Dichroic glass was developed by NASA so they could be used in satellite mirrors. The reason was that dichroic glass has brilliant dichroic optical properties which result from the numerous micro-layers of extremely thin metal oxides. These layers are so thin that when combined they do not have thickness of more than five millionths of even one inch. This is an amazing property of dichroic glass and this is the reason they have numerous applications today.
The different metal oxides that are used in the production of this type of glass can range from chromium and aluminium to silver and gold. The glass gets its unique property when different metal oxides are evaporated on the surface of glass inside a vacuum chamber. A firing process is then carried out to fuse dichroic glass with other glass. Since the firing process differs, no two pieces of dichroic glass can ever be the same. Each time they are produced, they will be unique and when different wavelengths of light are subjected to the glass, they will either pass through the glass or be reflected causing a range of colors to be visible. This type of glass is used in a number of applications and today even manufacturers of jewelry making supplies use them to create beads.
Dichroic glass beads basically are two-colored beads with multiple hues present in them. If you take a look at these glass beads, you will notice two or more hues at the same time. These could be in any color range and when you turn the glass beads slightly, the colors will change. These glass beads are extremely beautiful and are quite popular in jewelry making.
So if you are considering using dichroic glass beads in your creations, there are a number of things that you must look at. First of all, there are not many companies which produce high quality dichroic glass beads. These glass beads have multi-colored appearance due to the presence of a special coating on them which gives the beads the ability to bend light waves just like a prism. The equipment that is needed to coat the beads and to produce this kind of glass is expensive which means that these glass beads are not really affordable. Therefore, before you buy, look for information on the manufacturers that produce these types of beads.