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Embedding things in glass

Hi Guys,

I’m planning for my third year projects, (which is 2012), and I need
to embed items in glass, to make some custom items for one of the

I was thinking that I could use resin, however, I think glass is a
little bit more robust, and it just seems classier.

Anyone done anything similar on the list? Pointers toward the right
direction would be appreciated.

Regards Charles A.

Classy, as long as the “thing” you embed has the same coefficient of
expansion as the glass in which you embed it!


Are you wanting to know what to embed in the glass? In lampwork I
embed CZ’s; copper mesh; copper, silver or gold wire; copper, silver,
gold foil. I once did a mustard seed in a cross I made, but of course
it is burnt. I still wear it. It is the thought that counts. It’s
mine. ("… faith as small as a mustard seed") You can encase another
glass item also, as long as they have the same COE.

Just some thoughts.

find a glass fusing workshop and learn a little about glass. You will
find that compatibility of glasses with each other and with other
materials is critical!

You will get a lot of incompatibility stresses that will cause
spontaneous failures on cooing or at a later time.

A good web site to look at is:


Thanks for the URL. It sounded like “Rock 9” has a lot of Washington
jade on his hands and is wondering how to enhance it by making it
into a clearer and more colourful glass-like material. Was it Nick
who said the ancient Chinese tried to enhance jade and got porcelain?
Maybe by enhancing jade, Rock 9 would no longer have jade (depends on
your definition) but he may also end up with something even better.
Over the centuries, which has made more money? Jade or porcelain?

There is a children’s pottery studio here in the shopping centre. The
children go in and paint all kinds of bisque-fired pottery pieces
with 60 kinds of glaze. They are all mineral mixes are they not? And
what about the resulting enamel/glaze? Is not not glass or

If jade is crushed and pulverized I would also use strainers to sort
out different particle sizes and include particle size as a variable
in the experiments. A furnace to 2000 F may melt the liberated
silicon and turn it to glass while the larger and more mafic jade
which is already super-heat treated by volcanic action and thus
metamorphosed would resist melting. Would a grainy product have
light reflecting and refracting properties because of the glass
mixture to such a degree that this would be an aesthetic enhancement?
Also what other properties would it have to cause improvement or
deterioration? No doubt a lot of testing and trial and error is
required and could be an enjoyable exercise for those of us who like
the idea of harnessing volcanic magmas in the backyard.

If you are imbedding items in molten glass and using kiln annealing
procedures, you will want to take into consideration the
co-efficient of the expansion rates of your items (I am going to
assume metals?) The CE rates must be close to that of the type of
glass you are using, or your glass is going to shatter. Usually with
high quality Copper and Fine Silver you don’t have much to worry
about, and the items you are making need to be well annealed to come
out nice and crack free. With typical Borosilicate glass like System
96 the rate of expansion for three of these items is very similar.

It can also depend a lot on how much glass you are using and how
thick the glass is. I did an experiment with 2mm faceted Moissanite
"Diamond" and also a Genuine Diamond embedded into 3-4 inch round
clear glass orbs when I was in school, and both survived just fine.
It was very interesting to me that the amount of tiny air bubbles
that formed inside the orb containing the Moissanite was greatly
increased compared to the Genuine DIamond orb.

I had to slowly heat both stones in the “garage” in the glass
studio, so there would be no cracking of them when I put them in my
molten glass, (well, less than molten when placing them in. The
glass was semi-solid and pliable enough to marver the stones into
it). Then a gather of molten glass was done over that and then they
were rounded from there and annealed for 24 hours.

It was FANTASTIC how much larger the stones appeared inside the
orbs! I ended up selling the pair at a glass sale we had for 90
bucks. Wish I had taken a photo, now!

My prof always said, “It’s not done until it’s Finished &
Photographed”, and he was SO RIGHT! I really hate it that I did not
document them, even though they were really just marbles with tiny
stones in them, they were pretty cool!


System 96 is not Boro glass. Boro is COE 33. System 96 is COE 96.
System 96 is considered a soft glass. Boro is a hard glass, it is
also what people know the original Pyrex by. In America they sell
Pyrex in soda-lime glass now days, which is soft glass. It breaks
easier. The higher the number COE, the softer the glass it is. Boro
is a real low number, 33. I typically like to use COE 104, but have
used the others on my torch; it is a Bethlehem hand torch with a
detachable base, able to do Boro and soft glass, and metal.

Copper and gold are already added in some glasses. They are used in
some as colorants. Copper is used in making brown, blue and green
goldstone. From what I read once, some monks figured it out by
dumping copper into glass.

Gold is used to make some of the red/rubino glass rods. If you go to
price some of the rubino rods they are quite expensive. That is why.

When I make beads, I have a container of copper flakes I often just
dump a molten bead into. I have some silver flakes, but I don’t do
that as much. Costs more. I have lots of foil, gold, silver and
copper (you have to immediately cover them with a transparent rod to
protect them from the flame). I can also put the mesh into the beads.
Silver wire makes interesting “ball” looking pieces on your bead. And
I have cz’s I plunge into them.

For interesting effects I keep a container of baking soda by my
bench and sometimes put a bead into it and melt it in well. If I use
ivory and turquoise together it looks real neat, kind of more like a
turquoise stone than a bead.

And of course you can make your own murini and embed it.

You need to anneal it. I had one lady tell me at a show recently
that her teacher told her you did not need to anneal it, that it
would last for 80 years without annealing and forever if you did.
She’s wrong. Try dropping them and see the difference. Annealing,
shall we say, calms the internal stress of the glass. Just because it
looks fine today doesn’t mean it won’t break the day after you sold
it. So it is best to anneal, and that means a kiln, not vermiculite.
You can’t get vermiculite to 900 degrees.

Alright, enough from me. It’s 1AM. This was supposed to help you in
glass selection anyhow.


Thanks Val,

Four years in college art studios (well 5 actually) and I am still
amazed at how much I will always be learning. Not that I thought I
had learned it all, by any means. I suppose what I am trying to
convey is how some things I thought I had learned, I then find I
learned wrongly or miss-interpreted and that can be frustrating. I
was always under the impression that System 96 was a boro glass, as
a local glass shop sold System 96 color as one compatible with boro.
Maybe that is where I was confused, as compatibility does not
necessarily mean it’s the same.

In any event, Thank You. I really do mean it when I speak of
learning so much here at Ganoksin and how much the professionalism
with which most all of Ganoksin users/posters is appreciated when
they point out when one is misinformed (or just plain wrong), and
are so willing to educate and act as an extension to one’s
education. There is only so much one can learn in school, and much
of that is very limited in comparison to real world experience. If I
sound like I am gushing here, well sorry, but I am constantly amazed
at Ganoksin and I strongly recommend it to EVERY student and
professional in Jewelry and Metalsmithing as a means of learning and
continuing education.

The passion with which Ganoksin members devote to teaching others
amazes me. Perhaps I am wrong, but I don’t think you can find this
fountain of collective experience and knowledge in most other
professions. Historically, many jewelers and glass makers guarded
their secret trade skills, and often took them to the grave. The
openness and eagerness of this collective is something I value

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