Czech Glass Beads The jewelry material

August 17th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

Czech pressed glass beads are made in the Czech Republic the traditional way, by pressing hot glass into a heated mold. The 19th century was a period of industrial innovation, and new machines that could produce a wide variety of beads were developed.

This meant that thousands of identical beads could be turned out quickly and inexpensively, but the process of making the molds was difficult. Cottage crafters were given several molds for each bead press, and turned out beads to order for their local factory.The Czechs became the masters of pressed glass. Most of this work is still done in rural areas with small family-operated factories. Glass finishes are added in the final step, many of the luster coatings are made with heated metals including gold.

Thick rods of glass are heated to molten and fed into a machine that stamps the glass, including a needle that pierces a hole. The beads again are rolled in hot sand to remove flashing and soften seam lines. By making canes (the glass rods fed into the machine) striped or otherwise patterned, the resulting beads can be more elaborately colored than seed beads.

Czech Glass Beads are greatly valued because of the high quality and tremendous variety of colors, sizes, shapes, and finishes. The term table-cut or window-cut refers to a molded bead shape, usually with a matte finish or luster coating applied that has then had slices or facets cut off and polished to reveal the glass beneath.

Flat pear pendant bead with hole running through thin end at top

Matte glass is achieved by dipping the bead into an acid etching solution. The many shapes available are often reproductions of vintage glass molds from the 1920s to the 1950s. Some shapes have been created more recently such as cats, butterflies, fish and turtles.

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