Friday, 28 October 2011

Dichroic Glass ...A Brief Encounter

There's something so alluring about the dazzling spectrum of colours that shimmer across dichroic glass. So it's a jewellers dream to work with.

We can thank NASA for the current ease of access to this beautiful glass as they developed it for use as dichroic filters. However, it has been around a lot longer. Have you ever heard of the Lycergus cup? This is a Roman glass cage cup from the 4th Century. The glass has minute particles of silver & gold in its layers, much the same way that modern dichroic glass is created deliberately by using multiple thin layers of different metals & oxides. This causes different wavelengths of light to either reflect or go through, creating the myriad of colours that also change depending which way you look at it. That's why it can be difficult to capture a photo that in any way reveals the real depth of beauty it has in real life. Any photo is only giving you a brief encounter with dichroic glass.

The above pendants were created by fusing dichroic glass with bullseye glass in a kiln. It's always exciting seeing what happens, as the melting process can be somewhat unpredictable. The end result isn't always what you expect! Once fused, you then have basically cabochons. You can use fibre rope in the firing process, if you need a hole for pendant attachments or you can drill glass (that's another blog topic!) However, as a wire worker, I will simply wrap them in wire & create a loop to attach to any necklace.

The word dichroic is derived from the Greek 'di', which is two & 'chroma', which is colour.


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