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Here at Bath Aqua Glass we have two studios, one is called the Hot Glass Shop and the other is called the Cold Glass Studio.
The reason behind the names is that we have a roaring furnace in our Walcot street (Bath’s Artisan Quarter), Studio in which we use our blowing iron and our furnace which runs at 1,000 degrees celsius.
Here we make men’s cufflinks by blowing glass roundels which have to cool over night in our lehr (which is glass blowing slang for a cooling oven), they cool over night in the lehr.
If glass is not cooled slowly it will crack and sometimes even explode. The roundel is then sent down to the cold studio, where our very talented artists cut it in to shapes which make beautiful cufflinks for men and of course some women, which can be made to match their pendants and earrings.
In our cold studio, which is in our shop next to Bath Abbey and opposite from the Roman Baths, we make dichroic cufflinks, these are often bought for weddings as the ushers can match the pendants of the bridesmaids.
They also make a perfect gift for the groom to wear on his special day.
Dichroic glass essentially means ‘’two colour’’, derived from Greek, it first appeared as early as the Roman Empire, when it consisted of translucent glass which contained colloidal gold and silver particles which created a glass matrix which, in certain quantities created opulences.
The best example of this Ancient Roman glass can be found in a famous piece called The Lycurgus cup which is on display at The British Museum, It reflects a green opulence when displayed in light, yet it turns purple if you light it from within.
The modern type of dichroic glass takes us back to the 1950's and 1960's when NASA, defence contractors and the Department of Defence developed this high-tech material for use as optical filters, as a shield against cosmic radiation, this material is often known as rocket glass; One of its uses is the golden sheen on an astronaut's sunshield, a dichroic coating meant to protect against the harsh glare of natural and unfiltered solar radiation.
We purchase the dichroic glass in sheets, we then chose the colours and cut it into squares or circles, we then place them in our kiln and layer them. Our kiln is in the cellar of our Abbey shop, where we make stained and fused glass. The kiln is brought up to 700 degrees Celsius, then soaks down to a cooler temperature.
We cook our fused glass overnight, emptying the kiln in the morning.
They then go back upstairs to our cold studio and our artists assemble them into silver for the more expensive wedding cufflinks, we use silver plate for our less expensive range of cufflinks.
If you visit our shop you can see our artists at work during weekdays, we have bead making working periodically in our main shop, please contact us for more details.
With wedding cufflinks we can work with the bride and groom on colour schemes and make to order. Visit our online shop for pendants and cufflinks as we have a fantastic range.