Some of my thoughts
Re: Re: Warring States Beads - reasons for disagreement -- Will Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: floorkasp Post Reply
10/25/2015, 02:01:26

My thoughts are based on experience with making glass beads, and not any real knowledge about ancient glass beads and ancient glass beads production.

From a beadmakers' standpoint, it seems odd to me that these tiny dots were drilled. Jamey has emailed me too with lots of interesting information, but I am not completely convinced yet about the drilling technique.
It would mean you would make a detailed bead. Then drill it with much precision, then reheat it to add glass to the recesses and then perhaps grind off the excess? Or would some type of powder glass/enamel be used and applied cold and then reheated? Either way, the reheating part seems like a great risk to take.

Also, to me, most of the Warring States beads I have seen (in museums, online, and the few I have been able to hold) with these tiny dots have some irregularity in the dots.
I have added a link to a previous discussion with some great examples.
It is said that it can not be done these tiny dots.....but I would be surprised if someone like Michi Suzuki, a great lampwork glass artist whose beads these are, would not be able to make dots like that.

About the etching. I have used chemical etching to etch my beads. These are some examples. I use a liquid acid, but I do not know the exact chemical composition. It works fast. The beads are matte within minutes. It is also a simple process: string the beads on plastic, dip them in, mix them up a bit so they are not touching each other, take them out and flush vigorously with plenty of water. I did get a drop on me once, and did not hurt or leave a mark.

The finish is different from sandblasting or tumbling. What you use depends on the result you want. Chemical etching is certainly the easiest and fastest of the three methods.

There is also another technique, called scavo, which comes from Venice. Apparantly that gives a more accurate aged look and feel. It includes potassium nitrate and heating it. I am not doing that one just yet in my home.

Finally, some people use baking soda on a bead to get a pitted surface, which resembles some types of corrosion on ancient beads.

FKmichi2015.jpg (49.7 KB)  EtchingFK20151.jpg (65.1 KB)  

Related link: Previous discussion

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