I have heard some talk on the beadmakers grapevine about problems keeping some of the beautiful opal colors that are available through CiM/Messy Color translucent and I decided to run some tests to see if I could find a resolution to this problem.  If you don’t already know, to call a glass color “opal”, means that the glass has a translucent quality rather than being transparent or opaque.

I tested nine (9) of the opal colors from the CiM/Messy Color palette and got some interesting results.

I tested Rose Quartz – 511907, Crocus – 511660, Chalcedony –511550, Ghee – 511346, Plum – 511658, Kyptonite – 511449, Poison Apple – 511487, Ming – 511562 and Electric Avenue – 511547.

To retain the translucent quality of these opal colors, I made clear beads and placed a very thin skin (less than 1mm thick) of the opal colors over the clear bead.  I did this by melting a gather of an opal color and used the press and smear technique to spread the color over the clear bead, as many times as it took to cover the clear bead.  I then marvered the bead smooth and used a mounted razor blade tool to create the final melon shape.


Out of the nine (9) colors that I tested, five (5) of them remained translucent and they were Plum, Rose Quartz, Ghee, Chalcedony and Crocus.  The other four (4) colors that I tested went into the annealing kiln as translucent beads, but opacified slightly during the annealing cycle and they were only translucent in the grooves of the melon shape.  The four (4) colors that opacified were Ming, Poison Apple, Electric Avenue and Kryptonite.

I am going to do further testing to see if I can come up with a way to keep the four colors that opacified, more translucent by blowing shards and covering the clear core bead with these to achieve a very thin layer of color.

I have seen different glass colors, both transparent and translucent from all the different glass factories manifest this characteristic of opacifiying in the flame or the annealing kiln, so it is not a problem that happens exclusively with CiM/Messy ColorsCiM/Messy Color has been the first company to carry a line of opal colors that are easier to use without all the scumming and black marks that I have experienced with the Italian opalino’s and I think they are great!