Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blacklight Jewelry ...

by Jamie Smedley, Marketing Content Development, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Remember the fun of black lights? Whether it was at the roller-skating rink or your favorite concert, most everyone is familiar with black lights and how they make certain materials come alive with a fantastic glow. This same black light fun is now lighting up the fashion scene in beautiful, high quality jewelry.

All you need to capture this terrific trend is fluorescing glass beads. Commonly known as vaseline or uranium glass, its popularity can be traced to the 1830s. This glass became known as vaseline glass in the 1950s because of its glossy transparent appearance similar to Vaseline® petroleum jelly. Vaseline glass typically has a yellow-green hue in daylight and radiates a bright, bold fluorescent green under a black light.

The glowing properties of vaseline glass are from the uranium oxides and additional fluorescing colorants such as manganese and iron infused into the glass at the molten stage. Vaseline glass is not harmful. In fact, the scarce radioactive property of the uranium used in the vaseline glass-making process is lower than the amount that everyone is exposed to on a daily basis.

Production of vaseline glass ceased during World War II because the government confiscated all supplies of uranium dioxide to supply war efforts. Today, only a small amount is produced in the USA and the Czech Republic.

Create jewelry with a dual personality -- known for its beauty by day and its surprising fluorescent magic by black-lit night! A great complement to this season's bright, neon colors.

Vaseline glass is found in some colored Czech glass beads, including jonquil yellow, lemon yellow, yellow/blue and black/green tortoise. In natural light they have a bright, almost neon appearance and will glow a strong green under a UV (black light) lamp. An easy way to check if glass beads have fluorescent properties is to place them under a black light in a dark room.

Vintage vaseline glass beads have become very collectible. Since they are rare, they can be quite expensive. However, the colored Czech glass beads mentioned above are known to glow even brighter and are more easily available and affordable than the vintage varieties.

Be the life of the party this season with an attention-getting entrance in fluorescing jewelry!

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