If you want to make jewelry that is inexpensive but beautiful, glass jewelry is one of your best choices. Glass jewelry allows plenty of customization, especially once you have mastered the techniques involved in glass jewelry making. Here are ways to create your own glass jewels.
Lamp work jewelry. To create lamp work jewelry, you will need borosilicate glass and soda lime. These are the easiest to work with when you are torching your own glasses, which is what happens in lamp work. The glasses that you choose should be compatible with each other. Some types of glasses will take longer times to melt and longer times to cool down. If a piece of glass is combined with another that will not melt and cool at the same rate, the glass will break.
Preparation and design. For preparation, you should have all of the equipment for lamp work ready. These are graphite and brass for molding the jewelry pieces, marvers, tungsten picks, jacks, a torch, and steel mandrels. Create the design for the glass jewelry beforehand. Draw this on paper. The design will serve as the blueprint whne you begin to create the actual glass pieces.
Heat the glass. Take glass rods that are compatible with each other and hat these carefully using the torch. Make sure that you begin with a low temperature, before gradually increasing the temperature to the heat needed to melt the glass. Otherwise, the glass will break if it is overwhelmed with too much heat. Once the glass rods have begun to melt, wrap these around the head of the mandrel, to allow you to create designs.
Decorate. Decorating the glass bits can be done using a variety of techniques. You can blow the glass, distort it, use the tungsten wires to create holes and shapes, or you can incorporate dyes and other bits of glass to create swirling prints and patterns. The choice is up to you, and the type of design that will fit best with the jewelry that you are creating. Once the decorations are finished, the next step is to assemble the various parts together. Before doing this, make sure that the glass parts are of equal temperature, so that these will cool down at the same rate.
Annealing. Anneal the glass in a kiln so that the different parts of the glass will become soft and malleable enough to blend together, but without the excessive heat that will melt the glass into one piece. Remember that different glass types will take different annealing procedures.
Once the glass has blended together, cool the finished product. Cooling glass cannot be done in room temperature. You need to adjust the heat in the kiln so that the glass cools down in a very gradual and predetermined fashion. This will keep the glass from breaking, and will strengthen the glass pieces so that it will take much more pressure to break it, and much more heat to make the glass break down. After cooling down, you can add the jewelry piece to a ring, a necklace, or other jewelry pieces.