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Dichoric Glass - Market?


Let me start by saying that I really love dichroic glass and have
used it in several of my favorite pieces.

Now, having said that, I had an interesting interaction with a
reputable gallery-owner recently. This gallery is in a nice,
touristy, artsy area and features one of the best selections of
artisan jewelry that I’ve seen. Really nice stuff and a nice range of
artists from all over the U.S., which makes me tend to trust their
judgement. (And they’ve been in business for a while, which tells me
that they’ve been at least somewhat successful at it…)

We were talking about dichroics and the owner rather dismissively
said “Oh yeah. We’ve done those and are past it now. The market
thinks it’s old hat.”

I was a bit surprised at his comment. I’m seeing some really lovely
pieces come into the market as the artisans creating the glass
"mature" in the technique, which leads me to think that it could
become more popular over time, rather than less.

So what are you all seeing or hearing? Is it a trend that’s on the
downside? Or is this owner just missing the mark in this case?


Handcrafted and Unique Artisan Jewelry


Of all the imitants and synthetics that I have seen, dichroic glass
is the most impressive. Fire agate is nature’s equivalent, but I am
afraid that nature doesn’t do this one quite as well. I am prompted
to think that dichroic glass is the wave of the future and that one
couldn’t go wrong using it. If you sell it as what it is and if you
utlitlize it artistically I don’t see how you can go wrong. I have
never advocated substituting natural gems with synthetics, but when
man makes a product that stands alone…why not ? ( Moissanite be
damned ! ) Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, Ca.

I am prompted to think that dichroic glass is the wave of the
future and that one couldn't go wrong using it. 

I agree with you, Ron, that dichro is exciting stuff, though I think
I’d say calling it “the wave of the future” may be overstating it a
bit. What it IS, is an exciting new material. It isn’t an imitation
of any gem, it’s a new material to be used in the decorative
applications the same as we use other materials, including gems,
metals, or enamel, ( the skilled use of which can be quite close in
effect to dichro, certainly more than fire agate.) I actually think
it’s doing the stuff a disservice to try and compare it to a gem, or
think of it as a man made gem and thus somehow synthetic, since it
really isn’t such. It’s a different material that doesn’t try to be
some other gem. It is what it is. The only real similarity to gems
is that we usually have to approach it as a gem in terms of how we
technically go about including it in jewelry (bezels, prongs, or

Whether one will go wrong in using it, of course, depends entirely
on what one is making. Just as one or another alloy of gold,
platinum, or silver will be most appropriate for a given use, so will
the choice to use one or another additional decorative element such
as dichro glass or a gem or anything else.

And the thought from some that somehow dichro is now passe or old
hat, really misses the real point. Designs, and the aesthetic
validity of a piece of jewelry don’t, or at least shouldn’t, depend
on whether the stone or decorative elements are someone new and
wonderful, or for that matter, expensive or not. It depends on how
they’re used, and the creativity of the designer using the material.
If a designer uses some new incredible material before anyone else,
and it’s the first use ever seen of some such great new thing, yet
the design is crap, then the whole piece of jewelry will be crap too,
no matter how new and wonderful the material. And if a design is
well done and original, then whether a material used is some now
popular fad or some old tried and true favorite, is also then

Dichro is a new possibility, among several we’ve got that don’t
follow old traditions. We have to get used to using it well as
designers. I think it is actually better once the newness has worn
off, since then it becomes more a factor of whether the material is
used well or not, rather than the “gee-whiz” factor of it’s newness.
Then it will stand on it’s own real merits and characteristics,
instead of fad and marketing hype.

Peter Rowe