Cabochons – Little Worlds Under Glass

I’ve been making boro glass cabochons for about 15yrs. As with most of the things in my life, they just sort of started by happenstance. I needed a pendant to wear and thought, hmm.. I can make that.. and so I did.

Fortunately in the early days I had a few people come along who could show me better & easier ways to implode the frit. With lots of practice I developed my own style and what you see today was birthed. At that point in my glass life I was mostly creating sculptural sea life work and these cabs were a way to have fun, blow off steam & play with colors without having to put much thought into them. I just let the patterns come and didn’t try to control it.

I sold countless many of them as pendants with glass bails before I learned to silversmith and set them in metal. I adore metal and glass together!

While honing my craft, I sell these cabochons to other jewelers. Mostly those who wire wrap or use precious metal clay. I am constantly awed by the beauty and creativity of these artisans. Wire wrapping in particular is not something I have the patience for but so appreciate the intricate patterns that are achieved with the weaving of wire.

I get asked all the time how exactly these are made. Can I make a duplicate?

Here’s a basic run down of how they are made. First I heat a glass rod in the flame of my torch and gather it into a ball shape. I plunge this molten ball into the crushed colored glass, “Frit” and continue to heat it all together. The colored glass is heavier, due to the metals used to create the colors, and it kind of gets sucked, “imploded”, into this clear glass sphere and creates its own unique pattern. That is a very simplified version.

The frit comes in 100’s of different colors. It also comes in varying sizes that range from course pretzel salt down to a fine powder. The different sizes create a different effect. The more course frit creates large textures. The powder, in cabochons, is used for the outside bottom color only.

Due to the high metal concentration in the colors you can get a wide range of hues. One color by itself can produce a range of green, blue, orange, purple or pink. That alone can be very challenging but also exciting. The color changes due to the weather, more oxygen or less, preheating and a host of other variables. I just think it has a mind of it’s own and it’s going to be what it wants to be… and I’m cool with that.

No two are ever exactly the same although some are similar enough to be paired as earrings. So no I can’t duplicate them but sometimes I can find some for you that you love even more than the one you emailed me about.

If you have a question about cabs let me know. I’ll do my best to answer them.

Hopefully, one day, I will figure out this whole video thing and record some of the process for you.

Until then.. have an Amazing Day!

If you still want more here is a short 5 min video from Online Jewelry Academy about making a custom bezel for your cabochon

Published by MorningLightGlass

If You Want To See Things You've Never Seen Before, You Must Be Prepared To Do Things You've Never Done Before ~Graham Cooke

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