Dichroic glass, commonly called dichro for short, is glass that bends light to reflect colors like a prism that forms a rainbow. I’ll give you a hint on how it is pronounced (dye-crow-ick) because I certainly didn’t get it right the first time I tried it. The unique feature of this glass is that it does not use dyes, paints, or any other type of coloring agent to create a unique color.
It is made up of multiple micro-layers of metallic oxides that give it the ability to reflect colors. I thought that because of the way it gets its color, the dichroic glass would be pretty new, but it dates back to at least the 4th century AD. and is derived from the Greek words “di” for two and “chroma” for color. The beauty of CBS dichroic glass is that it appears to have more than one color at the same time, especially when viewed from different angles.
Some say that NASA contractors get credit for developing dichroic glass because they used it in the dichroic filters. It is quite surprising to think that the glass that we can use to make jewelry can also be made into something that was adapted for use in satellite mirrors in the 1990s and was also used for re-entry tiles on space shuttles.
Dichroic glass is similar to the Italian Murano glass-making process and has been used in Italian styles of ornamentation for hundreds of years. I couldn’t find out exactly when it became popular in our country for use in jewelry, only that in the last decade it seems to be growing in popularity. One reason I think this is so popular for jewelry making is that due to the process used to make this glass, no two pieces are identical.
You would think that due to the process involved in making dichroic glass it would be extremely expensive, but I have seen some really beautiful jewelry at a very reasonable price. If you like unique jewelry, be sure to check out items made from dichroic glass.