Lampworking is a type of glasswork. One of the primary uses for lampworking is to make beads, although in France it is also used to make paperweights. Lampworking uses a gas fueled torch to melt rods and tubes of clear and colored glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements.
When making beads, the lampworker slowly introduces a glass rod into the flame of the torch. The glass is heated until molten and then wound and shaped around a specially-coated steel mandrel, forming the base bead. The glass bead can then be embellished or decorated using a variety of techniques and materials. All parts of the bead must be kept at similar temperatures until the bead is complete. Once finished the piece must be annealed in an oven to prevent cracking or shattering.
As a jewellery designer I love the chance to design using hand crafted lampwork beads. I'm lucky enough that two of my local beading buddies both make gorgeous beads. The pendant shown above, now sold, was made using a gorgeous bead from Sally of Happily Ever Artist. The necklace just below, my Charoite and Lampwork Gold Wired Necklace, was made using some lovely beads made by Debbie of Debbie Does Beads. Please check out both their sites.
Of course, there are many sources of great lampwork beads out there, check below at the lovely beads I have recently purchased and have a look at the stores I got them from.