The Evolution Of Shaped Glass Beads
There was a time when I was first learning how to bead when I became obsessed with shaped glass beads. Of course, this was more than 15 years ago, and shaped glass beads weren’t what they are today. The most commonly available shaped glass beads were Czech fire polished beads, round or in the shape of a rondelle. For me, finding a bead shop that had a large offering of shaped press glass beads was like finding an oasis in the desert! I remember stumbling across one such local bead shop while visiting family in Galveston, Texas, and I bought so many of these shaped glass bead beauties that I actually opted to ship a box of clothing home in order to make room in my suitcase for my new treasures.
Whenever I found vintage German glass beads, I bought as many as my budget would allow. These were only two-hole shaped glass beads I could find 15 years ago, and I still have a few strands of these treasured beads in my stash. I’ll probably never use them – and that’s perfectly fine with me.
The glass bead scene changed completely with the introduction of the glass spike bead. A collaboration between bead artist Laura McCabe and Perry Bookstein of the former York Beads in New York City, they probably had no idea that they started a beautiful glass bead revolution that continues to evolve and change the way we bead today.
After the glass spike bead came more shapes, like gumdrops (yummy), and then the Bead Stud, the result of another collaboration between Perry and bead artist and all-around good egg Maggie Roschyk. From Germany, bead artist Sabine Lippert has offered us O-beads and Rizos in a wonderful array of colors and finishes.
We’ve seen seed beads doubled in fun, going from one hole to two with the introduction of Twins and then the pressed glass SuperDuos. From there, the two-hole glass bead phenomenon has produced over a dozen different shapes in as many colors and finishes as any beader’s heart could desire.
With all the new shapes and styles of glass beads popping up in your favorite local bead shops and online bead shops, it seems that the shaped glass bead train isn’t slowing down any time soon. Hang on for the ride!
As bead artists continue to experiment with these beautiful little bits of glass, we’re sure to see more innovative and on-trend beaded jewelry designs that combine them with all sorts of fun and unexpected beading supplies. One of my favorite beaded jewelry designs using Czech glass studs is the Pharoah’s Finery bracelet by Michelle Gowland. Incorporating Czech glass bead studs, classic glass rondelles, leather, and a gorgeous antiqued copper button, this is one beaded bracelet kit you’ll want to add to your collection. Get your Pharoah’s Finery bead kit now in the Beading Daily Shop before they’re all gone!
Do you have a favorite shaped glass bead? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share it with us!