Ancient Beads Exhibit

Ancient Beads: from the private collection of Jim Kaufman

The love of beads runs deep for the owners of Baubles & Beads. For over 20 years Jim has been collecting ancient glass beads. We are excited to share part of his collection for public viewing for the first time. The exhibit is available for viewing April 25th-May 22nd in our Berkeley store. For those of you who can’t make it, we have included a few photo highlights from the show…..

Folded glass beads. Dated approximately 300BC-1000AD.

Folded glass beads. Dated approximately 300BC-1000AD.

Folded glass beads were first designed to imitate banded stone. Looking at the surface of the glass one can see the lines where the glass was shaped and folded inward. The beads range in size from 12mm-18mm. Many of the beads show wear and tear on the surface from centuries of adornment.

These strands are Pre-Islamic Iran beads dated approximately 300BC-300AD

These strands are from Pre-Islamic Iran and are dated from approximately 300BC-300AD.

Many of the beads on these two strands resemble banded agate. The surface of most of the beads is irregular begging one to touch each bead independently. Additional beads in this grouping range in size from 10mm-20mm and feature many combed beads.

This lovely Egyptian vessel is one of Jim's favorites. It dates between 1300BC-900BC.

This lovely Egyptian vessel is one of Jim’s favorites. It dates between 1300BC-900BC.

To quote Jim when asked about this bead he said, “I just loved it from the moment I saw it.” This lovely vessel measures a mere 13mm x 10mm. Notice the slight iridescence around the neck of the vessel, near the handle. This effect is caused by a chemical decomposition of the glass due primarily to prolonged contact of the object with moist and acidic soil.

These Roman beads date from approximately 300BC-400AB.

These Roman beads date from approximately 300BC-400AD.

Upon closer look at the golden beads pictured above, one can see that some of the beads are made up of gold-glass. Gold-glass is made up of actual layers of gold foil between two layers of glass. This technique was derived in Roman times. Some of the beads on the strand are made up of yellow glass. One can differentiate between glass and foil beads by holding the bead up to a light source; if the light passes through, there is no foil present.

Blue Roman glass beads from 300BC-300AD.

Blue Roman glass beads from 300BC-300AD.

Many of the beads in this collection are what is known as “eye-beads.” Eye beads and talismans were worn to ward off evil spirits and protect one from harm. The symbolism of the “evil eye” is still prevalent in today’s culture.

These beads are from Indonesia -Java dating between 1200-1500AD

These beads are from Indonesia Java dating between 1200-1500AD

To learn more about bead history we recommend two books:

The History Of Beads, from 30,000 B.C. to the Present by Lois Sherr Dubin ISBN# 0-8109-0736-4

Magical Ancient Beads Times Edition ISBN# 981-204-792-1

How To Crimp A Crimp Bead

When it comes to making jewelry nothing is as quick and easy as using flexible stringing wire and crimp beads. No knot, needles, or glue required! Let the fabulous Kate Richbourg take you through the ins and outs of how to use the crimp tool to securely attach a clasp to your stringing designs.

The entire video is EXCELLENT, but if you are just looking for a quick refresher, jump to 2:59 for the down and dirty of crimp tool action.

Kate used the following materials in her demonstration:

Look Who’s Teaching @ The Bead And Button Show!

While looking over our newest class schedule I realized that six (Yes SIX!) of our instructors are also teaching at The Bead And Button Show in June. If you aren’t familiar with the show check out their website and be prepared to be AMAZED. It is the world’s largest bead show offering more than 750 classes in the span of 12 days. Many of the classes offered by our instructors are also available to attend locally at our store. Hmmm, it feels good to rub elbows with the bead famous. To read full descriptions of each of these instructor’s classes taught at the show follow this link and search by the instructor’s name.

Lisa Claxton

Lisa Claxton's classes at Bead & Button

Lisa Claxton’s classes at Bead & Button

This year she is offering 5 wire classes at Bead & Button; one of which is a 3-day workshop called The Fundamentals of Wirework. In addition to teaching Basic Wire Work at our store, each of her other classes are often offered at Baubles & Beads. In fact, she often debuts her classes at our store before offering them at national bead shows. There are beady perks to living in the Bay Area! She is currently offering Leaf & Vine Bracelet, Herringbone Weave Wire Wrapping, Stamp It On Metal, Byzantine Bracelet, Crochet Shell Cluster Bracelet, Fused Ball Link Chain, Fused Fine Silver Chains, Stone Medallion Pendant, Dreams of Viking Knit & Crystals, and Wire Bezels at Baubles & Beads. She is also a contributor in the book Stamped Metal Jewelry.

