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Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/Embedding gemstones in glass


Hi Thomas,
I'm doing preliminary research for a fiction book. I'm trying to find out whether gemstones could be embedded in colored glass, and then the glass put into stained glass windows. I've got some feelers out on how stained glass windows are made, but I need help with the first bit. Could gemstones be embedded in colored glass? Would they be easily identified by someone looking at the glass from a few feet away? Would having gemstones in the glass mess up the annealing process? Can you recommend a book for further reading? ...And, are there questions I should be asking, but don't know to ask?
Thanks very much for your time and expertise.

Dear Liz,

I am now curious where your book is headed You have caught my attention.  Is it feasible to embed gemstones could be in colored glass, and then the glass put into stained glass windows?  I have worked with stained glass and the last part should be no problem unless a cut to the glass is to be made across an area containing a gemstone; that would likely be a disaster.  If the gem will take the heat of molten glass, it should also survive the annealing process.  Whether or not the glass will stay firm to the gemstone or form cracks is unknown and will likely depend on the expansion and contractions of the glass compared to that of the gem material.

You will need to research a little to find out which gem materials will tolerate the temperatures of molten glass. While diamond, ruby, sapphire and chrysoberyl generally tolerate heat quite well, a fractured or internally damaged gem often will not fare well at all. Some gems, such as opals, are easily heat damaged and are not suitable choices.  As for a viewer knowing what gems are in the glass, much of the “light handling ability” of a gemstone will be compromised if covered in glass, changing the effective or visually recognized characteristics of the refractive qualities.  What remains to be seen of color will then be the primary identification marker.

My likely best recommendation is this and it is pragmatic:  Find and speak with a glass worker, one who makes creatures, forms and vessels of glass..  a lamp worker.   They may have tried and have firsthand knowledge.   You might provide them a few manmade gems such as synthetic ruby or sapphire to experiment with.  I believe the last course will give you the most useful and accurate information for your fictional work.

I imagine you may have more to ask. Feel free to use the follow-up to get back with me.
Thanks for asking
God Bless and Peace.  Thomas.  

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Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.


I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

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