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Silver beads making


Hello Everyone,

I am looking for technical on sterling silver bead
manufacturing. Bali type, liquid silver, history of ss beads, etc.
If you have any references (books, articles, word-of-mouth,
folklore…etc…) I would appreciate some help. I was surprised by
the lack of public info on the topic. I have no err…production
ambitions. It is just for my personal education. Thank you,



No single source describes how silver beads are constructed but the
can be found here and there in every culture around the
world from ancient times to the present. The earliest reported
example of doming metal is from Etruscan gold bracelets and
granulated spherical beads.

Most cultures hammer sheet metal into domes from a concave mold
(dapping block) and join two domes with solder to form a bead. The
familiar Bali beads have been in existence for centuries in the
Near, Middle and Far East. For example, in Morocco, formed domes
are decorated with wires and small balls (granulation), brushed with
liquid solder and fired with a butane torch. The two domes then are
soldered together. Next, glass enamel is placed in the design and
fired with a torch, with glass build-up as in cloisonne. In another
method (Thailand), very thin silver tubes are tapped from the inside
to form a globe and filled with a mixture of soya, plantation rubber
and pig oil to provide stability. The filled bead is hammered with
patterns (repousse).

For more, see Beads, by Janet Coles and Robert Budwig, Jewelry
Concepts and Technology by Oppi Untracht and The History of Beads by
Lois Sherr Dubin. Another excellent source is Indian Jewelry Making
(Vols.I and II) by Oscar Branson.

In my book, Doming Silver Beads (shameless promotion) I put together
a unique set of techniques to make spherical silver beads based on
the history I could find, and from books written by metalsmiths from
about 1800 to present. My book does not include a history of metal

I do not know how the modern commercial plain silver bead is formed
but it has no solder line. These readily available beads, even as
small as 2-mm are hollow, perfect and inexpensive. But, if you want
to add “Bali bead” type designs, you probably need to start with
your own beads because the commercial bead is thin-walled. Handmade
silver beads are available retail mostly from Native American and
Mexican sources, and from the American-produced and Bali-produced
"Bali beads."



Hi everybody, Here is a great website that sells bali style beads.
They have a great section regarding the manufacture of beads in the
articles section: HTH Dan T.