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Glass Jewelry Beads

Glass jewelry is a kind of jewelry that is used for thousands of years to decorate necks, fingers, ears and clothes of ladies and gentlemen all over the world. They are adorning ladies of Masai in Africa, of Dayak in Borneo or of Hopi in the New World. Like drops of light, colorful beads are woven, strung, melted or embedded to form thousands of shapes and forms, often kept in the same family or tribe for hundreds of years.

The beginning of beads as glass jewelry started with a bag of sand. By using ordinary silica sand, along with some additional ingredients and a lot of fire, human being were able to transform them into such a magical medium as glass with their ingenuity. It is also fascinating to see the result of that same ingenuity, imagination and vision that transform glass into a number of different forms as well as using techniques invented through history. Most of the glass jewelry making techniques were invented on a small island of Murano, near Venice in Italy. Once invented, the techniques remained more or less the same through centuries.

There are several major types of beads that are used all over the world to make glass jewelry.

Seed beads are beads that are made from hollow thin glass tubes and are cut very fine and then refired to smooth the edges and add color. Seed beads have been used for centuries all over the world, and in many different parts of the world they became a part of native culture and art expression. When making intricate glass jewelry and festive clothes, especially wedding gowns, these kind of beads are often used. Contemporary artists and artisans are also using seed beads to create jewelry which is limited in shape and form only by the artists' imagination. However, in the past, bead jewelry making in Murano was done by women, while all other aspects of Murano glass making were almost exclusively the domain of men.
Invented in Murano in the 14th century, Rosetta beads were made similarly to seed beads, from hollow glass canes. There are six layers of glass of distinctive color canes: white, blue, white, brick red, white and blue again. Once cut, the canes were made into beads with patterns of 5 concentric circles with twelve points.

Millefiori beads are those made by melting together canes of different colors, which were cut once cold to produce intricate patterns. They are one of the most famous products of Murano glass. Using in many spectacular ways, they are made to be extremely beautiful glass jewelry and works of art.

As for the techniques of making glass jewelry beads, the lampwork one, allowes glass makers to heat glass with an oil lamp and shape it with different tools while hot, which offers them a whole new field of creativity. They could melt after produced canes. Then it comes to the step of blowing the glass which creates very intricate shapes. Finally they were cut into beads. This method is called Filigrana, and is now copied all over the world.

Some spectacular, but not always wearable, glass jewelry are produced by some contemporary artists by using ancient Murano glass technique. As t is hard to wear jewelry made of fragile large sky blue blown beads on the neck, such as those made by well-known glass artist Giorgio Vigna.

Glass jewelry beads is inexpensive without looking cheap and there are so many different styles to choose from. This jewelry fits almost anyone's taste and style while still being affordable. Therefore, having a few pieces in the wardrobe will never be a regretful choice.

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