What are Czech Glass Beads?

North Bohemia was the biggest glass manufacturing center since the 13th century-producing glass beads for mostly for rosaries. 

After the 16th century, costume jewelry became more fashionable, and they started using glass beads more decoratively.

During the Industrial Revolution, they were able to change the way they made the beads. Instead of using a mandrel, they used molds and pressed the glass and stuck the rod in it. This meant they could have the hole of the bead go in any direction they wanted, and have different colorings on the beads-like the Picasso, Aurora Borealis, Satin, and Swirl beads. And not all beads in the same strand will have the same colorings. 

The Czech Glass beads I use are premium Czech glass beads, and are typically imported from Czechoslovakia by small bead shops across the USA. 

What are fire polished Czech glass beads?

Fire Polished Rounds seem to be my go to bead in my jewelry making. They’re just so sparkly, come in practically EVERY color, all the sizes, and seem to be the little black dress in my bead world. 

Czech fire polished rounds are glass beads that are faceted by a machine. The edges and surface are given a polished (softer) look by putting the beads in hot ovens or over open flames. 

This process makes each bead slightly different from each other, which just adds to their charm-which is probably why I love them so much! The heating process also gives them their soft glow and brilliance. 

You’ll also notice that fire polished rounds are actually more oval shaped than round.)

(Definition from beadaholique.com)

What is cultured sea glass/recycled matte glass?

Well, it’s not true sea glass. (Hence the “cultured” part of the name.) 

They’re made from mostly recycled matted glass that’s made to mimic sea glass. 

Some shapes are hand formed so they can recreate the free form shapes that real sea glass nuggets get. 

Some are pressed into fun shapes like turtles and shells or cut by machines into beads. 

While they may not be real sea glass, I still love them. And I love that they’re made of recycled glass. 

And these pieces might be just a tad easier to find. 

What are Brass Ear Wires?

I use brass ear wires from Vintaj only. I love that they’re made in the USA! 

They are made from solid brass (which is 85% copper, 15% zinc), and are nickel and lead free. Each one is hand finished, so the coloring on each piece isn’t always the exact same. I love that!

I love the Vintaj company, and that they use eco-friendly and hand-process finishes for all their components. 

What is Niobium?

If you have allergies to nickel, or any metal, then niobium is for you! This metal is 100% hypoallergenic!

Niobium is a pure elemental metal, and has no fillers-which makes it completely safe to wear for anyone with any allergies.

It’s usually a gray color (found on my website), but can come in a variety of colors like pink, blue, and green (among others).  It gets its colors from passing an electric current through the metal, so the coloring never flakes off!

What is sterling silver?

Sterling silver is marked with “.925” or sometimes just “925.” That’s because it is an alloy metal, with 92.5% (see where the “.925” comes in?) being pure silver, and the other 7.5% coming from another metal, which is typically copper. 

So...is sterling silver okay to wear if you’re allergic to nickel? That’s debatable...sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes the blend of metals that make up the other 7.5% isn’t just copper, and can contain nickel. If you’re really allergic, you should choose a hypoallergenic metal.