Glass & other crafty goodies

Are you fascinated with glass? Do you often wonder about all those little glass beads that we all 'play' with...How are they made & Who makes them? Well here is the answer...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Did you know...



Dichroic (di-kro-ic) glass is all the rage is glass art, but what the heck is it, really? And what is more, why is it so expensive? Well let me tell you...

NASA had originally developed what we know as dichroic glass for use in satellite mirrors! Dichroic glass is made by vaporizing...YES vaporizing...quartz crystal and metal oxides with an electron beam gun in an airless vacuum chamber and the vapor then floats upward and attaches then condenses on the surface of the glass in the form of a crystals. Usually either black or clear glass is used as the base glass. This can be done many many times over. In fact, some dichroic glass has many of these layers, yet the thickness of the total coating is approximately 35 millionths of an inch...Imagine...Most primary colours require about 15 layers of material while other colours require up to 30 layers!

The purpose of all these little crystal coatings is to bounce & reflect light making this type of glass appear iridescent...think fire opal, dragonfly wings and hummingbird or peacock feathers...


Dichroic glass is made many different colors, such as magenta, emerald, gold, and silver; many different patterns, such as marquis, jet stream, and boxes; and many different textures such as ripple, herringbone, and accordion.

What this means is that making dichroic glass is NOT a DIY project...sadly the process is complex, requires much effort & specific instrumentation, which only a handful of manufacturers are capable of. Now, it makes sense that dichroic glass pieces are more expensive...considering a sheet of dichroic glass is itself expensive costing up to hundreds of dollars wholesale!
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