Glass Jewelry



Jewelry is generally understood on first thought, trinkets made of metals like gold, silver and platinum, studded with gemstones, or chunky tribal ornaments made of shells, stones, bones, clay and other naturally available material. The concept of glass jewelry is something that not many of us are familiar with. And if we are, we seldom think beyond the glass bangles that have become a trademark of Indian feminity.

A discourse on glass bangles in the Indian context is no simple matter, for these are manufactured almost all over the country, and are available in innumerable colors and decorated with innumerable patterns. Glass bangles have been carved, filigreed, engraved, encrusting with gems, among other embellishments. At some point in the long history of Hinduism, this piece of glass jewelry also came to be recognized as a mark of a married Hindu woman.

Apart from bangles, glass jewelry also incorporates earrings, pendants, rings, beads that are used to make necklaces, bracelets, anklets, and other ornaments.

Process of making Glass Jewelry

Jewelry of glass is often made of cast glass pieces, fused glass, and glass beads. The glass beads themselves may be made in various ways: they could be wound, drawn, molded, lamp-worked, or made of dichroic glass.


Fused Glass Jewelry

In this type of glass jewelry, glass of different colors is cut and glued together. It is then fired in a kiln. The individual pieces melt and become one.
It is important to remember that since different glasses melt at different temperatures, it is vital to fuse only pieces that have compatible melting points. Overheating may cause a stress fracture that will eventually cause the glass to shatter. Fused glass is used to make interestingly shaped and colored jewelry, like pendants.

Wound glass beads

These are made by stretching heated ductile glass around a solid core such as metal wire. It is then shaped with tools or by pressing or rolling it on a hard surface. Thereafter, it is decorated.

Drawn Glass Beads

These units of glass jewelry are created by inserting a hollow metal tube into a ball of hot glass and pulling the glass strand out to form a glass tube. This tube is then chopped to produce individual beads. The modern version of the drawn glass beads are micro-beads or seed beads.

Molded Beads

To make molded beads, glass rods are heated till they are molten. Then they are fed into a machine that stamps the glass and pierces a hole in it. These beads are then rolled in hot sand to smoothen them. They are made in the Czech Republic.

Dichroic Glass Beads

Dichroic glass has a thin metallic film fused on it. As a result, when the glass is viewed from different angles, the metallic sheen changes colors.

Lampworked Beads

In the making of lampworked beads, a torch or flame is used to melt and shape the glass. The glass is ‘soft' glass or soda-lime glass.

The glass is heated until it is molten. It is then merged with other pieces and shaped with tools. Finally, it is annealed.

Annealing is a process by which glass is cooled at a monitored rate, such that it the stress is reduced. This prevents the glass from shattering.

There is another type of glass jewelry that has not received its due recognition. This is sea-glass jewelry . It is made of naturally smoothened and polished pieces of glass that are washed onto shores. Sea-glass is found in numerous shades, and makes very attractive jewelry.

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