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Recycled Glass Beads - Helping the Planet and Looking Fabulous!

Recycled glass can be used for much more than for just making new glass containers. When we think of recycling glass we typically think of turning in our old beer bottles to make...more beer bottles! And why not? This is something that we should all be doing to try to help cut down on wasted resources. Yet, recycling to make more of the same seems awfully boring, doesn't it?

Luckily, for those of us who are slaves to fashion, there is a much more hip second-life for our old beer bottles and various glass objects: beads! Not only can we fight to save the planet, but we can look good doing it!

Recycled glass beads come in many forms. My favorites are beads made out of beach glass. These are shards of broken glassed washed smooth and frosted by years and years in the ocean, and then churned up on a beach somewhere. The most beautiful beach glass beads are light sea-foam greens, or deep, azure blues.

The glass used is often older, heavier glass that is less fragile than the glass used in today's containers. Artisans will typically use the shape of the shard that was found, and the edges are already smoothed so there's no risk of getting cut. Plus, the frosted look created by the constant rubbing against sand over time gives the glass an air of sophistication.

Another type of recycled glass bead has been around for years and years and is still made using the same processes. Found in the African country of Ghana, Kiffa beads are sought after for their rustic and native beauty.

Kiffa beads are made by packing powdered glass into molds usually made out of sand and then heated to melt the glass together into a single bead. This very ancient technique is used to make very intricate and delicate designs.

The powdered glass used in making Kiffa beads is typically crushed glass from old bottles. This type of bead making has become an art form, and artisans in Africa know exactly which types of bottles to use to bring about the striking combination of colors in their beads.


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