Czech glassmakers have been world-renowned for centuries for their glass-making skills. The natural resources from Bohemia and the surrounding area have been creating glass like no other in the world. Some of the most amazing and striking features that set Czech glass beads apart from other countries are the unique glass combinations. The quality of glass and brilliance of color is intriguing and the variety ever changing .
The glass industry in the Czech Republic is very organized and well planned. Unlike many bead-making regions throughout the world, most Czech factories adhere to a common numbering system for categorizing shapes, sizes and glass color. The following is a list of some of the most common glass types.
Glass Canes and Their Distinctive Properties
Transparent - Light is clearly visible through the glass. This category includes some of the most commonly used bead colors such as crystal and the jewel tone/birth stone colors. This category has been expanding in color depth in the market mostly due to the need for a wide variety of shade variance for intricate beadwork. New colors have also been introduced into the market, most notably Prairie Green (5031) and Tanzanite (2051).
We use the word crystal to describe the beads we carry in clear glass (0003); however it should not be confused with cut crystal. Also, there is some difference in opinion throughout the industry as to whether or not fire polished beads are considered crystal. We consider fire polished beads to be glass since they do not contain lead and we do not want to cause confusion between fire polished and machine cut crystal.
Ruby/Pink - Red and its variances are some of the most difficult colors to reproduce from nature. Not only is it difficult to create but it is also difficult to keep the color consistent over batches. To make the color, the manufacturer must add trace amounts of precious metals, which raises the cost of the glass considerably.
Opaque - No light is visible through the glass. This category includes some of the most traditional colors including jet, turquoise, red and white. Did you know that extremely dark amethyst glass is used to make Jet black beads? No other glass color can become dark enough without adding noticeable hue variances.
Milky/Opal - Translucent glass that has a cloudy, diffused appearance.
Coral - Opaque glass that is not uniform in color. Usually this glass has swirls of color that are either a lighter or darker shade of the main color. This type of glass takes on a different appearance depending on the bead shape and how it is pressed. The coral pattern is more apparent on drucks as an oval swirl on the surface. Fire polished beads tend to have visible swirls of color on the facets. Pressed beads that have indents or raised designs are popular in this glass because of its silky, three dimensional effect.
HurriCane Glass - combination of multiple glass colors that can change appearance and swirl pattern based on the conditions at the time of pressing. Each batch is unique and very difficult to reproduce.