Dichroic glass is a type of glass that exhibits two different colors when viewed from different angles or under varying lighting conditions. This unique property is achieved through a special coating that is applied to the surface of the glass. The coating is made up of multiple layers of thin materials, often metallic oxides, that reflect and transmit light in different ways, resulting in the appearance of different colors.

dichroic glass

Dichroic glass is widely used in various forms of art and crafts, including lampwork beads. Lampwork is a technique of glassworking where glass is melted using a torch flame and shaped into various objects, such as beads, sculptures, and ornaments.

In lampwork bead making, dichroic glass is incorporated to create stunning visual effects. Here's how it's used:

  1. Base Bead Creation: The lampwork process begins with melting and shaping the base glass. This is the foundation of the bead's design and can be transparent, translucent, or opaque glass. The artist shapes the molten glass using tools and techniques to form the desired bead shape.

  2. Dichroic Coating Application: Once the base bead is formed and while it's still hot, small pieces of dichroic glass are applied to the surface. These pieces can be in the form of thin flakes, chips, or even pre-cut shapes. The dichroic glass pieces are carefully placed onto the surface of the base bead, and due to the heat, they adhere to the base glass.

  3. Heating and Fusing: After the dichroic glass pieces are applied, the bead is reheated using the torch flame. The heat causes the dichroic glass to fuse with the base glass, creating a seamless integration. This also allows the dichroic coatings to interact with the light in intricate ways, producing the characteristic color-shifting effects.

  4. Shaping and Refining: While the bead is still molten, the artist can manipulate it further to shape and refine its appearance. This may involve using various tools to create patterns, textures, and contours.

  5. Cooling and Annealing: Once the desired design is achieved, the bead is allowed to cool slowly in a controlled manner. This process is called annealing and helps to reduce internal stresses in the glass, ensuring its durability.

The resulting lampwork beads made with dichroic glass exhibit vibrant and dynamic color changes as they catch and reflect light from different angles. These beads are often used in jewelry-making, where they add a unique and captivating visual element to necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other accessories.

dichroic lampwork beads

Dichroic glass enhances the artistic possibilities in lampwork bead making, offering a way to create intricate and visually stunning pieces that stand out due to their color-shifting and reflective properties.

August 10, 2023 — Stephanie White

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