Not surprisingly, glass has been surrounded with an air of mysticism since it was invented thousands of years ago. There is something magical, even supernatural, about the transparent material that starts out soft and malleable at high temperatures and becomes harder than metal as the temperature falls. And there is something undeniably enigmatic about the finished glass product that has a transparency that is almost fluid.
Introduced in 2001, the glass beads became a colourful and mesmerizing addition to the Trollbeads collection. Traditionally glass beads used in jewellery stood alone. Therefore, combining the vivid material with gemstones, gold and silver, was highly innovative.
Glass is magical compared to other materials; it starts out soft at high temperatures and becomes harder than metal as the temperature falls. All Trollbeads glass beads are handmade from red-hot glass in an open flame.
Most of the Trollbeads glass comes from Italy. It is imported from Murano, an island close to Venice in northern Italy. For centuries high quality glass has been produced here, and the Murano glassblowers are also some of the world’s most accomplished glass artists.
Technically, glass is a combination of chemicals. Silicon dioxide is the main component. The silicon dioxide is usually derived from quartz sand while other components, such as sodium oxide and calcium oxide, are derived from soda and potash. The colour of the glass is also dependent on the substances added to the glass during manufacture. For example, a clear marine blue colour is achieved by adding copper.
THE MAKING OF GLASS BEADS
Making glass beads demands patience and precision. Compared to metal, glass is very different to work with. You cannot control glass like metal, which you can hammer, pull and stretch. When the glass melts, it rolls itself into a ball due to the natural surface tension, which is comparable to the tension that causes a drop of water on a surface to become round. Every colour reacts differently, and the designer can exploit this knowledge to create a variety of designs.
Glass melts at some point between 600 and 800 degrees, depending on the colour. Different colours melt at different temperatures. Some raise to the surface of the bead and some sink to the core of the bead.
Working with glass allows for playing with depth and dimensions. Exploiting different colours in different layers of glass leaves many great optical illusions and a sense of depth.
The many glass beads in the collection are decorated with flowers, patterns, bubbles, stripes, gold and silver layers and much more. Some of them are even faceted with 126 handmade facets.