The artists at Renaissance Glass have been working with glass since the mid-1970s. They have developed a line of fused glass jewelry using dichroic glass (pronounced “die-crow-ick”). This type of glass was first developed for scientific applications, such as lasers and space mirrors. It is created by depositing vaporized metal oxides on very thin glass in a specialized vacuum chamber. Since no pigments are used in dichroic glass, the types of metal oxides used and the number of glass layers determine the final color.
“The colors are produced by light being bent, just like in a rainbow or dragonfly wing. Unlike dyes or pigments, which absorb about 50% of the light, most of the light is reflected directly back to your eyes. This accounts for the unusual brilliance of the glass,” explains Frank Tuuri of Renaissance Glass.
“I fire the glass in a kiln as many as four or five times to achieve the right effects.” Each firing reaches 1400 degrees and can take up to 15 hours since the glass must heat and cool very slowly. The glass is then cut, shaped, and polished into finished pieces by hand.