Teri Dannenberg Lawson

Teri Dannenberg Lawson's classes at Bead & Button

Teri Dannenberg Lawson’s classes at Bead & Button

By day Teri helps develop science curriculum for middle school kids. By night she is a seedbead queen, figuring out how she can stitch those seedbeads into fabulous designs inspired by nature. Although she currently does not have any classes scheduled at Baubles & Beads, keep a lookout for her inspiring use of color and form to grace our class schedule this summer.

Huib Petersen

Huib Peterson's classes at Bead & Button

Huib Petersen’s classes at Bead & Button

Huib’s work is always an inspiration to anyone who loves nature or bead weaving. He is teaching seven classes at the Bead & Button show this year. His work is featured in the new book, Beading Across America. While he travels internationally to teach he always makes time to share his skills with students at Baubles & Beads. This session he is offering a special 3-part comprehensive course, Peyote Stitch & Beyond: Fundamentals in Beading and Up & Over.

Kate Richbourg

Kate Richbourg's classes at Bead & Button

Kate Richbourg’s classes at Bead & Button

Kate is a master of all things beads and metal. She has shared her skills with us through classes for over 15 years. Her new book Simple Soldering A Beginner’s Guide To Soldering is chock full of projects and ideas that will get your torch heated up. In addition to many articles in bead magazines she is also a project contributor in Stamped Metal Jewelry. This session Kate is teaching Crystal Framed Ring and Patinas & Cold Connections at Baubles & Beads.

Anat Silvera

Anat Silvera's classes at Bead & Button

Anat Silvera’s classes at Bead & Button

Anat has had a long history at Baubles & Beads. Over decades she has taught wirework, enameling, metalwork, stringing and design classes at our store. Her current love of torch fired enamels and forging metals is demostrated in her class lineup at our store. This session Anat is teaching Beads & Leather Bracelet, Fold Form Components, Introduction to Enameling, Enamel On Curved Forms, The Fandango Necklace, Fused Silver & Copper Bracelet, Multistrand Necklace, Soldering & Enameling, Spiral Fold Fantasy, and Wire Wrapped Cabochon.

Joe Silvera

Joe Silvera's classes at Bead & Button

Joe Silvera’s classes at Bead & Button

With the release of his first book, Soldering Made Simple: Easy techniques for the kitchen table jeweler, Joe has been busy teaching at many national bead shows and at his own school, The Silvera Jewelry School. We keep him pretty busy at Baubles & Beads too! This session he is offering Basic Metalsmithing, Basic Soldering, Bezel Set Pendant, Fusing with Argentium, The Mural Ring, and Twisted Bangles.

Czech Glass Bead Production & Finishes

If you have a lot beads at home you are sure to have some Czech glass in your collection. But owning them isn’t enough for me; I also want to know how they came to be. Read on to discover how these beads are made and how exactly they get those fabulous finishes!

What Are Pressed Glass Beads?

Hurricane glass is made of multiple colored glass swirled together. Each batch is unique.

HurriCane glass is made of multiple colored glass swirled together.

Pressed glass beads are popular because of their versatility and limitless possibilities.  This category of beads not only includes the basic necessity bead shapes such as druks (round beads), daggers, rondelles, and drops; but also unique, abstract, and novelty shapes as well.  Plus there are over 800 commonly used glass colors to combine with the hundreds of coatings, lusters, and metallic finishes available.  Literally millions of combinations are possible!  New technology in glass making has made it possible to combine glass colors in new and innovative ways.  HurriCane glass, for example, is the combination of multiple glass colors that change appearance and swirl patterns based on the conditions at the time of pressing.  Each batch is unique and very difficult to reproduce.


The Pressed Glass Bead Making Process

It takes years of practice to form intricately detailed shapes full of vibrant swirls of color with clarity and shine.  The quality of the product relies mostly on the skill level of the master bead pressers.  The difference in overall quality is strikingly apparent from one craftsman to another.

