Czech glass beads boast a rich heritage of craftsmanship, renowned for their superior quality and intricate designs. Collaborating closely with artisans in the Czech Republic, we are revitalizing age-old molds, introducing custom colors and finishes, and pushing the boundaries of Czech glass bead production through constant innovation. Our frequent visits to the Czech Republic and our ongoing design explorations have deepened our understanding and appreciation for the meticulous workmanship involved.

The period between submitting a bead design to the Czech Republic and its delivery can span from 6 to 10 months, and sometimes even longer! Have you ever wondered what unfolds during those months? The process of crafting Czech glass beads is highly labor-intensive, encompassing numerous steps that may surprise you.

Glass Rods



The initial phase in bead production is the design process. This involves selecting a mold, choosing the glass color, and determining any coatings to be applied. Special instructions are provided if the bead requires cuts, and decisions are made regarding when coatings will be applied in relation to these cuts. The design is essentially a lengthy numerical code, which is then transmitted to the factories. Here's a closer look at the significance of each component:


Factories maintain an extensive inventory of molds for bead production, many of which have been in use for decades or centuries. If a desired shape isn't available, a new mold is created. Each mold is assigned a unique code number for identification.

Glass Rods

The primary material for bead-making is glass rods, typically produced in the Czech Republic. Czech glass is esteemed for its exceptional quality, durability, and wide range of colors, boasting over 900 hues. Glass rod production involves both machine and manual processes, with some colors, like magenta, even incorporating gold. Once the mold is chosen, the appropriate glass rods are selected using color cards, each color denoted by a specific code corresponding to its transparency, opacity, or opalescence.


Coatings, comprising various chemicals, are applied to beads to achieve desired visual effects such as metallic, luster, AB, or Picasso finishes. Each coating is assigned a code number, often available for selection from provided cards.


Once the bead design process is complete, involving the selection of the mold, glass color, and coatings (a step undertaken by us, not the factory), production commences in Czech factories. To offer insight into the factory operations, we've segmented the process into five steps. However, it's important to note that not all Czech beads undergo the same steps; the process varies based on complexity or category.

The primary categories of Czech Glass Beads are Pressed Beads, Fire-Polished Beads, and Table Cuts. Each of these bead types undergoes Step 1 and 2, with subsequent steps tailored to their complexity.


Pressed Machine History:

Before delving into Step 1, it's essential to understand the historical context of Czech bead production. In the past, Czech beads were painstakingly pressed manually, akin to the creation of Czech buttons today. Artisans would manually squeeze melted glass into molds using clamps, a laborious and time-consuming process. One hand operated the clamps while the other handled the glass rod, with an assistant piercing holes using a metal needle. This manual method was challenging and slow, reflecting the craftsmanship of the era.

However, the advent of automated pressing machines revolutionized bead production. One such innovation was the Matura press, designed to accelerate the process, producing more efficient consistent and precise beads. This automated machine can press 30-80 kg of glass in 8 hours, significantly enhancing productivity and quality standards.



All beads undergo Step 1, regardless of their complexity.

1.1 Pressing

Beads are pressed using a machine equipped with an upper section where glass rods are melted, reaching temperatures of approximately 900-1000°C. The molten glass drips through a needle into molds, undergoing automatic pressing. Both the needle and mold require cooling with water. This pressing process shapes the glass into desired bead forms. As the beads descend through the machine's lower section, they are partially separated before dropping into metal buckets (refer to the video below).

1.2 Cooling

Subsequently, the beads are left to cool in metal buckets for at least a day, with the cooling duration varying based on bead size. This gradual cooling process prevents rapid temperature changes, minimizing the risk of cracks and ensuring bead stability and quality.

Pressing Machine: The glass rods are melted on the upper side, and the pressed beads slide down into a bucket.
Raw beads are cooling down in metal buckets.

Step 1.1: Pressing Beads

In this video, you can observe the process of pressing the beads. The machine has a lower section where a series of joined pressed beads move down, and before they drop into a metal bucket, the machine separates them partially.

Bead Workshop
Tumbling in wooden hinged barrels separates the connected pressed beads into a single piece, removing any extra glass fragments around it.
Tumbling in water: This process involves adding beads of different sizes, water, and silica sand into a rotating drum.



All beads go through Step 2 after being pressed and cooled down on the metal buckets.

2.1 Tumbling In Wooden Hinged Barrels

As we can see on the "Pressing Beads" video, once the beads are pressed, they don’t come out as a single piece, but connected in a row. Tumbling is the process to separate them into a single piece, so the extra glass fragments around the bead can come off. They use wooden hinged barrels to spin the beads depending on their size and shape for between 20 seconds to 5 minutes.

