"They turned out really dark, probably because they were in there for a while. I guess I have to use it last before I start the soak and ramp down. I put it over steel gray trans. and amber trans. and it turned out yuck! So, I guess plain or over opaque, and do them last instead of first...we'll see. Looks like you are the MASTER of pandora!!!!"
(I don't know about the "master of pandora" part! :-D )
I think the transparent amber is reacting with the Pandora to make that yucky color. Is that what you mean by yuck - they turned out dark-yuck? Like you said, try making plain Pandora beads or Pandora over clear, black or white. Something neutral and un-reactive.
When I put each test bead in the kiln, I write down the time so I know how long each bead annealed. The order of striking color goes magenta, purple, blue, green, yellow, opaque red [Edited to add: Double Helix Glassworks says "As it strikes it will go Amber - Ruby - Purple - Green - Blue - Opaque Red"]. If my beads were to turn out dark brick red, they may have spent too long in the kiln. Generally, my beads lighten up the longer they spend in the kiln. A short anneal will give dark purple, and a longer anneal will add in light blue, green and yellow streaks.
Another trick to bringing the color out of Pandora is to really smoosh up the glass. If I'm making a big bead and I have room to twist the glass up a little, I'll do that. How I usually start is I heat a blob of Pandora on the end of the rod, mash it with my mashers, twist it around, then re-heat it into a blob; or, I will heat a blob and then squish it down into a cold brass bead press, then re-introduce it to the heat and make it into a round blob again. When I do either of these things, tiny light-colored spider-webbed lines form on the surface of the blob. I think these spider-webs are the silver grains in the glass activating and getting ready to develop into different colors. After I see a lot of "spider webs" on the glass blob, I will apply it to the mandrel and make the bead. Sometimes I twist the rod as I'm laying the glass down, too.
If a bead is coming out of the kiln so light that it's a pale *poop* color, chances are it never struck properly to begin with. Or maybe it over-struck? I don't know for sure. A bead has to at least get the magenta or purple color first before it will lighten through the blue/green sequence. Why a Pandora bead turns out pale poop-colored is still a mystery to me.
Good luck everyone and I look forward to hearing more of your experiences. Thank you so much for sharing, Sue!