I belong to a group, Beading Back in Time, and we have quarterly challenges. This quarter, the challenge was Early Civilization (3500 BC - 500 AD). I decided to make faux roman glass beads and share the tutorial with you. I'm assuming if you're a lampworker and you're reading this, you know certain things, like safety, applications, etc. This is a more intermediate tutorial.
The first step is to make a bead in a color you think resembles roman glass. I chose light aqua and medium blue. You could also probably use cobalt. Make your bead as usual, paying attention to the nicely puckered ends. Once you have your basic bead shape, dip it in baking soda. I use a pyrex glass bowl for mine. Then put your bead back in the flame, allowing the baking soda to burn off and create the pitting. If you want more pitting, put it back in the baking soda for a second time. Next, shape your bead how you want - I used a brass paddle to shape my beads into a nugget shape - then put them back in the flame quickly so they don't shock, and put them in the kiln. Run your regular cycle.
For the next step, I tumble etched my beads in my tumbler with the solution of silicone carbide, size 6 glass seed beads, water and a drop of dawn dish detergent - tutorial here. At first, I ran it for a couple of hours; when I took the beads out, I was not satisfied with the result, so I decided to just run it overnight and see what happened. I have to say that I am quite pleased with how they look.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you're not a lampworker and would like some, please contact me and I'll be glad to oblige!