Fenton Art Glass is anticipating the national release of a new line of glass jewelry beads to occur within the next few months.
George Fenton, president of Fenton Art Glass, said the 106-year-old company is constantly looking for ways to remain relevant and competitive in a tough market.
"We noticed a change in recent years in what people are buying," Fenton said. "Because of that change, fashion has become more important to our independent retailers. Our new line of beads is a good opportunity for us to get into something different, while continuing to maintain and do as much traditional product as we've ever done."
Fenton said the beads were introduced into the market through the Web site late last year, then in the factory gift shop in Williamstown and most recently at Sorelle, in downtown Marietta.
Fenton Lampwork Beads are similar to Troll and Pandora beads that are already on the market and very popular.
"We asked many of our vendors what we could make that people would want to buy that's special, and the most common response was 'Anything you can wear,'" Fenton said. "These fit the bill."
Visit the Fenton Gift Shop in Williamstown, or call 1-800-319-7793, Ext. 282 or 323 for more details or to order.
Sorelle of Marietta, on Front Street.
The beads are handmade through the lampwork process, which manipulates glass by the use of tools, gravity or blowing air, Fenton said.
Fenton is world-renowned for its ability to produce a wide variety of high quality glass, something Fenton said will set the bead line apart.
"Our abilities to produce varieties of colors and our hand painting creates a niche for us," Fenton said.
The beads are expected to cost about $35 a piece, similar to the Pandora or Troll lines of beads and pendants.
Suzi Hendrickson, manager of Sorelle of Marietta on Front Street, said there has been growing interest in the Fenton line since they began carrying the items last fall.
"Tourist season is starting and there are always people coming to the area to see Fenton - old or new - and of course, these beads are like little pieces of artwork," she said.
Hendrickson said the beads are compatible with nearly all of the most popular European- style charm bracelets on the market today.
"They can help create or complete a truly unique bracelet," Hendrickson said. "I like the hand painted ones because it gives you the feel of wearing a little piece of Fenton artwork."
Many of the beads are decorated with little rosebuds or flower designs, popular on more traditional Fenton pieces.