Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wikibeadia: Borosilicate Glass Beads

We love borosilicate or "boro" glass beads for the muted colors they display. Yet what exactly is borosilicate glass?

Borosilicate glass was invented by Otto Schott in the 19th century and sold under the name "Duran" in 1893. Corning Glass began to market borosilicate glass under the name "Pyrex" around 1915. Borosilicate has a higher melting temperature and therefore can withstand wide variations in temperature.

Modern flamework artists are taking borosilicate glass to new levels far beyond what the creators imagined. Since boro glass can withstand wider variations in temperature, it is particularly suited to sculpture. Some wonderful examples of sculptural beads in borosilicate are these "exotic shells and ammonites" made by Jeremy Sinkus. (Photos from Jeremy's website)

The muted, swirling colors of boro glass enhance the organic subject of the art beads. Jeremy is one of many artists who create lovely boro beads. Others artist work with frit to create lovely beads in boro and soda lime glass. Look for another Wikibeadia post on frit!

Written by Cindy Gimbrone, glass beadmaker and dabbler in borosilicate glass.


LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

Cindy, I've heard that boro glass is more of a challenge to work with, but that once it's mastered it gives a lot more flexibility to the artist because of its higher melting temperature. I wish I didn't have the serious torch fears because these are simply gorgeous beads and look like fun to make.

Great post, Cindy! YAY Wikibeadia

Unknown said...

I love the look of boro glass...these are beautiful!!

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Hi Lynn,

Yes, a larger, hotter torch is definitely needed to work efficiently with boro. Took me quite awhile before I got a larger torch so I understand your fear. I'm still cautious of the flame myself. Fear keeps me following safety guidelines and that's a good thing!

Wikibeadia rules! :-)

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Hi White Iris,

Boro IS yummy isn't it?! Thanks for stopping by!


Ring by Ring Designs said...

I have several of Jeremy's pieces and just love them. I met him a few years ago at the Divine Bead show in Mansfield, MA. Absolutely beautiful. I don't think I'll sell the pieces. I like them too much. You just like to sit and look at them. He certainly has met the challenge working with boro.

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Hi Bev,

Yes, his pieces are just gorgeous - I dare say maybe more beautiful than the real thing!

Thanks for commenting!

AJ said...

Jeremy not only makes beautiful beads, he's a pretty nice guy! I've been his booth neighbor a couple of times at the Tucson shows and he was always very friendly with my boss and I. And of course, I loved being able to look at his beads all day :D