Friday, August 5, 2011

CiM Glass Testing: A Bunch of Opals

I spent this week with some newer colors (new to me anyway) .....with some interesting, fun and somewhat frustrating results.

I decided to do all 4 of these colors in one post - mostly because all four of them make kind of a tiny spectrum of aquas and teals that all look good together. Also, they all acted very similarly in the flame and in front of the camera.

I'll go through them one by one, and then do some comparisons. One thing to keep in mind as you look at the pics (and this is the frustrating part)....all of these colors were very, very hard to photograph.  They tend to look a bit washed out and dirty in most pictures...which I suspect has something to do with the translucency.  Looking at the colors on the CiM website, I see I am not alone on this issue. In real life, all four of these colors are more saturated than can be shown here.

The first is 547 Electric Avenue - a color that has been around since pretty much the beginning of CiM.  It's classified as an Opal, which means it has a translucent, almost glowing quality.  CiM Opals can be compared to Effetre Opalinos and Alabasters - but in looks only.

In my experience, CiM's Opals are much less shocky and picky than their Effetre counterparts, and more compatible, thank goodness!  Electric Avenue in particular was really easy to work with.  It maintained its translucency for the most part, and seems to be compatible with clear and black as well as the opaque Effetre Light Turquoise I layered it with.

By itself, in spacers, Electric Avenue is a vivid, opalescent aqua shade, which is slightly lighter than it is in rod form. It tended to go more opaque when worked longer.

I played with the functionality of all 4 Opals, sometimes using them as an opaque base, and sometimes using them in place of a transparent, in layering.  

Electric Avenue encased well as a base with clear, and turned a bit opaque.  As plain stringer, it stayed opalescent. When used as an opaque flower petal base, it went slightly opaque, but you can almost still see the black bead underneath.  However, when layered on top of Effetre Light Turquoise, as seen here in the left floral, and underneath a dot of clear, it went a nice transparent light aqua.  Interesting!  I liked this color - easy to work with, not a lot of bubbling or burning, a nice soft consistency and a lovely color.  Now if I can just get the song out of my head!

Next we have 598 Atlantis, a teal blue Opal that reminds me a little of the color Mermaid.  Atlantis is very similar to Electric Avenue in consistency and workability.

As spacers, this color tended to vary in opacity a lot more - it was hard to actually make two alike!  There is some streaking in some of the more opaque spots.

One major difference between the two colors is that Atlantis seems to be a bit more sensitive to temperature.  It was the only color to crack under a layer of encasing - but only on one of the beads I made this week. The crack along the hole is thermal, which means that it most likely got too cold as I worked it.  It seems that the longer this color is worked, the more opaque it gets, so keep an eye on that heat if the color solidifies!

I tried the floral experiment on Atlantis, as I did on Electric Avenue above, with similar results. The flower on the right appears very translucent because there is no layer of opaque Light Turquoise.  I think it's a really pretty effect.  Atlantis stayed dark when layering, but still acted like a transparent when I needed it to, as on the left floral here, sandwiched between the Light turquoise and the clear.

Moving on, we have 499 Rainforest, a teal green opal. Again, the consistency and workability were very similar to the other opals I have covered in this post.  Pretty much everything about Rainforest is the same as its sister color Atlantis, with the exception of hue.  No shockiness, no bubbling or scumming, a soft, buttery melt and a lovely vivid color. 

One small difference is that Rainforest doesn't go opaque quite as easily, and sometimes will only opacify in spots on the same bead (near the hole, most of the time) and stay translucent elsewhere. 

This Opal is the darkest of the four, although that is difficult to see in the photographs.  The stringer is especially dark and lovely (pics below).  No floral experiment with Rainforest - I suspected that the results would be very much like Atlantis.

The last of the four colors I tested this week is the newest one - 404 Jade Palace Ltd Run.  Jade Palace is the newest and lightest of these, and lands somewhere between light teal and seafoam green.

I also found that this color had just a tad more of a tendency to go opaque than the other three. It made strikingly lovely stringer, reminding me of jade gemstones.

Again with the floral experiment, with similar results.  Very glowy, translucent florals when no opaque is used, but very normal looking florals when Jade was layered.

Now, I saved the best part for last - a little bit of a surprise that happened when I experimented with using the Opals as transparent layers.

I love when my experiments yield happy results!  It turns out that all four of these colors tend to spread out when melted into the base bead - something I think probably happens with a lot of Opals. This makes them wonderful for dot distortion - just like Rubino Oro!  In these dot beads, I layered each Opal on top of Light Turquoise and then melted the dots all the way, creating some lovely shapes that fit together like puzzle pieces.  The dot distortion with these colors was really forgiving and easy.  Fun!

Last but not least, here are some pics of the beads I made this week with all four of these Opals, plus Light Turquoise, Black and Clear.  They are on Etsy. :)  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!



  1. Yum! I so appreciate your testing and photos! :) (~GlassGalore)

  2. I love CIM blues, especially Jade Palace. You made some very beautiful beads :)