Answers about general information

General Information

Will it break?

All glass beads are properly annealed for strength and durability, but they are glass, so breakage can occur if they are not handled properly

Do you have store hours so I can see everything in person?

I do not have a brick and mortar store. Please look at the list of stores under SHOP NEAR YOU.   Or look at the list of EVENTS for the year.

What is your shipping and handling policy?

Most orders are shipped for the flat rate of $8.50. If you are ordering a larger quantity than can fit in the box, I will be in touch about adjusting the rate.

Answers that help you understand the process of making beads from glass

Making Beads

How many hours a day do you spend making beads?

I prefer to work no more than 4 hours on any given day, although during crunch times, that can increase up to 10 hours/day. I do, however, need to take a break every 30-40 minutes because of the repetitive micro-movements involved.

How long did it take you to learn how to make beads?

It is a process to learn how to make beads. I took lessons for one year before I felt remotely capable. I continue to take classes about bead making and glass every year so that I can continue to improve. Much of learning to make beads is about practice, and I've practiced a lot!

Do you burn yourself?

I don't burn myself that much now that I've learned a few safety tips. But glass does fly sometimes and it sticks when it is hot. I keep burn cream in the studio at all times.

How long does it take to make a necklace?

It depends totally on the piece. Each individual bead might take from 5 minutes up to a couple hours to make. Then, if there are fine silver (99.9% pure) components that I make individually, they take several steps and hours of time to create. If any of the beads are matte finish, there is a process of masking the parts that remain shiny, waiting for them to dry and then dipping them in acid before final clean-up. Putting a necklace together takes a minimum of 20 minutes to several hours depending on the components and design.


Mason Jar

How did you get this idea of melting Mason Jars for beads?

In 2005 after my Father’s death, I had brought home a green glass bottle that was
originally sold containing prune juice. Some people will remember it as a 9” tall 3.5”
wide, square embossed green bottle with the imprint WATER on one side and JUICE on
the opposing side dating from 1950-1960. It was used as a water bottle in our refrigerator
when I was growing up and still being used by my Father. I set it on the table of my
then, new glass studio which was in a carriage house attic with no heat. I was making
glass only when I could stand the ambient temperatures. Somehow it got broken and I
was sad that the physical reminder of a memory was gone. Or was it? I make things
with glass and fire…..why couldn’t I do something with this? So I ended up
experimenting with the glass and thinking through the ‘rules’ of glassmaking to be sure
that I would come out with a stable item. I created several beads that were given to my
daughter and relatives. It was a lovely way to share the ‘memory’.
At that time, I lived in the Finger Lakes Region of upstate NY wine country. I began to
make things out of wine bottles for a friend’s winery. The next development was to
make things for brides from their wedding wine bottles.
Then I was helping my friend Karen disseminate her Mother’s belongings after her death
and she asked me if I would make her something out of an Antique Mason Jar we found.
Her Mother had many jars and Karen donated them to me for future experimenting.
People who saw the Mason Jar beads were fascinated with the color and the memories it
evoked. Thus a new line of beads was begun.
I continue to develop the process of making interesting beads from a singular color.
Keeping the glass stable from breaking apart when cooling is the challenge. So I am
always experimenting with how to make a bead interesting with shape, design and texture
from the same jar batch since adding other glass elements could create instability. I love
a good challenge.

Is working with the jar glass different than other glass?

As I continued to experiment with using the jar material there are many rules that I
needed to consider. The recipe for each jar was a little different because of the quantity
of iron and other materials in the glass. This is evident by the ‘color’ of the glass. Older
glass is paler green and then there is what is now called “Ball Blue” or aqua.
Sand, Soda and lime are the basic elements found in the formula for glass. The natural
color for these jars made by the Ball brothers in Muncie, Indiana was aqua because of the
amount of iron in the sand used. Different companies used different stockpiles of sand.
By approximately 1937, the stock-pile of sand the Ball co. was using was depleted and
the last of the jars in that color were made. As time moved on, clear glass became the
standard of purity, so glassmakers started adding manganese to decolorize the glass.
When manganese was no longer available because of WWI, they turned to selenium.
What I had to consider was that each jar could contain different ingredients and should
not be combined with another jar because the degree to which a material expands and
contracts with temperature called the Thermal Coefficient of Expansion (COE) could
cause it to be unstable and break immediately or later. So when I’m making beads, I
keep the bottle pieces separate and use only that jar batch for the entire bead. Any raised
glass designs using ‘glass stringers’ (thin rods of glass created by pulling when molten)
are made from the same jar batch as the base bead.

How do you make beads from jars?

