At this time, there are three major suppliers of silver glass rods. By silver glass, I mean glass rods with high amounts of metal in them which cause a variety of reactions in the torch or the kiln. I prefer to call them boutique glass manufacturers because their produces are made in such small quantities and command such high prices, they are in a class all their own.
These specialty glass colors have only been around for a few years and the first one to jump into this market was Double Helix. There are a lot of good things I can say about the line of specialty glass colors that Double Helix produces. The owner Jed Hannay is passionate about making interesting 104 COE glass colors and his palette of reactive and striking colors is stunning. The first Double Helix color that I really got hooked on was Triton. Triton is a great beginner color to start with because it always does something interesting. The easiest way to use Triton is to apply it to a bead and turn down the oxygen in your flame and pass the bead through the “reduction atmosphere” and the Triton will turn brilliant silver. If you keep passing the Triton through this type of flame, it will continue to develop more color over the initial silver like pink turquoise and bluish purple. In rod form, Triton looks like Cobalt Blue transparent and I find it helpful to tag my Triton rods so that I do not pick up a plain Cobalt Blue rod by accident while making a bead.
There are many more Double Helix colors that are currently available for the adventurous lampworker and some of these colors are Elektra2, Gaia, Kronos2, Nyx, Khaos, Terranova2, Psyche, Luna2.1, Pandora, Aurae and the latest offering Ekho. Ekho is amazing because you can get a wide range of colors from transparent amber, teal, greens, blues and a ruby pink and it gets a stunning metallic sheen over all these colors.
The other two silver glass manufacturers are Precision 104 and TAG Glass, also known as Troutman Art Glass. Both of these manufactures have made an impressive number of reactive and striking glass colors in their 104 COE palettes and they have their passionate followers who love what their colors do.
I have personally only used a few of the colors from either company. The color “Tibet” from TAG Glass caught my attention this past winter and I made a whole strand of melon beads out of Tibet. Tibet produced a fantastic range of colors that worked well in the simple melon bead shape.
Another of the very popular Double Helix colors that has a growing fan base is “Psyche”. Psyche looks like a dark transparent Purple, but it does fantastic color changes when placed over glass colors that have a lot of silver in their composition. Some good base colors are Opal Yellow, Silver Pink, Stoneground and Canyon de Chilly.
A lot of the silver glass colors like to be worked in a hot flame. I learned this the hard way because I tend to work very cool because I do a lot of dichroic work in my beads and dichroic doesn’t like it hot. When working the new DH glass called “Ehko“, it helps to heat theEhko until it looks clear and then let it cool and then turn the oxygen down to reduce the surface to a metallic luster. Once that is done, encase the bead in Double Helix “Either” in a neutral flame.
Experimenting is the way to get familiar with what the silver glass colors do under different situations. I learn new things every time I work with these special glass colors, so light your torch and give these colors a try.