Example content image - aligned to the rightABOUT CZECH LAMP-WORKED BEADS

Lamp-worked beads are among the oldest glass objects in human history. Glass beads have been made in Bohemia (part of today’s Czech Republic) since Roman times. From the earliest times there have been many ways of forming glass beads. The earliest was to wind molten glass around a form coated with release material, creating round beads. Today’s lamp-worked beads are a continuation of this tradition, albeit a much more complex and labor-intensive variant of this glass bead-making technique.

Example content image - aligned to the rightCzech lamp-worked beads were first made in the homes of artisans in rural northern Bohemia using paraffin oil glass burners – “lamps”. Modern bead-makers use torches fueled by propane gas mixed with oxygen after it comes out of the torch. Czech torches are positioned almost horizontally. The artisan sits behind a narrow glass shield, holding a wire coated with clay in one hand and a glass rod in the other. Over the flame of the torch she winds the molten glass around the wire, creating one bead at a time.

Example content image - aligned to the rightThe artisans use spatulas, tweezers, and other tools, as well as various decorative materials such as glass shards, pieces of gold or silver foil, and different color glass strands that help create roses and other decorations inside and outside the beads. Finished beads are left to cool; they are then dipped in water to dissolve the clay coat and release them from the wire, rinsed in water and let dry.

Lamp-worked beads are expensive because each is made individually over a propane lamp, in many layers; a task that requires considerable skill and imagination from the artist. Today, the tradition is upheld mostly thanks to dedicated young women who work from their homes, creating these amazing beads to order, for individual customers or dealers.Example content image - aligned to the right

The main specialty and export article of small and large Czech glass bead manufacturers and exporting firms are pressed beads and fire polished beads. These serve as components in the jewelry design of many styles, or on their own.

The Czech Republic also has a long tradition of producing intricate glass buttons, glass eyes for stuffed toys, and glass figurines. World-famous is Czech cut crystal in the form of breathtaking dishes, vases, wine glasses and other decorative and serving pieces. The Czech Republic produces and exports a huge quantity of fashion jewelry worldwide. A little known fact is that artists such as Daniel Swarovski, Blanka Matragi, and many others started their careers there.