Sunday, May 9, 2010

Testing: Why It's Important for Good Dichroic Jewelry Design

Dichroic glass is often used to make fused glass jewelry because it adds dimensions of depth and sparkle that can change in different lights and when viewed at different angles. This is because each sheet is coated with 30-50 ultra thin layers of different metals (gold, silver), metal oxides (titanium, chromium, aluminum, zirconium, magnesium) and silica. In fact, the coating created is very similar to that of a gemstone.

Dichroic on Clear and Black Glass (Smooth and Textured Bases)

To complicate things a bit, dichroic glass has a transmitted color and a completely different reflected color as certain wavelengths of light either pass through or are reflected. Thus, here's a case where what you see is not always what you get. As dichroic glass is the most expensive type of glass, testing is important since the glass will change after it's fired. The color of the base glass (if clear dichroic is used) and the use of a clear glass cap will also effect the end result. So, typically, test swatches are useful as they allow you to see the final result without wasting much glass. Test swatches also create a library of colors as unfortunately, colors vary by manufacturer and sometimes by batch.

Notice how the unfired glass on the right looks lime green.

As I start being more intentional about making fused glass jewelry from dichroic glass, these swatches will be handy for design. Here's an example of a finished pendant:

No comments:

Post a Comment