One of the most unusual and exquisite types of jewelry is lampwork beads, which are made from glass. If you've wondered about the process of making lampwork jewelry, and how the ancient art of lampworking began, here’s what’s involved and its history.

How Lampwork Beads Are Made

Basically, the process involves melting rods of colorful glass on a certain type of torch. After the melted glass is wound around either a copper wire or metal rod to form a bead.

history of lampwork glass beads

Skilled bead artists know the level of heat needed for glass to flow, besides the amount of heat that’s required for applying to beads. These professionals also understand how various glass colors interact with one another, as well as when it’s time to add decorative, attractive components.

History of Lampworking

Lampworking dates back to ancient times and was originally done in the 1st century B.C. in ancient Syria. It later spread to Asia and Africa. This type of glasswork became popular in Murano, Italy in the 14th century, and today it remains a trendy type of glasswork in this Italian city, known for its beautiful lampwork jewelry.

lampwork beads

Lampworking became popular in France in the 19th century. The German glassmaker, Otto Schott, developed what’s known as Borosilicate in the latter half of the 19th century. In 1915, Borosilicate became known as the familiar household trademark, Pyrex.

However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the process of making glass using metal fuming was developed, by Bob Snodgrass. This is the process in which metal is heated so that metal can be formed into stunning colors that have a metallic shine.

history of lampwork beads

At the beginning of the 21st century, Glass Alchemy was founded by Henry Grimmett. Trautman Art Glass began a couple of years later. The popularity of lampworking has continued to skyrocket for the past two decades.


  • Besides beads made for jewelry, there are also lampwork beads used for art exhibits, such as in creating sculptures.
  • The ability of the glass to stretch and be pulled into just about any design or shape is why so many creative people are attracted to working in this bead craft.

SWCreations have been offering original, handmade beaded jewelry since 1999. Please contact us. We use unique beads to create out beautifully designed products. Please contact us. None of our products are mass-produced.

lampwork earrings

April 04, 2015 — Stephanie White

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