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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

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  #1  
Old 2015-12-02, 1:25pm
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Default Please help with ancient beadmaking techniques...

Can someone please help me figure out how this bead was made?

The ancient Celtic bead below dates between 150 B.C. and 50 A.D and I have no idea how they made those stripes. This is the best image I could find that does not look like they just laid stringer down from one hole to the other, but it also does not look like the bead is just one big twistie wrapped around a mandrel. Those stripes are either microscopically close to the beadhole, or they go through the beadhole to the other side. Either way, I dunno how someone working on an ancient beadmaking furnace with imperfectly made glass could have accomplished such precision. Most of the examples I see of Medieval or Roman beads are just CRAP. They usually look just like the beads we all made the first time we picked up a glass rod and a mandrel.

Sorry the picture isn't any better, I got it out of this article: https://www.academia.edu/1488066/Cel..._British_Isles

And another thing, why do museums photograph their beads hole-side on? And the way they describe how they think the beads are made, it's so obvious that some of these archaeologists have never even lit a torch.
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  #2  
Old 2015-12-02, 1:51pm
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gravity dots maybe?
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  #3  
Old 2015-12-02, 1:52pm
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Could be a fat twistie bead.
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Old 2015-12-02, 1:53pm
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There are some amazing examples of ancient glass beads from a variety of places, and the skill level must have been ridiculous. Especially some of the ancient mosaic faces are very special. Thanks for pointing me towards this article. I will be reading it with much interest.
I think that knowing about lampwork can sometimes also be confusing when it comes to understanding ancient glass beads. There were no torches like we know, very different mandrels and the base material was also different. Probably not glass rods the way we are used to today. I can imagine that it was first made as a twisty, but then the twisty twisted again while forming it? Then again, I do not see anywhere where the seam would be. Maybe not even made on a mandrel? Just thinking out loud here. Could be a thick black rod, white stringer wound around it and molten in, and then closed as a loop?
Cool bead, cool article!
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  #5  
Old 2015-12-02, 2:11pm
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Floor, I'm in the very early stages of research for an A&S competition I'm going to be entering next August. I'm going to be building at least 2 beadmaking furnaces, making hundreds of re-creation beads, and reading dozens of books and articles. I'm even going to be having my blacksmith friend make some mandrels for me. If you have any sources you can share with me, I'd love to see what you've got. My focus is on Late Roman/Early Medieval Irish glass beads seeing as how that's my persona. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated. :^)
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Old 2015-12-02, 2:22pm
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I don't think it is at all fair to compare the beads to today's modern glass technology. It is comparing a rock to a flawless diamond essentially. You're setting the rock up to fail. We have much better materials, equipment, heat management. And the fact so many of them have more than one color is fascinating.

Is it glass, or stone? I wonder if the designer didn't happen to see a really quirky rock and carve it to show its best features?

Last edited by SGA; 2015-12-02 at 2:26pm.
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  #7  
Old 2015-12-02, 2:25pm
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Cool, can I join you?
I'll gather some info for you this weekend. But, like I said: I know more about antique than ancient beads.....
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  #8  
Old 2015-12-02, 3:13pm
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Of course you can join me, Floor! I'm trying to get my blog back up but the color on it right now is FUGLY and nothing I do will change the color, so I haven't been posting to it yet.

