You may have seen beautiful jewelry that was labeled 'dichroic' and wondered what exactly that means. Dichroic comes from Greek meaning two colors. The glass appears to have different colors when viewed from different angles or in different degrees of light. In basic terms, it means that dichroic glass reflects one color when light reflects off the surface and transmits a second color when light passes through it.
The process used to make Dichroic fused glass is highly technical and is called "Thin Film Physics". It is an expensive process in which the glass is first cleaned at the molecular level and then coated with thin films of elements such as titanium, magnesium, zirconium, and others. The elements are vacuum deposited on the glass. Up to thirty layers can be applied and the elements used are those that give the glass the different colors available. The time required in the vacuum container can be from two and a half to four hours, hence the high cost of this unique glass.
The glass is sold to artists in small sheets which are then cut by hand to fit the artist's design and fused in an oven for eight or more hours at temperatures that can reach over 1490 degrees. Dichroic glass is also available in glass rods for the lamp art artist to produce beautiful beads. Murano artists use a torch and glass rods to produce the beads on mandrels which are then also placed in an oven for about an hour to anneal.
Fused dichroic pendants have become the novelty of the jewelry world! The nature of glass generally makes these pendants statement pieces because they are as unusual and obvious as handicrafts. Many artists make pendants unique or in small editions. Pendants are a great gift because, although they are handmade, you can buy them at an attractive price. The pendants come in many color options and combinations, and the dichroic accents add an affordable sparkle. You can have a different pendant for every day of the week! These pendants make great memorable gifts.