Dichroic glass has become very popular over the last couple of years. As I have visited stores here and there, these unusual and sometimes mesmerizing pieces of art can be found in necklaces, pendants, earrings, rings and even wall hangings. Choosing a favorite, as I like to do when seeing a displayed array of items, can be tricky. No two are alike though may be similar. I think the pieces that fascinate me the most are the dramatic color changers. No wonder dichroic glass is also referred to as "chameleon glass."
How is it made?
Multiple ultra thin layers of different metals, such as gold or silver and the oxides of such metals - titanium, chromium, aluminium, zirconium, magnesium, or silica - are vaporised by an electron beam in a vacuum chamber. The vapor then condenses on the surface of the glass in the form of a crystal structure. A protective layer of quartz is sometimes added. The finished glass can have as many as 30 to 50 layers of these materials, yet the total thickness can be 30 to 35 millionths of an inch. The coating that is created is similar to gemstones and, by careful control of thickness, different colors may be obtained. A plate of dichroic glass can be fused with other glass in multiple firings. Due to variations in the firing process, results can not be exactly predicted, so each piece of glass is unique.
Making these amazing pieces is certainly not a "Do-It-Yourself" project. Limited supply is due to the requirement for very high-tech equipment and skilled artisans.