How are lampwork beads made?

Lampwork Beads.

Lampwork is a method of glass work which is most often associated with the Venetian island of Murano. In fact this art dates back to ancient times.

Rods of glass are heated in an open flame until molten, The glass is then wound onto a specially prepared steel mandrel to form the base bead. Design is added in additional layers of glass  and other elements such as pure silver or gold foil and enamels may also be added. Once a bead is complete it is taken from the flame to a a preheated kiln. The beads are held at a constant temperature for some time in order to remove the stress that has been caused by manipulating the glass. They are then cooled gradually to room temperature.

My beads are created from 'soft' or soda glass. Most of the glass I use comes from Murano in Italy but I oftern mix this with some German and American glass in order to achieve a greater range of colour and effects.

Each of my beads is individually handmade and so there will be variation in design from bead to bead. Some of my beads, for example the hearts,  are shaped with the help of a brass mold and so size and shape will be consistent.

Glass beads are very durable. The kiln annealling ensures that my beads are as strong as possible. However damage may, particularly to raised designs. If any of the beads in your jewellery do suffer damage please let me know. I will usually be able to make a replacement and repair your jewellery for a small charge.