The Lampwork Market carries only unique handmade lampwork beads created by individual artists. There is a reason why we only want handmade beads in this market, because there is something very special about glass beads created by artists. These beads have something special that simply cannot be found in mass-produced beads.
Handmade lampwork beads are a special kind of unique creation. When an artist sits at their torch and the fire meets the glass, you end up with art. Each and every bead created by an artist is a tiny little masterpiece of colors, techniques, and styles. If you look closely at beaded jewelry created with lampwork beads, you will see the beads match, but they are never identical. Each bead is a miniature sculpture of glass art.
Each artist will spend hours at their torch to create unique handmade lampwork beads. This is what makes lampwork beads so unique and lampwork bead jewelry equally original. You'll never meet anyone wearing an identical piece, which makes lampwork jewelry a perfect gift for someone who appreciates art.
Larger lampwork beads (focal beads) are often used as a stunning centerpiece in necklaces or bracelets. Lampwork focal beads often make a bold statement. You can wire wrap these gorgeous beads or attach them to a headpin and bail. Working with high heat and motel glass is tricky and exacting, but the process is fascinating to watch. Each bead is constructed on a stainless steel rod called a mandrel. The artist will carefully wrap the glass onto the mandrel to create each unique bead.
Sometimes the artist will take extra steps to melt special thin rods combination of transparent or solid colored glass to use in their bead creation. Artists may also apply fine silver wire or foil to create a shimmering bead. Some lampwork artists will fuse thin layers of gold or silver to the bead to create a unique surface. They may also use dichroic glass to create especially shimmering beads. Oftentimes the glass will react with each other or in the flame to create special colors. Some of the most fabulous beads resulted from happy "accidents".
Once the artist has created the perfect bead, they will keep it warm in the flame and fire polish the bead. All this time spent on a single bead could be ruined if the bead cracks. So artists use a slow process called "annealing" to make sure each layer of glass cools at an even rate. This process helps protect the bead from cracks and improves the strength and durability. This crucial step is often skipped in many imported mass produced lampwork beads. If a bead is not annealed, the integrity can be compromised, and the beads often crack.
All this is why lampwork glass beads are so highly prized, both for their beauty and their individuality. This is why you will only find handmade lampwork beads in the Lampwork Market.