While looking for some true Hispanic jewelry I ran across dichroic glass jewelry. Initially I didn’t know what it was. Only after being spellbound by its beauty I started researching about it.
I didn’t recall seeing much of this type of jewelry in Latin America. In my mind, I clearly assigned countries like Italy, specifically the town of Murano, to the handmade creation of glass jewelry.
I still remember taking the small vaporetti to the island of Murano where fantastic shops displayed some of the most exquisite glass jewelry I had even seen.
Later on, I came to realize how different murano glass or any other type of glass is from dichroic glass.
To my surprise, Mexico is one of the best places in the world to find true artisans who make jewelry using glass that has oxides or layers of metal in it. Dichroic glass jewelry is not the same type as glass jewelry you normally find.
To make it, the artisan uses glass that has layers of metals like gold or silver, and after vaporizing the oxides of those metals, the remaining product lets the light either to pass through or be reflected differently depending of the angle.
The result after vaporizing the oxides of the metals in the glass is the creation of unique colors and shades in each piece that makes it exquisite. Creating dichro glass is expensive because of the complex process to do it and the equipment it requires. Therefore its supply is also limited.
Dichroic Glass Jewelry from Mexico
Some of the most exquisite pieces of glass jewelry use glass beads, and “dichro” jewelry like many call it, is not an exception. Here in both sections, above and below, you can find pendants and sets that artisans worked with glass beads.
The history of dichro glass is interesting. It started in NASA in the 1950’s and 1960’s when engineers designed it to use it as optical filters. it is simply a super-thin coating of metal oxides and quartz.
This technology is fairly new and it caught the eye of artists because of its beauty, especially the incredible rich palette of colors. This glass is so sought after today that a new market of faux dichroic glass exists, and you can easily find distributors of it.
Dichroic glass pendants and jewelry are now part of Latin jewelry. They are so special because artisans working with this glass must be very skilled. They must work with it using a flame and that can be tricky.
The glass has to be pliable enough to manipulate, which can only be by applying heat and at the same time, the flame can’t come in direct contact with the coating.
Any slight change in temperature can cause a very different effect. That is the reason you always get a unique piece that can never be exaclty reproduced.
Artisans from Mexico are particularly skilled at working with this type of glass, and their creations are the fruit of lots of research and work to produce some of the best Hispanic dichroic jewelry I have ever seen.