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"Fire-polished" faceted beads are a less expensive alternative to hand-cut faceted glass or crystal.They derive their name from the second half of a two-part process: first, the glass batch is poured into round bead molds, then they are faceted with a grinding wheel.Known as Indian beads, they were originally sewn together to form ribbons.The pegboard for bead designs was invented in the early 1960s (patented 1962, patent granted 1967) by Gunnar Knutsson in Vällingby, Sweden, as a therapy for elderly homes; the pegboard later gained popularity as a toy for children.

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Conversely, glass artisans may make beads by lampworking the glass on an individual basis; once formed, the beads undergo little or no further shaping after the layers have been properly annealed.The natural organics include bone, coral, horn, ivory, seeds (such as tagua nuts), animal shell, and wood.For most of human history pearls were the ultimate precious beads of natural origin because of their rarity; the modern pearl-culturing process has made them far more common.Most of these glass subtypes are some form of fused glass, although goldstone is created by controlling the reductive atmosphere and cooling conditions of the glass batch rather than by fusing separate components together.Dichroic glass beads incorporate a semitransparent microlayer of metal between two or more layers.