We’ve talked about the different types of glass, now let’s get into the artistic elements. While there are hundreds of different names and terms that are used to describe glass, some of the popular ones that aren’t commonly known about are CFL, UV Reactive, and glass additions such as Opals.
CFL or Compact Fluorescent Light was made in 2014 by Glass Alchemy. This glass appears one color in sunlight, and shifts to another in fluorescent light. This is because of particles in the glass that reflect under certain conditions. A common CFL color is Sunset Slyme, which changes from a muted pale pink to a vibrant green under bright lights. CFL is slightly different from UV reactive glass.
UV Reactive simply means molecules in the glass will glow under ultraviolet light, making very vibrant colors shine where they weren’t before. These two types of glass are not to be confused with Uranium glass, made by Josef Reidel in the 1830’s, which contains Uranium dioxide that shines under UV light. Usually, UV light will make the glass glow vibrant primary and secondary colors but there are constantly new colors being created!
Opals are another fun addition to glass. While real opals found in nature are created with pressure and water, the opals you find in pieces will all be made in a lab with a combination of silica and resin. This is because the water in natural opals causes it to explode with the intense heat needed for glass blowing. While it’s unfortunate that we won’t have any real gemstones in our glass, the bright side is that lab grown opals come in many more colors than you would ever find outdoors, making it easier and cheaper to add sparkle to any piece. You may see whole opal ‘stones’ or find them crushed up and scattered throughout the glass to add shine in certain areas. While it can look very similar to Dichroic glass and shiny stringers, the difference is the materials.
If you’re ever unsure about what the shiny pieces in your glass are or what techniques were used, you can reach out to the artist! Most of the time they are very responsive and informative, they may even have a few pictures of your glass online!