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wildwire 2015-09-29 5:56pm

List of glass colors & things NOT to be used?
Is there a comprehensive list of what not to use for Beads of Courage submissions? I see a comment here or there but would like to post something at the studio I teach at that lists everything.

What about etched beads?

Is turquoise, copper green, metallic black or dark silver plum allowed?



RSimmons 2015-10-01 10:28am

The list of things to NOT use is pretty short. No metallic surface beads from reduction glass or frits. Some contain silver, some contain other metals and it's impossible at this time for our volunteer sorters to tell on from the other. We also recommend that you minimize surface decorations that might break off easily, remember that these beads take quite a bit of handing.
Thanks much

wildwire 2015-10-02 2:15pm

Thanks for replying...I was hoping for a list of actual color names.

echeveria 2015-10-03 6:48am


Originally Posted by wildwire (Post 4793899)
Thanks for replying...I was hoping for a list of actual color names.

It would be a big task to list, and then keep current, reducing and striking metallic glasses. Perhaps a better approach would be to ask about a specific glass you are considering if you aren't sure. Most suppliers will list whether a glass is reducing or contains silver, and silver glass is pretty pricey.

And, when in doubt, encase in an unleaded clear.

RSimmons 2015-10-03 4:32pm

There are too many color names to keep up with and list. As Kathy said (thanks), any glass that produces a metallic surface has to be encased in non-lead clear. Even if the manufacturer says it contains only silver, if it's metallic is must be fully encased or it goes away. Until someone is willing to donate a hand-held XRF spectrometer so we can check for lead on the surface we will have to disallow any beads with metallic surfaces.

Etched beads are fine but I strongly recommend that you fully neutralize the etching acid by rinsing and then soaking the beads in washing soda for about 15 minutes before a final wash. Otherwise they continue to etch slowly and develop a white, powdery surface.


Elektra 2015-10-05 12:20pm

Thanks for the clarifications.
I know a few people seem to have read the rules and understood it to mean no silver glasses at all. I'm glad I was correct that they need to be encased, and not on the surface. :)

RSimmons 2015-10-06 5:46am

That's correct, it's what is on the surface that makes the difference. You can use virtually any glass you want so long as any of the metallic surface glasses are fully encased.


isaberg 2015-11-18 1:24pm

Which clears are unleaded?

JetAge Studio 2015-11-18 1:50pm

As far as I'm aware of, the soft glass, all the Eff., Double Helix, TAG, Spectrum 96 are free of lead. Bullseye clears also do not contain lead. Gaffer & Reich 96 coe have some with lead (leaded crystal for example), so you'll have to check which ones do or dont. I'm not familiar with lead content in Lauscha, Czech or other brands so maybe you can specify what brand you're wanting to use and we can check for you. :)

PattyK 2015-11-19 12:02pm

I think Kugler has a lead crystal also.

glassmaker 2016-03-02 1:19pm

I just happened to stumble across this thread. As a maker of silver glass, albeit on a rather small scale, I would like to clarify a few things regarding the use of silver glass for BOC beads - or have clarified for me by Robert if any statement I make below is inaccurate.

One, silver itself is not a problem metal. Considering that silver is a very commonly used metal in jewelry, it would at least seem not to be. Yet the specific mention of it in Robert's first post makes it sound otherwise. "No metallic surface beads from reduction glass or frits. Some contain silver, some contain other metals and it's impossible at this time for our volunteer sorters to tell on from the other."

Obviously, silver glasses are the most common reduction glasses, which I believe is why he mentioned them specifically. But in this context I think statements like that confuse a lot of people. It would seem more prudent to mention a hazardous metal that is undesirable on the surface of a bead, with a statement like, "No metallic surface beads from reduction glass or frits. Some contain LEAD, some contain other metals and it's impossible at this time for our volunteer sorters to tell on from the other."

To the best of my knowledge (and I HAVE researched this) the issue with silver glasses is ONLY with beads that have a metallic surface, the so-called "silver reduction glasses". And the problem with those is the inability of BOC volunteers to determine easily what metals cause the surface iridescence - i.e., those which leave an iridescent surface solely from silver cannot easily be discerned from other glasses on which the iridescence may be partly or mostly from far less desirable metals, such as lead. Hence the blanket ban of beads with a "metallic sheen" on the surface, no matter what the glass does or doesn't contain. This makes perfect sense. The chemical composition of an iridescent surface can't be determined by naked eye, and it's extremely impractical to test every BOC bead with a reduction surface to determine what metals the surface consists of.

But this has caused ongoing confusion about whether or not ALL silver glasses are banned from BOC beads. The short answer is NO, they aren't. Even on the surface of a bead - as long as they do NOT have a reduction (iridescent metallic) surface.

I've run into this misinformation several times in the past, including a couple of times when I was going to donate some of the non-reduction silver glass I make to people making BOC beads, as well as very recently in online statements by my own (and Robert's) local beadmaking group.

Here is the exact text addressing this issue from the
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"We ask that you refrain from using reduction frit or glasses that give a metallic sheen on the surface due to heavy metal issues with these materials."

Nowhere in the guidelines are silver glasses specifically mentioned - because they are NOT banned. Only beads with a metallic surface sheen (reduction surface) are verboten, no matter what that iridescent surface results from.

Speedslug 2016-03-04 1:03am

That's a good point Brad.

RSimmons 2016-03-08 10:10am

Thanks for taking the time to write this out, Brad. You are correct in that it is the metallic sheen on the glass surface that is the real problem - we can't tell silver from lead or cadmium by just looking at it so ALL metallic surfaces are a problem. We still can't afford a hand-held spectrometer to check these beads so I'm sorry to say that they all end up in the same pile. If someone would like to donate one please let me know.

Older editions of Rubino Oro and Evil Devitrifying Purple also are not suitable for a bead surface even if they aren't reduced to a metallic surface due to the demonstrated lead content in these glasses.


rainygrrl 2017-06-15 7:06pm

I was just going to ask about Rubino, because of the gold. I had no idea about the lead!

Thanks Robert and Brad!

rainygrrl 2017-07-03 9:24am

How about Z-99?

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