Millefiori glass (in Italian, means thousands of flowers) is an ancient glassmaking technique that creates mosaic-like flower patterns inside glass. It was first invented by ancient Egyptians and used by Alexandrian craftsmen, but now it's a common technique in Venetian glassware and beads.

Blue and red millefiori earrings

 

When I first saw these beads I was fascinated by the psychedelic floral patterns inside the glass. Visually, they stood out to me. But when I learned about the technique, I was even more intrigued.

Square millefiori dangle earrings by roop jewelry


To make these beads, they start by heating a bundle of glass in different colors until they all fuse together. Then the bundle is pulled thin, cooled, and sliced to make small disks with flower designs.

Red, white, and brass millefiori glass earrings
These disks are then added to hot blown glass, reheated, blown again. The result? A brilliant and intricate piece of glass with a psychedelic floral design.

yellow, brass, blue, and clear millefiori earrings
As a maker, the process of handmade beads really spoke to me. Although I didn't make these beads myself, I incorporated these beauties into my jewelry, and made them come to life.