2.2 Separation

After tumbling, the beads and the leftover fragments will be separated through a vibrating sorter. The sorter will have 2 different sieves, one will allow the beads to go through, while the other, only the smaller pieces. In this way, the extra fragments and the beads are going to be separated into two different containers. The leftover glass fragments can be melted again into new rods.

2.3 Tumbling In Water

Once the beads are separated from any leftover fragments, they will still be rough and require another tumbling process to achieve a smooth and polished surface. This process involves adding beads, water, and silica sand inside a rotating drum. The factory mixes 40-60 kg of beads in different sizes and shapes inside the same drum. During the tumbling process, the beads continuously rub against each other while the sand wears away the rough edges and surfaces of the beads. The variety of bead sizes inside the drum improves the speed and quality of the smoothing process. The water facilitates movement, carrying away debris and helping to achieve a polished finish.

The tumbling process duration ranges from 1 to 7 days, depending on the complexity of the bead. If the beads have cuts or coatings, their tumbling process will be just a few days because more steps will be applied to them. However, if the beads are plain (without coatings or cuts), the tumbling process may take longer to achieve a polished or matte finish as this will be their last step before they are finished.

While the machines are tumbling the beads, an artisan will check them every day, change the water, and add anything needed.

Step 2.4: Separation

Watch this video to see the beads being sorted by a vibrating machine. The machine has multiple sieves to sort the beads according to their shapes and sizes. 

2.4 Separation, Cleaning, Rinsing and Drying

After the tumbling process is completed, the beads are taken out of the drum and carefully examined to ensure they meet the required standards. To eliminate any residue, the beads will be cleaned, rinsed and dried. Once again, they will be separated by using a vibrating sorter. The sorter will consist of at least two different sieves to separate the beads of various shapes and sizes that were tumbled together. If the pressed beads need to have a coating, they will be sent to the next process. Otherwise, the pressed beads are considered finished.



Czech glass beads are renowned for their intricate designs and vibrant colors. The decoration process involves adding various types of coatings, such as metallic finishes, luster coatings, AB coatings, or coatings with special effects like Picasso finishes. In this text, we will explain one of the most common ways to apply them.

To begin with, the beads need to be thoroughly washed and dried and then heated in an oven. This step is essential to ensure that the beads are hot enough for the chemical to be applied evenly to the surface of the beads. Once the coating is applied, the beads are left to dry on wooden trays.

At this point, the color coating may not be visible, as the final color will only appear after the beads go through a second round in the oven. The beads are then placed on metal trays and heated to a higher temperature for about 2 hours to properly bond the coating to the glass surface. Afterward, the beads are left to cool down, washed and dried before being packed.

Our Czech factories follow EU regulations regarding toxicity in consumer products, which are just as strict as those set by the State of California for products sold in the USA.

The unique color combinations we use in Nirvana Beads are the result of mastering this process. Through experimentation, we have learned how chemical coatings behave on each glass color. Depending on the complexity of the beads, they may go through the coating process 2 or 3 times, making it an even more intricate process.

Step 3: Adding a Coating

In this video, you can see how the coating is applied evenly to the hot beads

1- Before applying any coating, the beads are placed in the oven to heat up.
3- After the coating has been applied, the beads cool down on wooden trays.
2- The coating is applied to the hot beads.
4- Once again, the beads are put into the oven so that the coating can properly bond to the glass surface.
Pressed Beads: Acorns


Pressed beads are considered finished after going through Step 2 (Tumbling) unless they require coating, such as Picasso or AB finish. In such cases, they proceed to Step 3 (Coatings). Unlike fire polished or table cut beads, pressed beads do not undergo any cutting process. Therefore, they have a simpler process that involves fewer steps. Acorns, Round beads, Tribal Bicones, Birds, Daggers, Melons and Drops are among the pressed beads in our inventory.

In summary, pressed beads go through Step 1 (Pressing), Step 2 (Tumbling), and most often Step 3 (Coatings). They do not proceed to Step 4 (Fire Polishing) or Step 5 (Table Cut) unless they require cuts, facets, or table cuts.


If pressed beads are going to have faceted cuts, they will undergo Step 4 after completing Steps 1-3. However, if the beads are going to have table cuts, they will skip Step 4 and go straight to Step 5.

When we refer to "fire polish beads," we often think of small faceted round beads used as fillers. However, the fire polishing process is much broader and extensive. For example, Rondelle and Saturn beads are also fire-polished. The common factor among them is that all fire-polished beads have facets covering either the entire surface or a portion of it. These facets are machine-made and have sharp edges. The only way to achieve a shiny surface on these beads is through the use of fire, which is why they are called "fire-polished beads."

4.1 Faceting

After a bead has gone through Step 1, 2, and 3 of the bead-making process, it undergoes a faceting process. This process can be done either manually or semi-automatically.

