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"Is that glass?" Understanding acrylic, the glass alternative.

A lot of people ask, “Is that glass?” when they see my jewelry.

The answer is no — or yes, depending on how you look at it.

I don't use 'normal' glass (the kind made of sand), but my primary material, acrylic, is often classified as a type of glass. Being shatter-resistant and less than half the weight, it often replaces regular glass in product like windows and picture frames. 

The word 'acrylic' confuses people, but simply put, it's the non-branded term for products like: Plexiglas, Perspex and Lucite.

Whether or not you call it 'glass,' it is the glass-like qualities — the clarity, brilliance and transparency — that make acrylic so beautiful. Adding to that beauty is it's versatility and compelling history. 

History of Acrylic

Salvador Dali painted on it. Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham, drummed on it. And it's been used in jewelry since the 1950's.

One of acrylic's first commercial usages was safety glass. During World War II, both Allied and Axis forces used acrylic for airplane windshields and gun turrets — as well as the periscope ports of submarines.

During the war, an English ophthalmologist who treated the glass-riddled eyes of fighter pilots, noticed that Spitfire pilots were fairing better those who flew other types of planes. Why? Because Spitfire planes used acrylic rather than traditional glass. And the human eye tissue didn't reject acrylic the way it did standard glass. It was this discovery — acrylic's compatibility with human tissue — that led to its use as contact lenses and other medical technologies like implants and dentures.

Other common uses for acrylic are aquariums, ice hockey rinks, riot control glass, eyeglass lenses, paint, furniture, fabric, signage and compact discs.

At Bold Standard, we use this versatile material to design big fashion statements that are lighter in weight. So earrings don't pull on earlobes and statement necklaces don't weigh you down. And the gorgeous array of acrylic colors — from the subtle to the fluorescent — offer endless choices of that unique, modern sparkle.

 


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