Author Topic: The History of Lampworking Glass Beads  (Read 770 times)


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The History of Lampworking Glass Beads
| August 29, 2016, 04:55:44 PM
By: Stephanie White

One of the most unusual and exquisite types of jewelry is lampwork beads, which are made from glass. If you've wondered about the process of making lampwork jewelry, and how the ancient art of lampworking began, here’s what’s involved and its history.

How Lampbeads Are Made

Basically, the process involves melting rods of colorful glass on a certain type of torch. After the melted glass is wound around either a copper wire or metal rod to form a bead.

Skilled bead artists know the level of heat needed for glass to flow, besides the amount of heat that’s required for applying to beads. These professionals also understand how various glass colors interact with one another, as well as when it’s time to add the decorative, attractive

History of Lampworking

Lampworking dated back to ancient times and was originally done in the 1st century B.C. in ancient Syria. It later spread to Asia and Africa. This type of glass work became popular in Murano, Italy in the 14th century, and today it remains a trendy type of glass work in this Italian city, known for its beautiful lampwork jewelry.

Lampworking became popular in France in the 19th century. The German glass maker, Otto Schott, developed what’s known as Borosilicate in the latter half of the 19th century. In 1915, Borosilicate became known as the familiar household trademark, Pyrex.

However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the process of making glass using metal fuming was developed, by Bob Snodgrass. This is the process in which metal is heated so that metal can be formed into stunning colors that have a metallic shine.

At the beginning of the 21st century, Glass Alchemy was founded by Henry Grimmett. Trautman Art Glass began a couple of years later. The popularity of lamp working has continued to skyrocket for the past two decades.


- Besides beads made for jewelry, there are also lampwork beads used for art exhibits, such as in creating sculptures.
- The ability of the glass to stretch and be pulled into just about any design or shape is why so many creative people are attracted to working in this bead craft.

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Re: The History of Lampworking Glass Beads
Reply #1 | August 31, 2016, 04:39:45 PM
The History of Glassmaking in America: Lampwork Beads

The lampwork technique consists of transforming molten glass into various artworks, including beads that are very popular in handmade jewelry. Lampwork was first done by the use of alcohol lamps in which the flame would be increased in temperature using bellows. This craft has been widely practiced since the 14th century in Murano, Italy, but it wasn't brought to the United States until much more recently.

Lampworking was brought to the United States a few decades ago when artists who visited Italy became interested in the Murano glass beads they discovered. These artists each returned to America and started experimenting on their own with glass to create beads. The torches they used were modified, as there was pretty much no lampwork tools available to them, and they chose American stain glass from development during the turn of the century to use. They developed their own lampwork bead making techniques as they experimented.

The techniques grew as these artists shared their knowledge among each other, then spread this information to anyone who showed interest. Now, lampworking techniques have spread greatly throughout the United States with lampwork being taught in classes at art studios and even colleges throughout the nation.

Lampwork torching is quite difficult to master, however, as you first must have an understanding of glass chemistry. The colors of glass are created by mixing different chemicals, and it takes years of experience to fully understand just how glass interacts chemically when held to a flame. The knowledge needed to master lampwork bead making is part of what makes this craft so intriguing.

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