Caithness Glass - Reflections 1 - 1985

Reflections 1 - 1985 - Page 19

Annual Review

Collectors Comments

Dear Secretary,

I have a silver coin which holds great sentimental value for me. I would like to have this placed inside a paperweight. Is this possible?


This request is typical of many we receive. I'm afraid that due to the great difference in expansion characteristics of silver and glass, the paperweight would be subjected to so much internal stress during the cooling cycle, that it would inevitably crack. The golden rule to remember is that anything encapsulated within glass must itself be made of glass e.g. lampwork flowers. The one notable exception to this rule is the sulphide technique. Our sulphides, which are porcelain based, have almost exactly the same expansion characteristics as our glass, therefore they can be encapsulated successfully.

Dear Secretary,

How do you create so many different colour effects within your paperweights? Can I ask also, how do some colours look flat and even whilst others appear to be a series of small spots, giving a more textured effect?


Colours in glass can be divided into two types. Hot colour, as we call it, is melted from a batch formula in small pots and gives the smooth even effect that you mention. Unfortunately we use such a large colour spectrum that it would be impractical to melt from batch all the colours we use in our paperweight range.

The alternative and much more flexible way of using colour is to use powdered, coloured glass in various chip and grain sizes.

The glass is melted the same way as normal from batch but is then 'baled out' from the pot and allowed to cool. It is then ground and crushed by machine into the required chip or grain size. As a by-product of this process, a percentage of very fine powder is created and we also use this to create some special effects. When a chip colour is used within a paperweight to give a colour pattern it gives the textured or spot effect you refer to in your letter.



When I was five, I saw this globe,
'Millefiori', so I was told,
I vowed one day, when I was 'old',
I'd have my own to touch, hold,
Forty years on, I've just begun,
My husband purchased the first one.

Enclosed my cards, as you can see,
It's good for you, but hard on me,
A life of abject poverty, I've gone and bought another three!

So beautiful to hold and see,
The colours swirling round and round,
To represent the sky and sea,
Sat on shelfs, just tempting me,
I've got to buy, they don't come free,

My mortgage due, a gas bill too,
Quite honestly, what shall I do?
I'll have to curb my spending spree,
Before the bailiffs come to me,
I will not go and purchase three,
(I'll just have two!)

I can't pass by the china shop,
Oh what the hell! I'll have to stop,
The rates are paid (the 'phone bill's not),
I'll just browse and won't spend a lot,
But there they are, again I fall,
And buy another glass ball!

As I sit here and stare, stare,
(Disabled, lots of time to spare),
My money's spent, my bills are late,
Is selling up to be my fate?
But as I look, I think they're great,
Oh lovely, lovely paperweight!

Mrs W. J. Sharp.