Lampwork Question.

Q: I've been making some beads with 'Moretti' rods and silver foil. Sometimes when I put the silver on a bead and then case it with clear, it turns an amber color. Can anyone tell me why this is happening? It doesn't get bubbly or smokey like when there's too much propane. I'm puzzled.

A: At 'Embellishment' this year, I bought a beautiful lampwork bead from 'Jeffrey Rogers'. He works in clear 'Pyrex' glass, and he somehow vaporizes silver and gold onto the clear glass as he works. The bead I purchased had nothing in it but clear 'Pyrex' and silver vapor, and yet is an incredible swirl of honey ambers. Possibly some of your silver foil is vaporizing in the heat of the torch. The process you describe is called "fuming" and under only the most careful conditions should this process be attempted. The heat from the flame does indeed cause the metal to vaporize and unless this process is done carefully with the proper ventilation, it can cause terrible eye and lung damage. Please use utmost care when attempting this process. The discoloration you describe, sounds like too much heat has been applied to the foil. Using foil is a very tricky business and just a bit too much heat or too long in the flame and you will have anything but silver color in your beads. Practice makes perfect...use the least amount of heat and work as quickly as possible.