Lampwork Glass Beads
Lampworking is the manipulation of glass rods in an oxygen enriched flame.
The first wound glass beads were probably made in Egypt around 1350BC using hand powered bellows and an oil fuelled flame. However a modern beadmaker uses a torch that burns a mixture of propane gas and compressed oxygen.
A glass rod is heated to a workable temperature then wound around a specially prepared mandrel (metal rod). Once the initial layer of glass is wound around the mandrel, further layers of different coloured glass may be added, using a combination of heat, gravity and skill to shape the bead. The mandrel makes the hole in the lampworked bead.
When completed, the beads are annealed in a kiln to reduce the stress on the glass and make the bead strong and stable.