What Is Borosilicate Glass?

The type of glass used in all the cremation jewelry and ash art on this website is called “borosilicate glass”. It’s a specialized and versatile variety of glass developed by Corning, Inc. in upstate New York. It’s far stronger than the “soft” glass that is normally used for beads, ornaments, paperweights, art glass bowls, etc.

Borosilicate glass is so strong that it’s been used for everything from stove top cookware to nuclear waste containment. Scientific glassware such as beakers and test tubes are good examples of utilitarian items made of borosilicate glass because of its superior strength.

Chemical Composition of Borosilicate Glass

Molecularly speaking, borosilicate glass differs from regular “soft glass” in one simple way. Borosilicate glass substitutes particles of boron oxide for the soda and lime particles found in soft glass. The boron oxide “glues” the silicate particles together with aluminum oxide and sodium oxide. Because the boron oxide particles are small, the silicate is bonded together more tightly which results in a much stronger glass.

Borosilicate Glass Has A Longer Lifetime

The main reason I prefer to work with borosilicate glass is that the finished glass art is much more durable. This is especially important when creating cremation jewelry. Borosilicate glass is a lot less sensitive to day-to-day mishaps and it can last for generations. Many people have commented on how many “accidents” their borosilicate glass cremation jewelry survived without breaking or cracking.

Borosilicate Glass Has A Natural Color Palette

The second major reason I prefer borosilicate glass is the available color palette. Each color is an organic, living collection of hues that can be manipulated and shaded with careful torch work and kiln annealing. The colors that can be achieved using borosilicate glass are more dynamic and subtle than most soft glass colors. Also, due to the chemically compatible composition of borosilicate glass, various precious metals like silver and gold can be used to color the glass in some very unique and amazing ways.