Don't ask me why I'm so focused on the color of my blog when all I should be doing is writing on it. :\
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Old 2015-12-02, 3:23pm
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Dunno if this will help, but take a look about 1/3 way down: http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/vikbeads.shtml
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Old 2015-12-02, 3:56pm
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These are made just like they are still made by Cedi in Ghana. This video only touches on it, but if you search his name you can find more videos. Basically you are doing what is sand art in the mini pot, melting it, then manually adding the hole after it is fully heated. I consider myself blessed that I got to have dinner with him years ago at one of the gatherings and he actually demo'd them for everyone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69ERUIxgzgg The beads he makes can be extremely complex.
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  #11  
Old 2015-12-02, 3:57pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allicat View Post
Dunno if this will help, but take a look about 1/3 way down: http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/vikbeads.shtml
I've been on that site before but I forgot how many great pictures they had. Thanks for reminding me about the Viking Answer Lady! :^)
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  #12  
Old 2015-12-02, 5:16pm
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The technique that Cedi uses, making glass powder beads, is generally considered no more than 300 years old at the most. So I think it is unlikely that this bead is made with that technique. The idea that the hole was 'poked' later, is an interesting one. I did a workshop with a Ghanese beadmaker, and did my own 'poking'. It seems difficult to match with the precision of the lines, but not impossible.
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Old 2015-12-02, 7:31pm
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I would find it hard to believe that Cedi's technique would be considered that new. Especially since the earliest known glass shop, that made all kinds of items, including beads was dated back to 1250 BC. 3,000 years is a long time to discover lots of ways to make beads. Even windows have been being made for over 2,000 years. Here is a nice article about the glass shop. "How Egypt turned dust into treasures of glass" http://www.nbcnews.com/id/8221331/ns.../#.Vl-of6SFOM8
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Old 2015-12-03, 12:13am
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Glass has been made for ages indeed. What Cedi does is use recycled glass, so glass crushed and powdered, which gets molten and fused. It is this technique of powder glass beadmaking that is fairly new.
Obviously, there is lots we don't know about bead history, but the bead shown does not look like a powder glass bead to me, not in design and not when it comes to the surface. You may enjoy this post about krobo beadmaking too, even though some of the more detailed work like Cedi does is not included. https://beadmuseum.wordpress.com/201...ds-from-ghana/

Last edited by Floorkasp; 2015-12-03 at 12:23am. Reason: Edited to add
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Old 2015-12-03, 12:56am
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LOL hair splitting but ok. It is much easier to use crushed glass because it is now available. Back then they would have been using their own made glass made from scratch with sand. Which is why the white line looks grainy.
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Old 2015-12-03, 2:41am
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Not trying to be splitting hairs.... I think not just the technique, but also the result of recycled powdered glass is quite different from shaping glass while it is hot. The main difference is either the shape and pattern is made when glass is cold and placed in a mold (Cedi/powder glass) and a shape and pattern being created with hot glass, like lampwork, furnacework, etc. (can still be placed in a mold, but when hot) My thought is that this bead is made with hot glass, and not powdered glass. Are you suggesting that they used powdered glass (recycled or newly made) while cold for this bead, or did I misunderstand?
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Old 2015-12-25, 11:58am
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Lyssa, most museums photograph hole on so that the shape of the bead can be seen, and some photos are also side shot to see the pattern, if any. Very few, if any, archaeologists ever make beads-- I've read a hilarious description by the late Margaret Guido on how the Celtic horned beads were made. It's obvious to bead makers she had no clue as to construction, but that's because she never made beads. My take on the bead above is that it was fat twistie wrapped around a mandrel, but it could have also had the gravity bead technique used on it also during construction.
Which SCA group are you with? I'm in the Midrealm, Barony of Rivenstar (Lafayette, IN).
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  #18  
Old 2015-12-26, 10:06am
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I mailed this info personally to Lyssa as well, but thought I'd share it here too. These beads look somewhat similar, and the side view does indeed reveal a lot!

http://www.huntsearch.gla.ac.uk/cgi-...reqMethod=Link

http://www.huntsearch.gla.ac.uk/cgi-...reqMethod=Link
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  #19  
Old 2015-12-26, 2:03pm
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great links, i'll have to look at them when I can!
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Old 2015-12-28, 4:45pm
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You should check out Tom and Sage Holland. Tom's made his entire career out of researching, recreating the techniques, and re-making ancient beads. Could be a great resource. And he teaches...
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  #21  
Old 2016-09-09, 12:24am
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Anyone know where I can get some of these beads?

Last edited by Jeans; 2020-03-04 at 4:47am.
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  #22  
Old 2016-10-06, 8:27am
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Some of what beads?

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Anyone know where I can get some of these beads?
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