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Roman glass

Ancient glass makes beautiful contemporary jewelry

In 2006, this Roman glass, which is estimated to be between 900 to 1200 years old, was excavated from the Nimroz province of Afghanistan. Similar ancient glass has been found in northern Africa. The typical shades of blue and green come from different mineral impurities in the sand during the time the glass was made, and the surface iridescence resulted from oxidation over time. I like the simplicity of the disks, so I added old glass cylinder beads and knotted them on thread in two colors. 

SUPPLIES 

Necklace 34 in. (86 cm)

  • 25–35 mm Roman glass pendant
  • 6–10 15–20 mm Roman glass disk beads  
  • 8–12 3 mm glass cylinder beads 
  • 36 in. (.9 m) braiding string in 2 colors
  • scissors
Earrings
  • 2 15–20 mm Roman glass disk beads
  • 2 3 mm glass cylinder beads
  • 2 7 mm bead caps 
  • 2 2 1⁄2-in. (6.4 cm) decorative head pins
  • 2 5 mm jump rings 
  • pair of twisted-wire earring wires
  • chainnose and roundnose pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters
  • bench block or anvil
  • hammer

Roman glass strands from Hands of the Hills, 206.232.4588, hohbead.com; The Bead Goes On, 866.861.2323, beadgoeson.com; and Happy Mango Beads, happymangobeads.com. Check your local bead store for supplies.

INSTRUCTIONS

roman glass a1
Step 1
roman glass a2
Step 2

1. Cut a 36-in. (.9 m) piece of braiding string. Cut another piece in a second color. Over both pieces, center a pendant and tie an overhand knot.

2. Over all four ends, string a 3 mm bead and tie a knot. On each side, pair a string of each color.

 
roman glass a3
Step 3
roman glass a4
Step 4

3. On each side, string each end in opposite directions through a disk. Bring the strings around the top of the bead. Tie an overhand knot with each pair.

4. a. String a 3 mm and tie a knot. b. Repeat steps 3 and 4a until the beaded section is within 10 in. (25 cm) of the finished length.

roman glass a5
Step 5

5. On each side, tie a knot about 2 in. (5 cm) from each end. String a 3 mm and tie a knot. Trim the excess string. Tie a bow to wear.


Earrings

roman glass b1
Step 1
roman glass b2
Step 2

1. On a decorative head pin, string a 3 mm bead, a bead cap, and a disk. Bend the wire up at a right angle to the disk.

2. Hammer both sides of the head pin and both sides of a jump ring.

Roman glass b3
Step 3
Roman glass b4
Step 4

3. Position your roundnose pliers 1 in. (2.5 cm) from the end of the head pin and pull the wire over the pliers. Wrap the end around the stem between the bead cap and disk.

4. Open the jump ring and attach the dangle and the loop of an earring wire. Close the jump ring. Make a second earring to match the first.

Tip!
  • Braiding string is also called braiding thread.
  • The original beads are strung on cotton cord with beads or knots between them. The beads range in size and thickness, with 20–25 beads and one pendant per strand.
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