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Unusual repair request for a customer

A customer came to me with a custom piece that was made for him.
There’s no signature on it so I don’t know who made it. It’s a glass
"vessel" with some of his father’s remains in it surrounded by a
sterling frame (sort of). The glass vial has a crack in it and he’d
like to have it replaced. I haven’t been able to find a vial small
enough to replace the cracked one, and I haven’t been able to locate
any artists that do these types of pieces - I’ve done searches but
maybe I’m not using a keyword that relates to this type of work. Does
this type of piece have a special name or category? I want to help
this customer so I’d appreciate any help or suggestions!

Diana Bowlby

You could inquire of some glass beadmakers; many do actually make
hollow vessels,

Visit the forum of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers:

Register so you can post a question. I’d suggest posting your
question on the General Discussion list.

Pam Chott

We once did a coin mounting with two glass sides. We have a machine
to cut glass but it would be by estimate only. Not less than $50.


You could try to contact people who do the art glass beads they are
at least used to working in minature and I don’t think it would be
difficult to puff a little air into glass to make a small vessel.

America’s Only Cameo Artist

Hi Diana,

I’d try looking for a lampwork glass artists, many of which would be
able to create a new vessel.

Do a search for Bead Societies, it’s probably the most efficient way
to find someone that does this type of work close to where you live
and/or work.

In Amesbury Mass there is Charlotte Sorsen

I took a class at Metalwerx with a glass artists who made amazing
vessels. I can’t remember her name but I know she’s a member of the
NE Bead Society

This link was on the Rings & Things site…

Pam Farren

Hi- Have you looked at the Intenational Society of Glass Beadmakers
(ISBG) forum ( I remember a discussion on this
very item a few months ago. Search for “remains” - you should find
plenty of artists willing to help … Kaia.

There are some little carts in the malls which sell a grain of rice
with a name written on it. They write the name right there and put it
in the tiny glass container. Why don’t you check out the malls and
see if there is one of those carts and if they would sell you the
vial without the grain of rice.

Donna in VA

If you are in a mall, checkout what service’s the chain stores
provide, few if any. Then you are the place to go to. As for the
grain of rice, it may be left to the experts to do.


Dana, check out this website - This is what
they say:

  1. Glass Bottle, 1/16 Oz.

1/16 Oz Miniature Clear Glass Vials For Perfumes, Essential Oils,
Small Parts - 100’s Of Uses! BUY 1- GET 1 FREE!!

These tiny, clear glass vials are brand new and in excellent
condition. They are excellent to hold small quantities of expensive
essential oils, perfumes, or even small parts, washers or screws.

These are about 1 1/2" high, and about 7/16 inches in diameter. Each
comes with a black screw on cap with a seal in it for a leak-proof
fit. (Ruler not included.)

Sounds like what you might need.



The name you’re looking for is a “reliquary” (a vessel used to hold

It might be helpful to post the dimensions of the glass and if
possible a photo showing its shape and configuration. I do know some
glass workers, but don’t know if any work in the size you’ll need.
Another option that might occur to some of us with a picture would
be a glass vial used for something else (in the medical field,

Karen Goeller

Hello Diana,

You need another glass vessel for the cremains. I suggest that you
contact the glass blower at the nearest chemistry department. I’m
taking the scientific glass blowing class (at this univeristy) for
fun and have learned much!! My instructor makes the most beautiful
glass globes and other such decorative items.

The scientific glass blower uses Kimex or Pyrex, which when properly
annealed, is quite durable and resistant to future impact damage -
that would be a very good thing for the cremains.

Judy in Kansas where it FROZE the other night - this may spell
disaster for the wild sand plum harvest… bummer!

Hi Diana,

You might try…

…for glass vials - they have an enormous range of sizes and
varieties to choose from, including really, really wee shell vials
(which are, incidentally, usually used for storing insect

The only catch is that you’ll have to buy a lot of them, but they
really aren’t very expensive at all. (Most are under $40 per 100
or gross; some types are as inexpensive as $15/gross.) Maybe you can
start a new line with the remainder!

Usual disclaimers; just an enthusiastic customer.

Jessee Smith
Cincinnati, Ohio