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Glass Beads
There is nothing like the color, coolness, and texture of beautiful translucent glass beads as they hang from one's neck or brush against one's skin. A marvel of both ancient and modern culture, torch formed glass and glass molded beads have a long history. Fantastic glass beads exist today just as they did in past ages; antique and vintage beads are highly collectible and prized. While some beads are created with rustic and primitive textures, others are miniature works of art perfected by highly skilled glass workers and painstakingly fashioned by hand. The lampwork beads available today are created using a small torch and an assortment colored glass rods by experienced craftspersons. Intricate color patterns, shapes and surfaces, are formed around a mandrel rod which serves as the bead hole when the item is completed. Careful working of the molten glass is necessary to make the delicate flowers, swirls, dots and veining patterns that are so spectacular in lampwork glass beads.

Lampworked glass has been created since about the fifth century BC but became popularized and perfected in Murano, Italy, during the 14th century. While oil-fueled torches were once used in bead production, today's artisans mainly use propane, butane, and natural gas to form their treasures. While kilns and lathes are indispensable in bead making, many other tools are also important in the glass workshop. New discoveries of ancient glass occur periodically, and recently an ancient glass-making workshop dating from the 1st century AD, was uncovered by a road crew near Naples, Italy, while they were working on road repairs. The lovely vases and jugs unearthed there, are a testament to glass working as a highly developed craft even centuries ago.

Happily, a variety of colors, patterns, and textures abound in this extra special category of glass, and House of Gems offers wholesale glass beads to suit every project. Handmade glass beads exist in faceted gem-like incarnations with fantastic color combinations of blues and purples, yellows and greens, oranges and reds – really the color combinations are endless. Likewise, sophisticated offerings of swirling black and white patterns lend themselves well to very modern jewelery styles. Unique in the lampwork bead realm, are wonderfully textured beads wrapped in eye-catching swirls of metallic gold and copper. As a bonus, a simple chain or an uninspired collection of plain beads can be easily dressed up with the addition of a handful of these lovely creations.

Another fun jewelry component are the glass pendants available in various shapes and sizes. Ranging from hearts and drops to discs and crosses, they provide a very simple way to augment a bead work necklace, or artfully jazz up a simple garment when the pendants are hung from colorful cord. Also popular today are the beautifully reflective faceted glass beads available in colors and cuts that rival their gemstone cousins. Hues not found in natural stones provide a delightful play of color in the fantastic array of new faceted glass styles. While a designer or crafts-person may have difficulty finding brilliant blues, reds, greens and yellows in the gemstone bead offerings, glass manufacturers provide these colors in combinations to suit any taste, and at a more reasonable cost than fine gemstones.

So feel free to browse through the House of Gems catalog today and picture how unique lampwork glass beads can be the defining element in your next great jewelry project!

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