The end of a long rod of glass cane is heated in a gas furnace until it is red hot.  It is then inserted into a pressing machine which resembles an old fashioned sewing machine.  The molten glass is quickly pressed into a mold while a needle is simultaneously inserted to form the hole.  Only a few beads can be pressed before the rod must be heated again; therefore, the bead maker alternates between multiple heated glass canes in order to produce continuously.  The pressed glass cools slowly as it makes its way down a slide and into a holding container.   At this point the pressings do not resemble beads at all; they are still connected together by the excess glass surrounding the edges of the beads.  The beads then go through two-stages of tumbling; one which breaks off the large pieces of excess glass and another which smooths out surface imperfections.



Fire polished beads are considered by many to be one of the most essential components for jewelry making.  The Czech bead makers are famous for their exquisitely crafted yet relatively inexpensive faceted beads.

The Czech region of Bohemia has been the center of bead making and has led the glass bead industry for hundreds of years because of its quality fire polished styles.  Faceted rounds are by far the most popular because of their timeless look and sparkle.  Classic, more stylized shapes such as cathedral beads, triangles and octagonal faceted beads are popular for vintage style jewelry and rosaries.  There are many new fire polished shapes being created such as doughnut firepolish and renaissance firepolish.  There are also vintage styles reemerging into the market such as rosebud firepolish and fluted firepolish.

Faceting Firepolish Beads

To make fire polished rounds, the manufacturer starts with round pressed beads (druks).  The beads are sifted onto a pronged board that is then fed into a faceting machine which angles the beads onto a grinding wheel.  After all sides of the beads have been faceted their surface is rough and matte.  The polished finish is attained by laying the beads on a conveyer belt that feeds them into an extremely hot oven.  The beads are heated to the point that their surfaces begins to melt, creating a naturally shiny finish.

Finishes and Coatings for Czech Glass Beads


Finishes Defined

Aurora Borealis (AB)1/2 coat metallic finish that adds a prismatic effect to the surface of the bead.  The beads are placed in an oven where a chemical reaction between metals produces fumes that adhere to the exposed surfaces of the bead.  Usually this coating is only applied to one side of the bead; however there are some shapes that can easily be coated on both sides for a more dramatic effect.

Marea – Same process as AB but results in a primarily orange/yellow reflection.

Vitrail – Same process as AB but results in a primarily pink/green reflection.

MatteTumbled to create a subdued look.  The surface texture of a bead depends on the length of time it is tumbled.  Instead of being tumble polished to a bright shine, the matte finish creates a soft appearance or glow to the bead.  Throughout the tumbling process the surface alternates from being matte to polished and it is up to the manufacturing experts to calculate the perfect tumbling time.  The matte effect can also be created by dipping the beads into an acid solution.  This is the preferred method when creating matte AB finishes or working with delicate beads such as lampwork.

Matte ABA combination of the above coatings.  The beads are first coated with an AB finish and then dipped into an acid solution to take away the shine.  This combination brings out the prismatic color refraction of the AB finish and the rough texture of the matte bead creates a mesmerizing glow and an unbelievable depth to the bead.

Luster –   Durable, transparent, glossy color coating on glass beads that is heat treated like a glaze.  These coatings are usually applied to a crystal or jet based bead, but there are limitless combinations that are becoming increasingly popular.  On light beads a luster coating may add only a subtle hint of color, whereas dark beads may have the complete opposite effect. Hematite colored glass beads are made of a jet based bead with a clear luster coating.

PicassoA luster coating that appears more speckled and spotty; giving the bead a natural, earthy appearance.  The color can vary from light yellow to dark brown with underlying color variations.  Some base bead colors, such as opaque beige, blue or white allow the picasso finish to take on a raku pottery look.

Coated Beads – Also known as dyed beads, these coatings are generally used to create unique shades and dual-tone color combinations that are usually unachievable or expensive to produce within the glass.  Although historically they are not as durable as lusters or other finishes, they are gaining in popularity around the world.  With proper care and when used in the ideal conditions, these beads will stay shiny and brilliant for years to come.  Glass pearls are alabaster white beads coated with a nitro-cellulose lacquer with pearl pigments.

Customizing Vintage Style Stampings

Options: it’s why we all like to make jewelry. A lot of people ask us what you are supposed to do with stampings that have no hole. To that we say punch one! It all started when Heather made a pair of earrings using our Baroque Flower Stamping. So how does one make a stamping into a customized component? It’s pretty simple…. you will need a marker, some stampings or a metal blank, and hole punching pliers.

Use a marker to mark where the desired hole will be made.

Use a marker to mark where the desired hole will be made.

Position the tip of the hole punching pliers on top of the mark and squeeze.

