Molded Canes

As mentioned earlier, the molded group is an offshoot of the layered canes for all practical purposes. There is an important relationship between molded canes made for millefiori work and made for rosetta beads. They are sturcturally virtually identical, except that rosetta bead canes have a central perforation, and canes for millefiori work are solid and are applied to other beads.

The primary patterns for molded canes are flowers and stars, and I'll show examples of these two subgroups separately. The solid star canes made for millefiori work very often have the same number of points and color scheme as typical star and rosetta beads (often made into classic chevron beads). These are the most common millefiori beads, and examples can be seen in the Chart. I will endeavor to show some rare varieties.

Here, we have four examples of beads with flower canes. Flowers are distinguished from stars by the fact that the points of stars are sharp, while flower petals are rounded, flat, jagged, clover-shaped, and other expected variations. The number of petals can be as few as four (typically) and as many as twelve---whereupon the design begins to resemble the typical star of rosetta canes.

The largest bead on the left is fairly typical and conventional, except that the center element is a "brecchia" cane. It's a random combination of two or more colors, made from broken fragments of glass fused together, to resemble the look of certain types of jasper. Also, the emphasis of white in this and the other beads makes them fairly unusual.

The second bead is clearly from the 1920s or later, due to the bright red flower in the center of the cane. The pattern is somewhat unusual for having a twelve-pointed star around the flower. The third bead is not only largely white, but has a four-petaled flower pattern with green and purple outer stripes. The bead itself also has the same flower cane placed longitudinally along the bead, forming stripes, between which are the millefiori slices.

The final example presents a red flower with a green center on a white background, and with multicolored external stripes.


Star Canes

These five beads featuring star canes are all pretty unusual. A couple are actually rare in my experience.

The left bead has fairly conventional stars in terms of shape and layer number, but the color scheme, emphasizing yellow and black on a lime-green background, is different.

The canes on the next bead feature a star within a star---the center being a six-pointed bright green star, surrounded by a twelve-pointed yellow star. The pattern of the next bead also shows a six-pointed yellow star, with a green center, and on a dark blue background outlined in white and red.

The fourth bead is one of the weirdest I have seen. Technically, it may not consist of a molded star, but may instead have become star-shaped through the addition of the elements around it. (We can see the same thing happening in the central element of number 38 in the Chart.) Here, a blue-white-blue-white cane has been turned into a five-pointed star, and the background behind it (or beyond it) is formed by five single canes of brick-red, medium blue and dark blue, and yellow. These elements are triangular, and their insertion could have caused the primary cane to become star-shaped. The whole cane then has two very thin layers of medium blue and white glass applied.

The final star-cane bead has a pattern that consists of five layers, molded into a six-pointed star at the fourth white layer; and the cane is elaborated by the addition of broad multicolored stripes. These outer stripes are blue, green, yellow, and purple. Each stripe is made from several small rods placed close together. The resulting effect is that they have changed the surface of the white layer below, and the demarkation between appears jagged, as we usually see between the layers of composite canes. These stripes are, after all, composited.

In selecting the beads I have shown in this series, I went over several hundred beads in my collection, and initially choose 80 that I considered to be the most unusual or rare. And from these 80 beads, I have only shown a small number. If I have any energy, I may put up more after the weekend, if anyone is interested.

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