I've finally had a chance to make some silver cored beads! I started by using brass tubing before using more expensive silver, and the first couple I made went really well. I used some reject beads with dents and imperfections on them. Once polished up the brass was really bright, they almost look gold! The hole through the middle is about 4.9-4.7mm, and the metal is put in after the beads have been made and cleaned.
I also tried some copper, but it was much thicker and I kept cracking the beads, but I'd got more confidence using the press and so switched to silver. I had some breakages, I seemed to go just a little too far at the end as one broke into three bits. Typically it was a really nice bead too! The next couple came out ok, then I had two nice ones chip, I guess I was getting too over confident at this point! Both were made with blood red glass with purple lusters and sparkles, I will certainly make some more of those as I really liked how the effect came out. I took some photos of them before I have to smash them up to get the expensive silver back out.
Finally I got three nice silver ones made, including quite a chunky one with some nice green swirls. Oddly even though I used the same silver tube the hole came out a little smaller (about 4.4mm, the others are between 4.9-4.7mm which I am told fits alot of the bracelet chains made for these beads) I guess as there was more silver in this one.
It's been quite expensive buying the press, silver, mandrels and bits and bobs, but overall I really like the effect, and boro really lends itself to these sorts of focal beads. I should have tried doing these years ago, especially after prowling around shopping centres this weekend. I am so spoiled looking at some of the amazing handmade ones from other UK lampworkers, I didn't realise how boring the mass produced ones are! I am certainly going to make more of these, I am going to have fun dreaming up new colour combos, so please let me know if there is any you'd like to see!