~*~ White Raven Designs ~*~
~Specializing in quality hand crafted jewels ~
I love to create jewellery almost exclusively from czech glass beads and wanted to share what I have learned about these beautiful beads.
Why Czech Glass beads?
Czechoslovakia and it’s surrounding areas have been renown for producing high quality glass for centuries, using time honored techniques and traditions, they have a world wide reputation that remains strong today.
In my experience as a bead collector and jewellery designer, I have personally found the consistent high quality of these beads to far surpass any other Beads on the market today.
With an almost infinite variety of shapes and colours to share with you, there is a bead for everyone’s taste and to inspire your creativity if you are a fellow designer.
A brief history of beads.
Beads have been discovered world wide in archeological sites dating from Neanderthal
times as simple bone and teeth fragments strung on sinew, to the glittering artifacts found in the Egyptian tombs. Beads have been worn to express wealth and status, as amulets to give hunters strength, as protection from evil spirits, the custom of “evil eye” beads pinned to a baby’s clothing is still in practice today. Beads have religious significance as rosary beads – The word “Bead” originates
from the Anglo-Saxon word "Biddin" meaning to pray or a prayer. Beads have been used as a form of
currency, even used to buy slaves and land!
Czech Glass bead history
Glass has been produced in Europe for many hundreds of years in an area known as
Bohemia, with it’s fine sands and dense woodlands – to fuel the fires needed to
create glass and was called “Bohemian Glass” Glass production was controlled in medieval times by feudal war lords, ensuring that it was only available to royalty and the elite classes. The oldest surviving Glass works is dated from 1400 AD and is still in production today. By the early 20th century Czechoslovakia gained the status of the worlds most prolific bead maker, influenced by the arts and crafts movement – Art Nouveau and Tiffany styles in particular and created many miniature works of
art, some of which are now been reproduced with the original vintage moulds,
recovered from when the last world war nearly destroyed the industry, the factories and resources been confiscated for more “important” uses.....
How Glass beads are made.
Glass, in it’s very basic form is silica sand, combined with potash and other chemicals to produce different colours, Blues are produced using cobalt oxide (co2o3) and Reds – Purples using gold chloride (AuCl) just to name a couple!
The materials are then subjected to very high temperatures to form a solid mass. Re-heated, the liquid glass is then drawn out into hollow rods of hundreds of feet long, and in the case of seed beads, simply sliced into tiny sections. Other types of beads are created when the near molten glass is placed
in to moulds and compressed to form different shapes, hence the common term of “pressed glass beads" They are then placed in tumbling bins to remove any seam lines, to add different surface finishes
such as a matte or frosted effect. Some beads then have different finishes applied, like AB (Aurora Borealis) or a metallic wash to pick out tiny details before returning to the heat to permanently fuse the effect to the glass bead.
Others are then facetted or enhanced in other ways before finally been made
available for us to enjoy.
I hope you have enjoyed learning more about the beads I use in my jewellery and will view your glass jewels with a new appreciation!
And finally hugs to all my fantastic eBay Beadie Buddies, scattered across this wonderful
Cheers! Nita, White raven designs
© 2004 White Raven Designs.