Manual Cutting:

In the manual cutting process, the beads are placed in a grinding apparatus that holds them in a row. The artisan then locks the beads to the apparatus so that they do not move when exposed to the grinding machine. The apparatus is then placed towards the grinding machine, and in order to create facets around the bead, the artisan has to manually change the position of the row of beads towards the grindstone. Grinding times depend on the size of the beads and the hardness of the glass. One machine can hold 25–100 beads in one row, and one facet can take from 1 to 20 seconds. While the beads are being faceted, water is running to cool them down and avoid cracks in the glass.

Semi-automatic Cutting:

In the semi-automatic cutting process, the artisan threads the beads onto the grinding apparatus, which is then placed inside the machine with an automatic grinding setup. The artisan only loads the rows, while the machine does the cutting and changes the position of the rows towards the grindstone. After the beads are faceted, they are washed and dried before being polished.

4.2 Fire Polishing

After the faceting process, the beads may have a matted appearance and need to be polished using fire. This is done by heating the beads in a high-temperature furnace or flame until the outer surface of the glass begins to melt and become glossy.

The polished beads are then placed into trays or sticks, which are run through a 20-foot-long oven. A belt in the middle of the oven carries all the trays from one side to the end. Smaller beads go directly into trays, while larger beads are inserted onto metal sticks without touching the tray. Once the beads have finished their time in the oven, they will cool down on metal buckets.

The beads are collected from a pile using a metallic ruler with holes in it.
The artisan is adding the missing beads before locking them into the grinding apparatus.
The grinding apparatus should be positioned towards the grinding machine. The artisan must manually adjust the position.
Manual Cutting Workshop
The fire-polishing oven is 20 feet long.
Large beads are placed in trays that are then put through the oven.
Fire polished beads


Fire polished beads are more intricate than pressed beads because they require more labor and time for creating the facets and cuts. Once they go through Step 1 (Pressing), Step 2 (Tumbling), and sometimes Step 3 (Coatings), they are finally ready for Step 4 (Fire Polish). It's important to note that Fire Polished beads don't go through Step 5 (Table Cut). These beads have intricate cuts and facets that make them unique. 

In our inventory, you can find different types of fire polished beads such as Rondelles, Saturns, Faceted Ovals, Cathedrals, Crown Beads, and small Faceted Rounds that we use as fillers. 

On the left side of the image, you can see the Picasso faceted rounds that are fire polished beads. They are manually faceted to create the final beads that you can see on the lower side. The faceting process removes some of the Picasso finish, making the beads transparent, and then they are polished through fire.



To produce table cut beads, they go through Step 1 (Pressing), Step 2 (Tumbling), mostly Step 3 (Coatings), and Step 5 (Table Cut). They don’t go through Step 4 (Fire Polish). 

Table cut beads are a type of glass bead that has a flat surface on one or both sides. To achieve this cut, the beads are placed on a metal round disk with glue on it, so they can stick to the disk. The disk, along with the beads, is then exposed to a rotating grinding wheel. The bead side exposed to the wheel is cut flat, resulting in a table-like surface.

If the bead requires cutting from both sides, the artisan repeats the process with the other side. Once both sides have been cut, the beads are polished with a special grinding wheel to achieve a smooth and shiny surface.

Most table cut beads undergo a process known as Step 3, the coating step. This process creates a contrast between the coated surface and the untreated area of the bead.

The disc has glue, so the beads can stick to it.
The beads will be affixed to the disk using glue.
This is how the disc will face the grinding wheel with the glued beads.
Hibiscus table cut beads


Table cut beads are now finished and ready for use. These beads have a flat surface that some people refer to as “windows” because they are transparent and one can see through them. Our inventory includes most of the Hibiscus Flowers, Sun Coins, Kiwi Beads, and Spindle Beads which are table cut. However, it’s important to note that not all Hibiscus Flowers, Sun Coins, and Spindles are table cut. Some of these beads are only pressed and don’t have the flat cut surface that table cut beads have.



After undergoing all the necessary processes, the beads are subjected to a quality control inspection by skilled artisans. They examine the beads for any defects to ensure that they meet the desired standards in terms of size, shape, color, and overall quality.

All of our beads are strung using nylon, and most of the work is done manually. We inform each factory about the number of beads that will be placed on each string, which depends on their size and shape. Finally, the strung beads are packaged and prepared for shipping to our office.

They use this machine to string a certain type of beads.

Nirvana takes pride in preserving tradition and delivering beautiful results to our customers.


All beads are a work of art that begins with the designer’s imagination and is then crafted by skilled artisans in the Czech Republic. Have you ever considered the intricate process that a small bead undergoes before it reaches your hands? This is where the magic happens! Nirvana Beads is thrilled and proud to offer you the opportunity to experience this process firsthand.