The glass is melted at a torch (propane & oxygen combination) of 3000º and
reshaped from the molten glass. Raised designs on the beads are created by using glass stringers (thin rods of glass created by pulling when molten) pulled from the same jar batch. Raised designs vary because they are applied free-hand at the time the bead base
is created in the flame. All beads cool with a shinny finish and matte finish beads are
dipped in acid then hand polished. Combination beads containing a matte and shiny
finish (such as the pendants with raised designs) take several more steps to produce. The raised design is painted with a resist glue type material that needs to dry to create a
barrier from the rest of the bead. Then the entire bead is dipped in acid for a time,
removed and then rinsed several times. The resist glue is then peeled off and the final
bead is polished by hand.

What is the history of the fruit jar?

The history of the fruit jar is extensive and there is a plethora of information on the
internet as well as many books. Some highlights are that John L. Mason filed the patent
with the U.S. Patent Office on November 30, 1858 for a new fruit jar with threads
creating a hermetic seal. He was a tinsmith by trade and not a glassmaker. So he
licensed others to make the jars. Clayton Parker was the glass blower who made the first
Mason jars in a shop owned by Samuel Crowley.
Mason licensed the production of lids and jars out to separate entities which is why most
Mason jars have interchangeable lids. The development of the lid took several steps to
the version we know today.
Mason’s original jar patent expired in 1870 and opened the way for hundreds of glass
manufacturers to pick up the patent and keep Mason’s name on the jar.
Brothers Frank and Edmund Ball in Buffalo, New York, were one of the many who
produced a line of fruit jars referred to as “Buffalo Jars” from 1885 to 1886. The Ball
factory went up in flames and the brothers were enticed by city officials in Muncie,
Indiana with a gift of seven acres of land, a rail line to their future factory and abundant
natural gas resources. The brothers later developed a powered glass-blowing machine
which increased jar production dramatically with the “Ball” brand.
The story continues as grocery wholesaler Alexander H. Kerr filed a patent for a jar lid.
He is also credited with producing the “wide mouth” (3” opening) jar. Ball copied and
produced this same jar. In 1930 Kerr’s wife took over the helm of running the company.
Rose Kerr was the first woman executive in the glass-blowing industry.
There are numerous stories and tall tales of Mason jars, Moonshine and World War II
rationing of food and the advent of the Victory Gardens to learn about and not enough
space here to share. Today’s collectors are a great resource of many of these stories and
The abundance of jars is evident when people see what I am doing and frequently say, “I
have a few of my grandmother’s jars!” or “My Mother has an attic/garage/basement full
of these!” or “I just threw out a whole bunch of those!” or “I just saw a box of those at
an auction!” Collectors are known to gasp when they hear this and worry about the
history being lost. There were millions of jars made and I respect the collectible ones
with special numbers, lids, shapes and irregularities. I do my best to get them back in
the hands of collectors as well as the lids which I do not need. So fear not, I am using up
the jars that would otherwise be buried in a landfill or are already broken.

Do you need more fruit jars?

Yes, I’m happy to take older (not clear) jars you might be interested in moving along.

What is the going price for fruit jars?

I’ve seen prices from FREE upwards of 40.00 each, depending on it’s collectability.

Will you make me something from a family heirloom jar?

Yes, I’m happy to make you something from your jar. I suggest you consider designs
that I’ve already made so that you know the pricing. If you wish to work together to
create an ‘original’ design, I charge a minimum 50.00 design fee based on time spent.

Answers that help you understand about orders, special orders and/or shipping your order

Order Information

Do you accept custom work at request?

I am happy to consider a project that you might suggest, if it is a variation on something I already have designed (e.g., different colors, shapes, size variations). Custom design work is not considered at this time. If I don't feel I can meet your need, I will do my best to suggest someone else you may contact to help you.

How do I figure out what size bracelet to buy?

Measure your wrist with a soft tape measure and give me that measurement. I'll add a little "slack" for wearing.

Can a necklace or bracelet length be changed?

Sometimes the length of a necklace or bracelet can be changed a little. It's worth asking me.

Do you have clip-on earrings?

On occasion I will have clip-on earring findings. They are more expensive and a fee will be charged to cover the cost of the replacement.

Answers about policies & services

Policies & Services

What is your return policy?

If you receive something that was damaged in shipment, please call me immediately (within 3 business days) to make arrangements to return it for replacement, if possible, or for a full refund.

If you receive your purchase and it's not what you expected or you have changed your mind for any reason, please contact me and return it in its original condition and packaging, with the invoice, within 7 days of receipt, for a refund (excluding shipping).

How do I qualify for coupons?

Sign up for the on-line newsletter. Coupons are randomly mailed throughout the year to customers on this list.

Do you have Gift Certificates?

Yes, Gift Certificates are always available. Please contact me at 607-227-3859 or send me an email

Do you wholesale?

Yes. Minimum first order with Sales Tax ID. Please contact me to discuss your needs.

Do you consign your work?

Rarely unless the business is local. Please contact me with details to consider your proposal if you are local.