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What is Dichroic Glass and how is it made?
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Cremation jewelry

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Lock of hair keepsakes

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Please contact us or see our FAQ's page if you have any questions concerning our process, amount of ash and/or lock of hair needed, how long it takes to receive your memorial or any other concerns that will help in making this emotional decision a warm and comforting experience.
 
 
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First an explanation of Dichroic:

Dichroism (noun) from the Greek word di-chroos meaning (di) two (chroos) color – the property possessed by some crystals of exhibiting two different colors when viewed along different crystal axes; the property of exhibiting different colors by reflected or transmitted light

We perceive colors by the way wavelengths (color) of light are selectively interfered (hindered) with by matter (absorbed, diffracted, reflected, refracted or scattered) on its way to our eyes and hence to our brain.

But Dichroic glass is unique!

The term “Dichroic Glass” is a bit of a misnomer, as the glass itself does not produce the colors, rather it is the dielectric coating of micro-thin layers of metal oxides and quartz applied to the surface of the glass which produces a “interference filter” that creates the varied colors we see. Similar to what happens when viewing hummingbird or peacock feathers. So when you hear or see the term “Dichroic Glass”, you will know it is actually a “dielectric interference filter applied to the surface of glass.”

The micro thin layers are clear, there is no color inherent in the material. Due to the incredibly thin layers it has no mechanical integrity on its own which is why it is applied to the surface of glass.

Why glass?

Glass is stable, rigid, able to withstand fairly high temperatures, is not effected by moisture or solvents and it is transparent; making it an ideal substrate for the coating process. What makes the dichroic filter unique is that the material absorbs no light, each wavelength striking the surface of the “interference filter” which acts as a selective color mirror is accounted for either in reflected light or transmitted light, there is no loss of light energy due to absorption. Depending on the thickness of each layer; what metal oxide or quartz was used; and the order in which it was applied, allows the filter to selectively reflect certain wavelengths of light while transmitting the remaining wavelengths. Contrast this with colored glass where light enters the glass and part of the wavelength is absorbed, emitting only the part of the color spectrum that was not absorbed.

The Process

Dichroic glass is created by a highly technical vacuum deposition process whereby multiple micro-thin layers of metal oxides, quartz crystals and others are vaporized with an electron beam gun mounted at the bottom of an airless vacuum chamber.

It is vital that the glass is thoroughly cleaned. Depending on the application for which the glass will be used, it will be cleaned approximately four times to highly technical specifications which require that the glass be cleaned to molecular level in a spotless environment before being coated. Even the tiniest bit of debris, fingerprints or water spot is magnified by the coating process.

Step 2

Next is the airless vacuum chamber where a technician will electronically monitor each step of the vaporization process.

After preparing the vacuum chamber, making sure the pressure inside is compressed to about 125 tons (which is close to the atmosphere in outer space); the plate glass is at the correct temperature; and a number of other considerations, the first material is chosen and vaporized by opening the shutter on the electron gun and sweeping it over the material which reside in a crucible. As the material vaporizes and floats upward it will attach to everything inside the chamber and begin to condense on the surface of the rotating glass plate forming a crystal structure. The technician monitoring this condensation will close the shutter on the electron gun once the thickness for that specific material is achieved and will switch to a new material where the process is repeated until the desired layer/color is achieved.

Step 3

Once the layers are complete air is slowly fed back into the chamber until the air inside the chamber matches the air outside the chamber and the door opens.

Step 4

The dichroic glass is removed and quality checked before packing and shipping. This process takes approximately two to two-and-a-half hours from start to finish.

In Conclusion:

One final example of how the Dichroic filter works: to achieve the color green “in reflection” all the wavelengths of light must pass through the surface except the color green. Primary colors require about fifteen layers of material while other colors require 30 layers! Given all those colors one would assume that the coating would be at least an inch thick, whereas the total thickness is approximately 3 to 5 millionths of an inch.
 

Courtesy of Mary Fleming at Bead Realm

 

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About L. Huffman Studios:   We use only the highest quality USA made materials in our unique cremation and lock of hair keepsakes designed to keep the memories of your loved one, special friend or cherished pet from fading away forever. Click here to see how Linda custom creates our one-of-a-kind cremation memorial jewelry.

Established 1991 with a history of quality artwork and Five Star customer service dating back to 1969, L. Huffman Studios has a rich legacy to live up to.

We maintain customer loyalty by combining the highest quality, hand made pendants with the lowest price possible. And no other artist offers so many safeguards to ensure customer satisfaction which includes inspecting and re-inspecting each glass "stone" and each Sterling Silver plate to ensure that they meet our highest standards.

Using centuries old glass fusing techniques developed by the Romans, fairly new art glass called Dichroic glass and fine Argentium silver metalsmithing, L. Huffman Studios has created unique, one-of-a-kind keepsake memorials to provide you with a lifetime of memories that never fade.

At first our efforts focused on memorials for pets. As L. Huffman Studios grew, demand for our memorials and the statement of quality they represented resulted in the establishment of Memory Pendants to represent not only cherished pets but also loved family members and special friends.

Internationally award winning fine artist, published cartoonist and acclaimed educator Linda Huffman (see full bio), the owner and founder of L. Huffman Studios, has a long history of creating fine art. Her legacy of reputation for fine quality art and a genuine caring devotion to each family she has had the privilege to serve shows in every memorial that leaves her studio. These unique memorials are still created one-at-a-time and, like snowflakes, no two are exactly the same. By owning and giving a Memory Pendant from L. Huffman Studios you are making a statement of elegance and caring thought.

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    ©1991 L. Huffman Studios. All rights reserved 
    Memory Pendants® trademarked 2003
     L. Huffman Studios  *  5014 S. 3rd Ave.  *  Everett, WA 98203-4133 
    Date last updated 12/30/2016