What is Venetian glass?
Venetian glass is made in Venice, Italy, and is known around the world for its beauty and craftsmanship. The skills behind the creation of the glass had been well-developed by the 13th century, and by the end of the century, the industry behind making the elaborate and colorful glass had moved to the island of Murano.
What is Murano glass jewelry?
Murano, Italy, is a commercial port located off the shore of Venice. During the 10th century, artisans in Italy were becoming well-known for their glassmaking. By the end of the 13th century, the Venetian Republic, out of fear of fire, moved glassmakers out of Venice and onto the island of Murano. By the end of the 14th century, the glassmakers were making glass of such high quality and beauty, that the island’s inhabitants were granted special privileges by the Republic and were greatly admired by citizens in Venice.
Today, Murano still produces its trademark glass, which is often used in jewelry and known as Murano glass jewelry. The use of superior raw materials by glassmakers, who have passed their skills down from generation to generation, results in glass that is famous all over the world for its elegant, classic beauty. Each piece is a work of art, made by the hands of artisans who understand and appreciate the complicated process of producing glass that is worthy of upholding the Murano name. To own a piece of jewelry made from Murano glass is considered by many to be a luxury.
What is Roman glass jewelry?
It is believed that people in the Roman Empire relied on glass more than any other ancient civilization. Archeological digs in Israel have unearthed remnants of glass used by the Romans – pieces which are beautiful due to exposure to the elements over the past centuries. A fragment of glass that may have once served as a jug or vase might today be used as part of a necklace, in a bracelet, or as earrings. Roman glass tends to be aqua and iridescent in color, having been transformed by centuries of sun, wind, rain, and earth. Such beautiful glass, coming from the Holy Land, is sought after not only because of its gorgeous look, but also because of its historical significance. Because archeologists rarely unearth large amounts of the same glass, most fragments used for jewelry tend to offer very uniquely individual pieces.
What is sea glass jewelry?
Sea glass, also known as beach glass, is colorful glass that is found on the shores of bodies of water. Any body of water that has had glass tossed into it can produce sea glass, although larger bodies that have movement of water, such as oceans, lakes, bays, or rivers, typically produce the largest amount and widest array of colors of sea glass. When glass bottles and other glass debris are in the water, the movement of the water breaks the glass down. Over time, the glass tumbles over rocks, is dragged across the sand, and is worn down by water, creating smooth pieces of frosted glass which are perfect for creating jewelry. Colors of sea glass are valued differently, based upon their rarity. For example, red sea glass is highly sought after, whereas white is very common and considered to be less valuable. Sea glass is easily used for all types of jewelry—a small drill can used to form holes in the glass for pendants, bracelets, or earrings, making sea glass very easy to work with.
What is fused glass jewelry?
Fused glass jewelry is created by cutting glass into different pieces, arranging them by layering, and then heating them in a kiln. The glass softens at around 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, and at 1700 degrees, the glass melts. Therefore, 1700 degree Fahrenheit is considered the fusing temperature, the point at which the glass flows like honey and creates the unique look of fused glass. Once the desired look is created, the piece is slowly cooled and eventually prepared for jewelry. The fused glass can be cleaned and used as-is for jewelry, or it can be further enhanced by shaping with tools or melted again. The glass might be heated as many as three more times at lower temperatures, called fire-polishing. Hardware can be used with fused glass to create all types of jewelry, and fans of fused glass jewelry are drawn to the interesting combinations of colors created by the melded glass.
What is recycled glass jewelry?
Many artists today are eco-conscious and in an effort to reuse items that already exist, as opposed to creating more waste, they use post-consumer glass to make jewelry. Antique glass, as well as old windows, broken kitchenware, and used soda, wine, and beer bottles saved before they can be dumped in a landfill, are repurposed to make beautiful and interesting jewelry of all types. The salvaged glass is typically cut and then fired in a kiln to smooth rough edges, bring out color, and improve texture. Each piece of glass can be used individually, or several pieces can be fused together to form an entirely different look. Using recycled glass is a creative way to utilize items that might otherwise end up clogging landfills. Artists are able to craft beautiful, memorable, and eco-friendly pieces of jewelry out of glass that is generally considered, by the rest of society, to be trash.
What is dichroic glass?
Dichroic glass is known for its unique ability to reflect many different colors under different light conditions. Like a prism, it has the ability to produce rainbow-like colors when observed from different angles. The colors are brilliant, making dichroic glass an interesting addition to jewelry and other decorative items.
Fabrication of this glass is based on thin-film optics. Layers of glass and micro-thin layers of metals such as gold, silver, or their oxides (titanium, silica or chromium) are fused under high temperature in a vacuum chamber. A thin protective coat of quartz or any other variant is applied on the resultant crystal. This produces a beautiful non-translucent glass with color shifting properties. Dichroic glass is actually thinner than a human hair but may have about 30 to 50 layers of metals stacked on it.
The most striking feature of dichroic glass is the huge range of brilliant iridescent colors that it comes in. Various color combinations are created due to the melting of different colors together which harden into unique pieces of glass.
Photo of sea glass by Akuppa John Wigham