Following "A" is for Agate by Shazzabeth a few weeks back, I bring you...
Is for Borosilicate Glass
|Z-Beads by Sarah Moran |
Amazing Lampwork, Here is Sarah's Flickr Feed
Borosilicate glass (Boro) is a unique and specialized variety of glass. Its composition is different from the "soft" glass that is normally used for some beads, paperweights, figurines, art glass bowls, ornaments, etc. It will stand up to a lot of wear and tear without having to treat it as carefully as soft glass jewelry.
|Aqua, Blue, Green and Teal Boro Heart Necklace - SAStudio|
Because of its strength, Boro has been used for everything from stovetop cookware to nuclear waste containment. The reason is a high boric oxide content, (at least 5%). This makes the glass resistant to extreme temperatures, and improves its resistance to chemical corrosion. In 1915, a famous line of borosilicate kitchen products that we all now know and love, was released under the Pyrex label.
|Boro Lampwork and Copper Earrings - DesignsbyCher|
|Orchid Boro Glass Earrings- TheSilverBear|
Today, soda-lime (silica) glass is the glass of choice for kitchenware, due to the fact that it is generally cheaper to produce than borosilicate glass. It is the most prevalent type of glass. Soda-lime glass is prepared by melting the raw materials, such as soda, lime, silica, and alumina in a glass furnace or kiln at temperatures up to 1675°C.
|Saddle Red Lampwork Necklace - StoutDG2|
Glass workers also love the amazing color palette available with borosilicate glass. Actually, there are fewer colors available to work with but each one is an organic, living color that can be manipulated and shaded with careful torch work and annealing. The craziest mistakes can be lovely The finished piece appears much more dynamic and vibrant. Also, silver and gold metals may be used to color the glass in unique and amazing ways.
(My favorites!) Fairy Flowers by Laurie Whitney of Mermaid Glass
|Lampwork Bracelet - Your Daily Jewels|
|Lampwork and Czech Glass Bracelet - Your Daily Jewels|
Borosilicate glass is considered more forgiving to work with, as its lower COE (coefficient of thermal expansion) makes it less apt to crack during flame-working than soda-lime glass. But it does have a narrower working temperature range, (and much higher) than soda-lime glass.
|Red Lampwork Glass Earrings - WillowCreekJewelryStudio|
It has fewer available colors, thus, the ability to work with the available colors is a skill that must be honed. At one time, soft (soda lime and lead) and hard (borosilicate) glasses had distinctly different looking palettes, but recent developments have diminished the distinctions between them. Boro is also considerably more expensive than soft glass. Boro glass is as lovely as many semi precious gemstones, but it will not necessarily be less expensive!
|Z-Beads by Sarah Moran |
Incredible Boro Beads by Sarah, Read her BLOG here.
So, our beloved “Lampies” can be either Boro or not. These spectacular beauties were made by my friend Gillian Soskin of Gillian Beads on Etsy. Gillian also shares photos of her (very neat) glass shop with us.
|Gillian's Facebook Page|
|Gillian Soskin at Work (or at play!)|
The art of glass bead making is done by winding molten glass (hard or soft) from a rod or a strip, around a steel rod called a mandrel. The molten glass is wound around the mandrel until the desired size and bead style are achieved.
Once in a molten state, from small to massive scale, lampworkers form the glass by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements. Terms used are flameworking or torchworking, by a hot glass artist or flameworker.
Once a bead is formed and the artist is finished with the actual creation process there are several more steps involved before the bead is ready to be used in fine jewelry. The bead is then placed in a kiln to start the annealing process.
|Blue Hawaii Handmade Lampwork Glass beads - PaulBead|
When a bead is taken out of the kiln it is removed from the mandrel, the holes are cleaned and filed with a Dremel diamond file or similar tool.
Lampwork and Boro beads are one of a kind pieces of wearable art. The Glass Artist who created your beads actually sat down, chose colors from a palate and created the beautiful designs that came from their soul. This is a long rewarding process that deserves a great deal of respect for the “natural” ability that comes from that artist.
Pair this with your talented jewelry artisan and you are sure to own an heirloom quality, uniquely beautiful jewelry piece for years to come.
The best source of all...
Thanks for reading,
|Lampwork Bracelet of Dusty Desert Colors - Your Daily Jewels|