Position the tip of the hole punching pliers on top of the mark and squeeze.

And easy as pie, you now have a custom placed embellishment hole!

And easy as pie, you now have a custom placed embellishment hole!

Add a few more holes and some bead embellishment to create a one of a kind design.

Add a few more holes and some bead embellishment to create a one of a kind design.

Here is another example using a Pine Cone Spray Stamping to make a pendant. It’s interesting how we all perceive things differently – I would have made my holes so that the pine cones pointed downward. I guess I have a new project on my hands! 🙂 PineConeSprayHere I used a 6 Petal Flower Stamping and folded the petals downward over the sides of the bead. Many stampings are soft enough that they can be manipulated by hand or with the aid of tools. This allows for yet another customization of your designs.BeadCapAnd now… well worth all the scrolling is my favorite store sample made by Kathleen Hazard, a former instructor and store manager.  This centerpiece is made using our Detailed Angel Wings Stamping.  She made 18 holes in the piece and then used jump rings to attach two lengths of 2mm double link rolo chain to each hole. I love this sample so much that I am hoarding it. It’s currently hanging on the wall right next to my desk!samplechainnecklace

emiko oye is teaching at SCRAP in S.F.

This month’s presenter at the Bead Society of Northern California monthly meeting was emiko oye. She is most notable for her Lego & found art jewelry designs. Check out the great bracelet below that retails for $65. Yummy! Her color selection is fab AND she is teaching a class locally with Shana Astrachan at SCRAP in San Francisco. Check it out!


Bead Bebe of The Month

Maeve Loves Beads

Maeve Loves Beads

This is Maeve, our youngest Baubles & Beads helper. She can’t quite reach the counter yet, but with a little boost she can pick out the perfect match!


Check Out Our Favorite Style Blog

One of the perks of working in a bead store is that inspiration often just walks right up to you. I have been following the DIY projects of Honestly…WTF’s blog for a while now and just love, love, love her style. In addition to jewels she also has tutorials on some nifty crafty projects.


Shell Earrings

Get to Know Bead Shop Girl

There are many of us who make up Bead Shop Girl. Our collective knowledge of beads and techniques is something to be proud of. When you visit our store we will make every attempt to share our knowledge and revel in the wonder of beads.



When you visit our store be sure to check out the baubles on Caitlin. Her vintage style and mix of unique materials is an inspiration to all. Caitlin joined our staff in 2013 bringing with her years of jewelry making know-how.



Known for her infections laugh and unstoppable smile, Heather is one of our senior staff members.  She has been a part of the Baubles and Beads family since 2002!  Ask Heather about anything at all and she will answer all your questions and brighten your day at the same time.  Her favorite techniques include wire wrapping and pearl knotting, and you can usually see her wearing some of her own handmade jewelry using one of those two techniques. She first started making jewelry in 1st grade with her best friend but it became a career in 2002 when she was fresh out of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.



Have you ever had something repaired at Baubles & Beads? Chances are it was Jude who worked her magic to fix it!  Having been here since 2006, there is no repair or problem too big for her to tackle.  In her own time she makes beautiful, delicate and intricate jewelry, incorporating lots of stones and tiny wire wraps.  Ask her for help with all that jewelry you’ve been meaning to fix for years and she won’t let you down.



Every time you order something on our web store it goes straight to the desk of Shannon.  Shannon joined Baubles & Beads in 2010 and she knows the lay of the land here at the store.  If you have any questions about ordering from us online, she’s your girl.  Not able to make it into the store to ask your web related questions? That’s fine! Just give Shannon a call and she will make sure your order gets filled and shipped in lightning speed.



 Amara has been with us for over 4 years. This girl knows her colors and is excellent at giving customers that little tip helps finish their designs. Although she loves picking up new jewelry making skills she enjoys soldering the most as it provides the most challenge for her.

Lisa C.

Lisa C.

Lisa has been a fixture at Baubles and Beads since 1997.  While she used to be the manager of the Berkeley store, she took some time off to redirect her career toward teaching wire & design at many of the national bead shows. After her beader in training was born, she once again redirected her career back with baubles & Beads as our webmaster and social media director.  Lisa continues to act as one of our regular instructors, teaching basic techniques as well as many of her original wire designs.

Number Rings

I rediscovered my number ring this morning.  I forgot how much I love this thing, and it was so easy to make, just a number tile, someE6000 and a ring base and you are ready to go!



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