"In the end no one will sell you what you need,
You can't buy it off the shelf,
You got to grow it from the seed..."
Just sayin'... (to paraphrase Raven)
Here's a neat video on wire wrapping a shank button into a ring. A great narrator with a sweet voice, "Prismera" uses 28 ga wire, which means she doesn't have to use pliers (or a ton of hand strength) to wrap the light gauge wire into a ring:
While you're at YouTube (click the title of this post to go straight to the video over there instead of here), check out the related videos for more wire wrapping tutes!P.S. Click the forward arrow once or twice (depending on your browser settings) to play the video above. . .
A couple of expert vendor/collectors solved the mystery for me recently. Apparently the FP beads are pressed glass, and come out of the molds with bits of flashing on their edges that need to be tumbled off. The tumbling dulls the glass surface, so they're heated over fire to restore their shine.
Chris says, "A Czech bead seller acquaintance informed me once upon a time that it takes a couple of years - yes, years - of training to develop the judgment necessary to tell when to pull the trays of firepolished out of the oven."
The polishing softens the edges, making FP beads distinguishable from lead glass crystal beads, whose edges are much sharper (again, check out the photos at Beki's site).
Contrary to what I've heard over the years, the lead content in the crystals doesn't actually make them more durable -- nor does it make the edges sharper. The lead content does, however, make the faceted beads more reflective.
Chris shared this link: http://www.lenntech.com/Glass.htm for a quick summary of glass types and what they're good for.
Many thanks to these bead-pros for sharing their knowledge about fire polished beads:
Beki Haley is a jewelry designer, metal clay and beadwork instructor, and owner of the bead store Out on a Whim in Cotati, CA (and on the web).
Chris Prussing is a bead collector and was a long-time bead shop owner in Juneau, AK. She is the author of Beading with Right Angle Weave and temptress of BeadHell, where this discussion originated. Recently, Chris opened up an Etsy shop to sell her beaded kits and creations.
Total Votes: 36
Are we surprised?