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5 Facts About Dichroic Glass Bead And What They Are by Viktoria Carella

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5 Facts About Dichroic Glass Bead And What They Are by
Article Posted: 10/05/2013
Article Views: 576
Articles Written: 21
Word Count: 530
Article Votes: 1
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5 Facts About Dichroic Glass Bead And What They Are

Dichroic glass beads are amazingly colorful, vibrant, and resistant to damage. They are perfect for jewelry makers who are looking for a way to take their crafts to the next level. But where do these beads come from? What are they made of? What does “dichroic” mean? Here are some answers to these intriguing questions, and how you can use them in your next bead project.

1. Where Did They Come From?

Dichroic glass was not originally used in art, rather it was first made in the 1990’s for use in NASA’s space programs. This non-reflective glass product protected satellite mirrors from the intense UV rays of unprotected exposure from the sun. It also neutralized much of the heat that built up around shuttles re-entering our atmosphere from orbit. Because it is nonreflective, it made a perfect heat displacer, and is still used in some projects today. Now, it is most commonly used in artistic endeavours, such as glass beads.

2. What Does Dichroic Mean?

The word originates from the two Greek roots, di (meaning two) and chromatic (meaning colors). If you hold dichroic glass beads up to the light, it appears as if the glass is two different colors in the same place! If you look at it from a different angle, the colors shift and intermingle in fascinating ways.

3. How Do They Make Them?

Making dichroic glass beads is a very involved and difficult process, which is one of the reasons they are so highly sought after. They are created via a process known as thin-film physics. Basically, the glass is layered very finely, about half the size of a fingernail, and in between each layer, oxidants and oils are added. This must be done with the utmost care, as too much or too little of these substances will not come out correctly. No dyes or other coloring agents are used the making of this glass. Instead, the compounds layered within reflect and catch the light in much the same way rain does to create rainbows. The glass is then gently fired to give it the iridescent and shimmery quality, without being reflective.

4. What Can I Use Them With?

Dichroic glass beads can be used in almost any project. However, as they are pretty expensive compared to other beads and are some of the most beautiful, they are most commonly found as centerpieces. The wonderful thing about these beads, is they tend to reflect the colors around them the most. That means they will almost always go perfectly with the existing color scheme of your project.

5. Where Can I Find Them?

The best place to find these beads is online. Many broader craft stores do not carry them, partly because of the expense, and partly because they are relatively new to the art scene. You may also be able to find them in specialty bead stores. Every one of these beads is unique, so if you get a chance to look at them in a shop, pick over them carefully, and find one with the most amazing design!

For more information on Dichroic glass beads and other craft items visit today!

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