Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Pure Dichroic Jewelry
When I very first began dabbling in fused glass jewelry making I was very sparing in the amount of dichroic I would use. Often nothing more than a small chip as an accent for a pair of post earrings. I guess I wanted to get as much out of this relatively expensive material as I could. It also took me many months to discover which dichroic materials were useful in the design ideas I had. I like to use dichroic glass in a way that imparts a sort of gem like quality to the glass. I like the colors of the glass beneath the dichroic layer to show though, which is why I rarely use dichroic on black. You can buy dichroic glass on black glass or on clear glass. Yet even some of the clear glass dichroic coatings are too opaque to allow the lower layers to show through. Whenever I ended up with this sort of dichroic I would usually use it for etching (which is also the ONLY reason I would buy black glass dichroic).
As I began to experiment more and more with this fascinating material, as well as view the work other dichroic artisans were doing, I realized I needed to get much more liberal with my use of dichroic glass.
One day I wondered what an all 100% pure dichroic piece would look like, so I made one, and I was really happy how it looked. I also enjoyed how baffled people were that saw it and tried to figure out what it was made from. At our local craft fairs we discovered that there were relatively few people who even knew of dichroic glass. I'd tell them it was dichroic and they would think I said acrylic. Eventually I finally came up with a quick and not too technical explaination of what dichroic is. "It is a high tech optical coating that adds sparkle and gemlike qualities to glass". Of course it actually does more than that. It changes colors depending on the angle viewed or lighting conditions.
The pure dichroic pieces I offered at our Summer long craft fair did quite well, so I began to make more. With just the right combination of dichroic layers you could have a very striking piece. With the wrong combination you have a dud. While I still make duds, I make far fewer than I used to, now that I know which materials do what.  If the top layer of your piece is more opaque than all the lower layers, you have a dud, and have wasted all the lower layers.
My favorite all dichroic heart pendant belongs to my wife Christina. I did not make note of the materials used to make it and haven't been able to make another like it. I've made a few similar, but none as colorful as hers.
My most recent pure dichro piece is an owl pendant I'd planned for a while, but I needed just the right combination and variety of dichroic glass to bring out the owls features. The body is made from two layers of  yellow/violet dichroic. The breast  and eyelids are made from magenta/green Dichro Magic, the eyes are made from a pink/silver and the beak is Candy Apple Red dichroic. As the craft fair season is fast approaching I'll be making more and more all dichro items. Having a big, sparkling, colorful all dichroic pendant displayed right at the front of your booth really catches the eyes of those passing by.


lynette said...

I just came across your blog and I have to say your work is stunning!! The little owl is one of the cutest pieces I have seen in ages ~ it will be a huge seller :^)

Russ said...

Thank you Lynette!

Mary said...
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