I’ve got a little secret ……

I adore jewellery.

Whether a fabulous vintage brooch, a gold diamond ring or a new artisan charm bracelet, if it’s well made and has that sparkle of thought and creation you can guarantee it’ll give me goose pimples

But I have a naughty little secret to share with you. I know I’m an all round jewellery enthusiast, but………..I have a favourite type of jewellery.

I can’t help it. I’m in love, and it’s my first love at that. Oh, other jewellery comes and goes. I’ll get a desire for a certain genre of period. I’ll go crazy for a coloured gemstone, a well carved cameo or antique Scottish agate. But time and again, I’ll go back to my first little crush.


The glass bead.

Of all the jewellery in the world that I come across, the humble glass bead continues to be my firm favourite.

Why?

Because glass beads can be made into some of the most creative, expressive, accessible and beautiful jewellery. The sheer variety of beads is breathtaking. From the rainbow lustre’s of aurora borealis crystals, shimmering carnival glass, glowing Uranium glass and bold millefiori beads, to the beautiful creations of Murano, and hand made artisan lampwork beads which have been made to your own specifications, glass beads design and manufacture has almost infinite possibilities.

Vintage 1960s bridal wedding glass crystal ab bead necklace aurora borealis jewelry

Shimmering vintage circa 60s crystal glass aurora borealis beads

 

Vintage milk glass molded pressed bead white and swaovski crystal necklace

Molded white opaque glass interspaced with Swarovski™ beads, which are a type of leaded glass (aka crystal)

 

Vintage murano venetian speckled glass bead necklace jewelry

Vintage Venetian speckled glass, also known as ‘Scottish agate glass’.

vintage murano venetian lampwork wedding cake glass bead brooch jewelry

Vintage Murano Italian wedding glass beads, so called due to the icing style decoration.

Vintage 1920s 30s art deco Czechoslovakian glass foil green glass bead necklace jewelry bohemian

Circa 1920s Art Deco glass beads, with a gorgeous metallic foil inner sheen. Even though these beads are nearly 100 years old, they have lost none of their iridescent shimmer and glow.

Vintage art deco 1920s 1930s bohemian Czechoslovakian blue crystal glass faceted bead rolled gold links necklace jewelry

Circa 1920s Art Deco blue necklace, with made with Czechoslovakian faceted glass beads.

Vintage 1950s banded agate glass bead necklace jewelry brown cream

For centuries glass has been used in jewellery to imitate gemstones. This circa 1950s necklace uses glass which has been specifically created to mimic banded agate gemstones

vintage orange white swirl end of day glass bead flapper necklace jewelry

Vintage End Of Day glass bead necklace. This type of glass is so called due to glass artisans using the bits of glass left ‘at the end of the working day’ to create objects d’art and jewellery.

French jet black glass pendant facated crystal statement Gothic jewelry necklace

Glass jewellery is still hugely desirable, as shown in this modern French Jet (aka black glass) bead crystal pendant necklace

Lampwork flower glass bead charm bracelet crystal red jewelry

This adorable bracelet is detailed with lampwork glass bead decorated with flowers.

vintage art deco 1920s 1930s pink crystal swirl french jet black glass bead necklace jewelry

Beautiful art deco pink swirl and French Jet necklace. Glass bead jewellery was hugely popular in the 1920s and 30s, and many examples survive in lovely condition today.

Vintage 1950s 2 row carnival glass peacock petrol glass crystal facated nekclace jewelry

Vintage 1950s faceted carnival glass bead necklace.

Vintage 1950s faceted carnival glass bead necklace.

goldstone aventurine glass bead gold sparkle pendant collar necklace jewelry

Contemporary goldstone (aka aventurine glass) beads. Though goldstone looks like a modern technique, it actually dates back hundreds of years to the creative master glass makers of Italy.

vintage art deco 1920s 1930s uranium glass UV glow yellow bead necklace jewelry Czechoslovakina Bohemian

Hold a UV torch to old glass beads and some of them will glow in the dark. This is because they contain tiny traces of real uranium, which was used to intensify coloured glass. The above yellow necklace is made from uranium glass, and below is the same necklace under UV light.

A Uranium glass bead necklace under UV light.

A Uranium glass bead necklace under UV light.

A Uranium glass bead necklace under UV light.

Nothing feels the same as wearing a glass bead necklace. I can’t put my finger on it – glass just feels wonderful when worn…..almost like you can sense the quality and workmanship without even having to look at it – you just feel it.

So there you have it – I love glass beads. And I’ll share with you one final secret; jewellery should always be about what you like. Not what society says you should aspire to own, or some jeweller (or sales-person) says is a good investment.

Jewelry is about you, and that is what makes it truly special.

Glass beads article on the Jewellery Muse blog

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