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Silvered Ivory Stringer

Many sellers of lampwork beads talk about silvered ivory in their beads. The combination of silver leaf or foil on ivory produces a gorgeous veined pattern on glass. Most of the earthy beads have this stringer in them. It is an interesting process so I thought I would explain it for those who do not make lampwork beads. Other stringer is made this same way only there is not silver added.

Before starting this stringer a piece of silver foil (leaf can be used also) is placed on the marver. Once the melting of glass starts its pretty hard to get thin silver foil out without it blowing all over ... a second pair of hands would be good.
Gratitude Beads Stringer




Gratitude Beads Stringer


The Glass rod is placed into the flame and little by little a ball of hot glass is heated.


I usually heat a ball about the size of a quarter. If I have to pull stringer of silvered ivory I pull enough to last a while since I use it almost daily.
Gratitude Beads Stringer




Gratitude Beads Stringer


Once I have the hot glass ball large enough I mash it into an oblong rectangle.


This oblong is heated and marvered until fairly smooth.
Gratitude Beads Stringer




Gratitude Beads Stringer


The reason for this is when the glass is rolled into the silver if the glass is not smooth it can not be marvered into the glass and when it is put back in the flame it will simply burn away. Having the silver very smooth on the glass gets the best use of the silver foil.


The smooth hot glass is then carefully rolled onto the silver that was earlier placed on the marver pad. It is then burnished (smoothed or marvered) tight to the glass.
Gratitude Beads Stringer




Gratitude Beads Stringer


The glass then goes back into the flame to "burn in" the silver to the glass. Some care must be taken not to burn off the silver.


Once the silver is properly burned in a "punty" (another piece of glass or a steel mandrel) is attached so the stringer can be pulled. There are other ways to pull stringer like grabbing the end of the hot glass with a pointed pliers but I think you have more control using a punty. All to often I have had the pliers either release or break the end of the glass and you are left waving a hot stringer around with little or no control over it.
Gratitude Beads Stringer




Gratitude Beads Stringer


The end of the glass is heated as well as the "punty" and the 2 are simply fused together.


The whole wad of glass is now heated to molten again. The glass is soft and almost ready to drop.
Gratitude Beads Stringer




Gratitude Beads Stringer


The pulling begins at this point. There is some practice needed to control the thickness of these stringers. Sometimes you want something very thin and sometimes you want it thicker. The good thing about silvered ivory is no matter what it is pretty hard to ruin it. Most of the time whatever it is combined with turns out beautiful. However when it does not combine well it is usually a disaster.


When finished and cooled it is not pretty at all. It pretty much looks like a blackened sooty ugly mess. The final results on a bead can be stunningly beautiful. If worked properly it provides tiny veins in the glass that are ever interesting to observe.
Gratitude Beads Stringer