are lampwork beads?
beads are created by a lampwork professional/artist by melting glass
with a torch, shaping it, and decorating the subsequent beads with
additional glass (different colors) and other compatible items like
silver, gold, stones, enamel, etc. When the beads leave the torch,
they are immediately annealed in a kiln for durability and then cooled
at a controlled rate. If this final part of the process is not done
properly, the beads may crack and break. That is why quality control
is so important in bead making, and I take that seriously with every
bead I create.
are well-crafted lampwork beads more expensive than other types of beads
lampwork beads have to be created individually using quality
materials. Lampwork equipment can be expensive to purchase and
maintain. While some beads can be made in a few minute, the finely
decorated beads can take hours to create. This all adds up to a more
expensive bead, yet one that, if properly made and cared for, will
last for many many years. Quality glass will keep its vibrant color
for hundreds of years.
I use high
quality glass from Italy and Germany...much of it is Venetian glass
which is renown for its beautiful colors.
Not all lampwork
beads are created equally!
The price of
lampwork beads can differ because of the amount of work involved, the
skill and notoriety of the artist, the cost of materials, or because
some beads are made in a factory environment...mass produced where
labor is cheap and quality control may not be at the same standard as
that of many individual artists. I guess the phrase, "you get
what you pay for," may apply here. There are talented lampwork
artists in many countries and there are also manufacturers that try to
simulate a quality lampwork bead. It takes knowledge and experience to
know and appreciate the difference.
are lampwork beads so prized and collected?
I have heard the
phrase, "I value my lampwork beads more that gold." This is true for
many jewelry enthusiasts who have discovered the richness of a
well-made lampwork bead or a collection of beads. The individuality
and artistic enrichment of each bead makes it something very special,
like a miniature masterpiece. The owner knows that it is unique and
beautiful. It feels good to the touch and to the eye.