When we set our minds to getting pink glass, we were setting ourselves a real challenge. Pink glass is one of the hardest colors to chemically formulate in glass!
Glass color isn’t like working with pigments or paint: mixing one color of glass (say, red) with another (blue) doesn’t make the intuitive color baby we expect (purple). Instead, the combination of the different chemicals that produce different colors affect and impact each other – and skew the whole color combination in another direction altogether (brown!). Pink glass isn’t just “light red” glass – we can’t just add Crystal to Ruby to make it light. (Ruby is whole ‘nother blog post!)
There are only a few chemicals that will get pink glass - erbium, yttrium, cerium, neodymium amongst them. When we ran our ‘Pink Ice’ color a few years ago, we had to source the erbium from abroad at the time, and the naturally high cost of the chemical doubled with shipping. The other problem is that many of the chemicals that make pink glass make a mostly watery, very pastel shade of pink: erbium, yttrium and cerium will lend only the smallest tint of pink to glass.
When we made our Rose glass back in 1963-1964, we can only assume that neodymium was cheaper then than it is now – because this special element is not cheap. In fact, it exceeds our next most expensive color chemical by a factor of seven. We won’t charge you seven times the cost of our glass, but we’re also working very carefully with it, because it’s the glass color equivalent of driving a Porsche.
But neodymium - wow, is it special! It is one of the only colorant chemicals that optically changes color depending on the quality of the light source. 19th and early 20th century German and Bohemian glassmakers specialized in this pastel shade – a pale periwinkle lavender in one light, a rich pink in others. Midcentury glassmakers dubbed it ‘alexandrite glass’ after the gemstone. We’re calling ours ‘Ganymede’ – because it’s our space year, and because the beauty of the legendary Greek mortal describes perfectly this changing, shifting color. We know that Blenko has made its mark with its deep, saturated colors, but this pastel is the richest pink we could get – and we think you’ll love it as much as we do.