How to avoid pitfalls when buying lampwork beads.
A good lampwork bead should be uniform in shape with neat beading holes that pucker nicely. They should be kiln hardened - otherwise known as annealed - for around 5 hours. Annealing the bead makes it less likely to break when you drop it or knock against something. Lastly, it should be properly cleaned, Steer clear of those with a thick white powdery substance in the beading hole - unless you are prepared to clean them yourself with a reamer. If you do buy beads that aren't cleaned you should clean them under water, as bead release - the white powder - is harmful if you inhale it. Many of the apparently cheap ones are not such a good buy as they are rarely annealed or cleaned properly. Lampwork beads are not cheap to make or buy but they are unique and worth what the artisan asks. Hope this helps!