com & click the wholesale link to see what you can save. Buying in bulk will allow you a larger mark-up on sales. Always buy more than you need because you don't want to loose future sales if you can't get any more the same. It's a lot of work photographing and listing new items, rather than relisting older beads. However, to keep sales rolling, you do need to keep adding fresh stock to your inventory too.
Next month will be about Christmas beads, Christmas presents, and stone properties.
Sample our beads with $8 off anything in our MrBead bead store, just key in "october" at the checkout (without the inverted commas) and click "Redeem Coupon". Offer valid until the end of October only - so act now! Only for use in our store at the checkout and not valid with any other offers.
To see all our citrine beads for sale click http://www.mrbead.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=M&Category_Code=C2
To see all or lampwork beads for sale click http://www.mrbead.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=M&Category_Code=la
To go to our MrBead store click http://www.mrbead.com
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