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My first encounter with Hotaru Glass (Firefly Beads)

Around 2010, I heard the name "Hotaru dama (firefly ball)" for the first time on Kokusai Street in Naha.

Looking at the Hotaru glass beads accessories lined up in the shop, I was moved to think, "Are there such beautiful lamp work glass beads in Okinawa?"

Okinawa naha kokusai street international

I myself am a lamp work glass beads artist, so I knew there is a way to put silver or gold leaf into glass beads during firing. However, I had never heard that it was called Hotaru dama and became very popular in Okinawa.

hotaru glass blue

While I was so excited in looking at the Hotaru glass accessories in various shops, I started noticing something.

"Somehow, there are many accessories with similar designs."

As a jewelry designer, I immediately understood why.

The reason is that the Hotaru beads craftsmen only concentrate on making beads, and other people are doing the work of processing beads into accessories."

In fact, there are not many craftsmen who can do everything from making beads to the final product as an accessory all by themselves. (I make glass beads, then design the jewelry, and turn them into accessories all by myself.)

It is a pity that the final design ends up being mediocre because the "craftsman who makes Hotaru beads" and the "person who processes Hotaru beads into accessories" are different. The Hotaru glass beads have strong personalities, so it is important to make designs which take advantage of their strengths.

natural stone jewelry by Takashi Hirose
StudioWAZA natural stone jewelry by Takashi Hirose

Many years ago when I was learning how to make lampwork beads, I was already designing and selling natural stone jewelry. I was always thinking about jewelry designs which would enhance the advantages of my lamp work beads. It was natural to apply my designs to Hotaru glass beads also.

"I did not see stylish Hotaru glass accessories like these on Kokusai Street gift shops." I feel very happy every time I receive a review like this from my customers. My jewelry designs can help the Okinawa Hotaru glass industry.

In fact, this website comes up on the top when people search "Hotaru glass" on Google. I'm very passionate about making Hotaru Glass popular.

I have received requests many times, "Please design many more accessories!" I'm making hotaru glass jewelry in parallel with firing my lamp work beads, so I can't release new designs often, but I'll do my best!

As I work while admiring the gorgeous beads made by the Hotaru glass craftsmen, sometimes my hands stop.

In my next blog post "What is Hotaru glass, the meaning and effect.", I will explain the true origin of the popular Hotaru glass.

These modern Hotaru glass accessories designed by Takashi are all available for purchase.

You can purchase from the link to the online shop below.

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