Tawny Reynolds, the designer behind Sun Drop Jewelry is an unusual glass artist. It's not just because she uses recycled glass bottles, stained glass and recycled sterling silver in her designs.  It is because she doesn't use a kiln or torch to melt the glass. She makes her distinctive drop glass elements by melting glass bottles at 3000° F with a giant magnifying glass! At this temperature, wood will burn and a penny will definitely melt.

Using a 3 foot wide magnifying glass to focus sunlight could not be more eco-friendly. What a fantastic use of solar energy! 

If you really want to know, Tawny uses a "31 x 41 inch fresnel lens, which is made of 1/8" thick plastic with grooves in concentric rings, to focus sunlight." Fresnel lenses were originally developed for lighthouses. It also helps that Tawny lives in sunny California.

Tawny has a background in science. She explained, "I invented the technique when I was 13 or 14 growing up in Alaska. I was messing around with melting rocks and glass, and thought the little droplets were kind of cool. Someone else suggested I could make them into jewelry, so I did."

This interview shows how Tawny creates her sun drops and the challenges facing an artisan who also has a young family.

Mothership Hackermoms Profiles: Tawny from Heather Reilly on Vimeo.

As you can see from the video, she does not use a mold. The glass drops are shaped that way because of surface tension and gravity. As you can imagine, making pairs of earrings is not easy. So she makes a number of glass drops and finds pairs afterwards!

It takes skill and experience to not let the glass gets so hot that it drips to the ground rather than cool into the distinctive glass shape.  She also explains in her FAQ how she fuses different colored glass together.  What a wonderful collection of truly unique jewelry!

Sun Drop Jewelry is also on Facebook and Pinterest.

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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