Sheet of dichroic glass, courtesy of Weisser Glass Studio & Gallery, MD
Because this material is so stunning, dichroic glass pendants simply had to feature in our fundraising portfolio.
Too much metal and too much shine can quickly make any object, especially a piece of wearable art jewelry, look a little garish. However, when the right amount of sparkle is added, it becomes elegant and refined and will…pop!
Because we learned so much when we researched this topic, we thought we’d share a little history behind this design element where the interplay of light and color constantly change. What exactly is dichroic glass? How is it made? Why is it so valued? And, just how do you pronounce that word?
The word dichroic is pronounced dye-crow-ik and comes from the Greek language. “Di,” means two, and chroic is derived from “chroma” which means color, with the combination signifying “two-colored.”
Contemporary lampwork beads display an intense metallic sparkle
Most examples will
both transmit and reflect light, so when it moves or the light moves,
one will be able to see a variety of different colors and hues. The
results in an item of handmade jewelry, such as pendants that feature
dichroic glass, can be absolutely stunning. A constantly changing
interplay of light and color, with limitless possibilities!
One of the earliest fully preserved examples of a dichroic glass object is The Lycurgus Cup which is exhibited in the British Museum in London. It dates back to the 4th century AD and is thought to have been made in Rome. The figures in relief that decorate the cup depict a mythological scene with Lycurgus, a king of the Thracians. The glass that it is made from contains minute particles of colloidal gold and silver which give it remarkable optical properties. When light passes through it, the otherwise opaque green cup transforms into a glowing translucent red one. Quite extraordinary!
NASA has developed ways to use dichroic glass and protect astronauts from unfiltered sunlight and cosmic radiation
The more recent method of making this glass was actually developed in the 1950s by NASA for use in satellite mirrors and materials to protect astronauts from unfiltered sunlight and cosmic radiation. Subsequently, it was possible to make it on a commercial level and glass artists started incorporating it into their handmade glass jewelry designs.
Pastel shades and silver glitter for a 21st century necklace
Making dichroic glass is a process that is complex and requires great precision. Anything from 15 to 50 alternating layers of silicon and metallic oxides are deposited onto the surface of a sheet of either clear or black glass and vaporized in a vacuum chamber, using a high-voltage electron beam. The time and temperature are carefully controlled in order to achieve the required effect.
If the colors are not obtained by applying agents such as paints or dyes, and the oxides themselves have no intrinsic color, then how are they created? By the manipulation of light! Some wavelengths of light are transmitted (pass thorough) the dichroic coating while others are reflected (blocked). The range of colors, color combinations, patterns and effects is vast and glass artists can let their creativity flow with endless possibilities.
The equipment and materials used to make it are costly and it is highly regarded by both discerning buyers of glass jewelry and those who wear it.
Because of the technique used to make the dichroic glass sheets themselves and that used by our glass artists to incorporate this element into our designs, every one of our dichroic glass pendants is a unique work of art. They form part of our collection of Gift Ideas For Her.
Periodically we will be adding pages to showcase a variety of topics about decorative glass. However, we now invite you to learn about the technique of glass fusing by visiting our Glass Fusing and Fused Glass Jewelry page. You’ll see how decorative elements and layers of glass on glass can make a pendant pop!
As we mention on our Home page, our mission is to support a number of not-for-profit organizations so they can continue the great work they are doing in their respective fields, such as health, animals, children and the environment.
This is done by creating unique, handcrafted glass pendants with designs that reflect their aspirations. We are constantly updating our portfolio and, in addition, develop commissioned, limited edition items for both private and corporate fundraising events. Our slogan is right underneath our logo and it reads “every pendant, every time, helps a cause.” Welcome to our
Return to History of Glass Making
Delphi Glass, based in Lansing, MI, not only supplies a lot of the dichroic glass we use in our pendants, it is a company with a story to tell, which we’d like to share with you.
When Dan Daniels became interested in glass making he discovered there was not a single company that addressed the needs of beginners like himself and allow him to fulfill his dream of taking art glass out of the studios and into people’s homes.
In 1972 he started selling a handful of products out of his garage. Today he offers over 30,000 items and even has instructional online videos to assist both amateurs and professionals with their purchasing choices and help them achieve optimum results from their glass making skills.
Delphi also gives a percentage of its profits each year to fund its Arts in Education Program for schools, universities and colleges around the country.
Find out more by visiting http://www.delphiglass.com/dichroic-glass.