The art of beadmaking by winding molten glass around a steel mandrel is often referred to as "Lampworking". This is because the early glass beadmakers in Venice used oil lamps as their heat source for melting the glass.
Lampworking is a skill that takes a great deal of practice and patience. A lampwork bead artist understands the glass and the torch, and must learn how much heat it takes for glass to flow, how much heat can be applied to a bead that's already shaped before it becomes molten again and loses shape, when to add decorative elements and how different colors of glass interact with each other.
Hand crafted glass beads can be as plain or as decorative as the artist likes. Multiple layers of glass are often used, switching colors to create the desired look. Small dots of color can be left as bumps on the bead's surface or plunged into the center where they form floral-like designs. Each bead is a work of art.
Glass beads are a fascinating, beautiful creation. They have functioned as currency, gifts, works of art and symbols of high status. They are recorded as being created, traded, and worn as jewelry by the earliest civilized societies. Glass beads are usually categorized by the method used to manipulate the glass - wound beads, drawn beads, and molded beads. There are nearly as many types of glass beads as there are colors in the spectrum.