Pulling Goldstone Stringers

Posted on January 11, 2011

Pulling Goldstone Stringers


Making your own goldstone stringer is easy, and they are so much denser than the Effetre pre-made versions.  I know the first time I saw goldstone in a bead I thought- “Oh wow, that is just beautiful!” and immediately purchased some of the premade stringers.  I applied them, and they burned out.  Hmmm.  So I tried again, lowering the heat this time.  And again.  And then gave up on the idea entirely.   then a few months ago I had an opportunity to buy some of these little blocks of goldstone in the “Garage Sale” section of Lampwork Etc., thinking, “I will try and pull my own, it might not work, but it’s worth a try!”  And boy, am I glad I did!   (While these are little rectangles of goldstone, I am sure that the chunks of goldstone will work the same.)


Goldstone is actually glass!  From Wikipedia: "The most common form of goldstone is reddish-brown, containing tiny crystals of metallic copper that require special conditions to form properly. The initial batch is melted together from silica, copper oxide, and other metal oxides to chemically reduce the copper ions to elemental copper. The vat is then sealed off from the air and maintained within a narrow temperature range, keeping the glass hot enough to remain liquid while allowing metallic crystals to precipitate from solution without melting or oxidizing."


These are the little blocks (which are about ¼ x 1”):



Now, something I did notice when I took this picture is that they are all different, some are much sparklier, and some are more subdued.  I have used about 5-6 of these so far and hadn’t noticed any difference in the stringer, so for this tutorial I used one of the blocks that had very little sparkle, just to see how it turned out (and it looks exactly like all the others).


I start with one of my bent up mandrels, and wrap a grape-sized blob of Lauscha clear (I use the soft version) onto the end of the mandrel:




Heat it up so it is really soft, and at the same time, preheat the end of the block (or chunk) gently to it will adhere to the clear:




Set the block into the clear, and begin heating up your clear to encase the block:



Encase the block/chunk of goldstone, the heat from the clear will keep the goldstone hot enough for the clear to adhere, try to keep your bubbles to a minimum (Don't be like me- I always get tons of bubbles, I am not the world’s best encaser):




When you have the goldstone completely encased, it is safe to go ahead and heat it up in the flame:




From this size block of goldstone, I get 2 good pulls, so I heat the end until droopy and then pull:




Then I reheat what is left and pull one more time.




Here are some pictures of the handmade goldstone stringers:



And the hand pulled version (in the front) against the store-bought versions I have.  You can see the saturation of the hand pulled is so much denser, and the color is more coppery:




Hope this helps!  I love incorporating this into my designs.  It is really easy, and it looks great as raised design or encased!  Happy torching! Llaura



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1 Comment

torchfairy   January 19, 2011 at 5:26 pm

  Lovely, I will try it  

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