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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

History of lampwork

This is the Bead and Jewelry History page of Rose's web-site, Periodically (about once a month) we publish a new essay. The introductory essay is on the History of Lampworking.

Lampworking is the art of melting glass over a flame and winding it into glass beads. People started making beads at least 40,000 years ago in pre-historic times. The earliest beads were probably made from seeds and berries, and then later stones and bones. The idea of stringing them together began about 30,000 years ago. Beads in ancient times were used to decorate bodies, clothes, boxes, and many other objects. Glass making was invented about 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. The earliest glass objects were only owned by royalty because of their rarity. Only later did they become available to others. The ancient Egyptians made ceramic beads and later glass beads. The Greeks and Romans developed the technique of making glass beads with mosaic patterns. Early European glass makers limited their art to certain families who passed it on from one generation to the next. Venice became the center of glass making in Renaissance times. Glass making spread to other parts of Europe and glass beads were carried by merchants and explorers all over the world for trade with indigenous people. Today glass beads are not reserved for royalty or traded for land, furs, and tobacco, but intricate and unique glass beads can be appreciated by anyone with an eye for beautiful art.
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