GEMSTONES IN GLASS - a topic on hotglass list

comments from different people

Subj: Re: [GL] gemstones in glass?
Date: 2/12/99 12:50:22 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: (Drew Fritts)

> Carol and Nathan Burch wrote:
> It seems to me that fairly recently, someone asked a question about
> whether or not it was possible to use gemstones as inclusions in
> glasswork,

Hi Carol,

Typically gemstones contain some degree of water and will therefore
explode when put in the flame. However, cubic zirconia works very
well. Sue Stewart has been using them in her beads lately but she must
have them all on Ebay because I didn't see any on her site just now: - Sue, you there?

I also started putting them in my marbles recently. See "Diamond Eye"at:

I have had one cz break on me immediately upon putting it into the flame. I think I hadn't left it on the hot plate long enough because it was the only one that has broken.


Date: 2/12/99 4:35:21 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: (Sue)

Hi Drew and all,
Yes, I've been putting CZ's into and surface treatments of some of my
beads. I've had none crack or break and viewing my first sample piece and
all the other beads I've made with them through my "stress viewer", I see
no auras or halos whatsoever. The hard part is picking up the stone and
getting it to the bead. After doing years of jewelry making and wearable
art, I'm still inclined to lick my finger, pick up the stone and set it.
Doesn't work real well on molten glass....ouch...;)
That's my expertise on the subjected... what little it is.



From: "Lewis C. Wilson" <>
Subject: [GL] gemstones in glass
Date: Mon, Feb 15, 1999, 9:34 AM

Seven years ago I was selling in Quartzite, Arizona. It is a HUGE outdoor event that precedes the Tucson Gem and Mineral show. During my ten day stay there I was approached by many gem dealers asking me to encase gems in glass. I encased both natural gems and synthetic or manmade. All of my encasements were done using Pyrex. All were done by using two separate10 mm
or 1/2 inch rods with a nice thick maria on the end. The maria was made by simply heating a gather of glass on the end of the rod and then holding it vertical and flattening the end to make a thumbtack - like end to the rod.
After doing this to two rods, superheat one to the point where it almost drips and press
this molten end on to a 5-6 mm chip of the gemstone you with to encase. As the glass surrounds the gemstone,keep it there and quickly superheat the other maria. Take the second maria DOWN to the marver plate below the torch and only now lift up the half-encases gemstone and place
the second maria against the bottom of the first maria that is holding the gemstone. You now have two marias together that have a gemstone between them. Melt the two sides together and turn the glass into a marble or pendant or whatever. This technique I found to work well only with quartz and opals. Most all gems I encased vaporized into an encased " cloud " that did not even look
neat. The quartz worked well because it has a melting point somewhere around 3,500 F. I even show this technique on the second of my 5 part sculptural glassworking videotape. The success with opals was not as good , but you could tell it was an opal. You have an extremely small window of opportunity when using the opal. They burnout if the Pyrex is too hot . They cloud up if too cold. But there is good news, now there is available the Gilson manmade
opal. It will take heat up to 2,700 F. These opals can be heated up and punty'd with a 4 mm Pyrex rod and then plunged into a gather of Pyrex . The trick is to heat the punty perfectly so that the punty is the same temp as the gather and the punty rod does not leave air bubbles. In Quartzite I tried with NO success encasing these----- diamonds,rubies,sapphires,emeralds,tourmoline. (Bad spelling I am sure), garnets, pearls, topaz, citrine, and amethyst.No luck at all with any of these. All the synthetics also vaporized. Kevin O'Grady is probably the best in encasing the opals. He started
that same year I did but with much better success .He was one of the earliest to find and use the Gilsen opal. Gilsen can be found at Opex Opals 1-800-352-4445.
To use these you must cut and tumble and polish them, then encase.
Hope this helps
Lewis C Wilson-Crystal Myths http:/

According to my brother's Rio Grande catalog the Gilson created opals
have the same coe as pyrex!!