Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rising Star: CiM 618 Simply Berry & 618-1 Simply Berry Unique

When it comes to introducing new colors into the soft glass palette, CiM has really been impressing me lately. Simply Berry, and it's little sister Simply Berry Unique, was CiM's answer to a request by beadmakers for a transparent magenta shade. Now, when you look at this color in rod form and melted into swatches and spacers, you probably don't see much of a resemblance to the color magenta. Neither do I. But that doesn't mean I don't like it very, very much!

At first glance, the one rod of the original Simply Berry that I had acquired to test appeared to be so much like Effetre's 042 Medium Amethyst that I had a hard time telling the difference between the two.

SB spacerA preliminery melt however told me that the CiM version was stiffer and had slightly less of a tendency to go a dull shade of burgundy brown-ish when melted into spacers. I still wasn't all that thrilled though, and set the color aside, after telling Kathy of CiM my impression of it.

SBU spacersLater on, I discovered that CiM was releasing another version of this color - Simply Berry Unique (a lighter version and later a darker version, numbered 1 and 2 respectively). I was intrigued enough to check out the color again - and to ask what the deal was with the new Uniques coming out for some of the CiM colors, including Simply Berry. Kathy had this to say about Uniques in general, and Simply Berry in specific, in some email exchanges we had.

"...I don't keep stock on Uniques as they are usually just mismelts (Simply Berry that melted too light or too dark)."

"...What you said about Simply Berry Unique is fascinating because it is the same formula as Simply Berry. The melt just happened to come out that way"

That's pretty interesting insight into how glass is made at CiM - and how certain colors can really come out differently in each batch. It's worth noting that if you find a color you really love, and it's not a production color that will be available forever, buy as much of it as you can.

Spring VinyardSimply Berry in its original form worked out really nicely as a layering color - a pretty, slightly less brown/pink than the Effetre Amethyst. You can see how I have used it and the Unique version together in this bead set, and how layering the two adds depth and clarity to the overall purple shade.

Simply Berry Unique (the light version, number 618-1) is an entirely different animal. Even though CiM calls it just a batch mistake, I have to say that it is my favorite glass mistake EVER. Yes, I even like it better than the Streaky Pink debacle. Oh, yes. People might not believe me - because of the huge deal I made over pink a few years ago. But I am totally over that. LOL Love is fickle - and I am now in love with Simply Berry Unique.

This sweet color is quite a bit lighter and less pinkish than the original. And the clarity of this light color is just absolutely amazing. It's saturated enough to work on its own as a base, but not too saturated. It makes amazing spacers that are a color I just can't really describe with accuracy, but I will try. It works into a deep transparent orchid lavender shade. If this glass were a liquid, I would want to drink it. It's a luscious blend of raspberry and grape.

Aaaaanyway. Simply Berry Unique is relatively stiff like the original, and very, very nice to work with. Both shades have a wonderful clarity when melting - no bubbles or scum have appeared for me. The glass holds its color for both shades, and neither shade bleeds, reacts or sucks up other colors. They are just straightforward and pure - perfect for layering with the various opaque pinks and purples - and even white. I can't wait to try this paired with my traditional fall favorites of coral orange, black and more greens this year.

I bought a bunch of this color, and will lament when it finally runs out, as colors like this tend to do. Hopefully the formula CiM uses will mess up like this again. LOL. CiM in general is fast becoming my favorite glass manufacturer - first becasue they are willing to really listen to us beadmakers on color, and second because the colors they are coming out with lately are just really nice additions to the 104 coe palette. Yey, CiM!!

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