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Handmade Glass Marbles

Classification of Spiral Marbles

Spirals come in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and colors. A spiral is considered to be any marble which has been twisted or cut off at both ends, including micas but excluding sulphides and those solid colored marbles or unusual swirls twisted or cut off at one end. All spiral marbles, with the exception of the mica marbles, have decoration in an inner core, or a color close to or on the outer surface, or a combination of the two. Decorations are variously described as "threads" (widely spaced lines of color) and "ribbons" (groups threads into larger bands of color).

The inner core may be solid or divided, or with a ribbon or net (latticino). The core may be absent in some marbles, or opaque glass in others. Outer coloring near the surface may consist of grouped threads in one or more colors, alternating groups of colored threads, or evenly or assymetrically placed threads. Some marbles may have solid narrow ribbons, solid color around the outside, colors in lines or streaks, colors separated into different colored segments, or no outer decoration.
Photo credit: Michael Love,

Outer coloration at the surface may be similar to coloring beneath the surface or it may be solid outer color applied over opaque glass. Some marbles have goldstone, mica, or colored glass (other than opaque) for decoration as well. Mica flecks may be scattered throughout the marble.

The standard size for small marbles averages five-eights of an inch in diameter, varying from seven-sixteenths of an inch to as large as you want before calling them a large marble. Larger marbles may be as big as two and three-eighths inches in diameter.

A net or latticinio core is formed by a spiral series of alternating colored threads. German swirl type marbles may have two goldstone bands as surface decorations, some with a brightly colored core, for example red, in clear glass with two broad, bright, white-bordered goldstone spirals. Some of the old German spiral marbles are found in colored glass, amber seeming to be the most popular. Often the only decoration is a single broad white ribbon near the surface.

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