There aren't too many glass artisans that I know of who do not covet and hoard rods of the very lovely silver glasses that are available out there. The term 'Silver' glass doesn't refer to the color of the glass but rather to the content of silver nitrates and metals in the glass recipe. These are very expensive rods of glass..sometimes costing 100.00 or more for a single lb. According to Abe at Northstar Glass there are several reasons for the value placed on these phenomenal rods of lampworking glass.
This is a quote from Abe at Northstar Glass in April 2009
"Cost of Silver rich glasses. 1. $300-400 per pound for Silver Salts each batch might have 1lbs in one 30 lb batch. 2. $200 per crucible we try to change each crucible every 3-6 batches some times we ONLY get 1 batch out of a crucible because the silver metal drills a hole through the crucible, if that happenes it destroys the furnace floor and this is not cheap $300-500 just for the floor. 3. each furnace costs about $5000 and we have to rebuild the furnace every 6-12 months this depends on how the glass and chemicals attack the furnace. 4. overhead, payroll, insurance 5. by the time we are ready to ship this glass to you the cost is high. We are trying to lower our price of these glasses in the next year but we shall see. Abe"
So. Easy to see why we pay what we do and much appreciation to these guys for their hard labor and toil. Though, I'm sure they're as enthralled as we are with the outcome. I bought a few rods of one of the latest production from the crucibles of Double Helix.. Clio it's called. [How do they arrive at these names? hm] Clio...lively, pert ..sometimes blue [also beauteous] but ~ the most envious color of all? brilliant fushia pink. I love it. Of course.
The lure of the silver glasses is not just in the promise of glorious color, it's also in the challenge of working it. Unlike some of the other 'what you see is what you get' glass, there is a dance that must be learned first. Steps carefully followed, muse gratefully achknowledged..and even then sometimes there is an unknown element that will throw the color off. Kiln temperature is most generally to blame. Glass workers who've been doing this for several years don't seem to run into those unknown elements quite as often as we who have been doing this for not so long.
And that I guess is why I love glass the way I do. There's always something to reach for. Something to learn. A new technique to acquire and become skilled at.
Energy and persistence conquer all things. ~Benjamin Franklin