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Old 2014-01-21, 7:21am
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RSimmons RSimmons is offline
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Join Date: Aug 01, 2005
Posts: 2,159

Colored glass does have some metal in it, the issue becomes what the metal is and where it is concentrated. High lead content glasses are a problem, period, as the Consumer Products Safety Commission has placed a ban on virtually anything with lead in it going to children. In most colored glasses the metal colorants are not regulated, in low concentration and remain locked in the glass matrix. Reduction can cause some metals to lose oxygen and form a more-or-less pure metal coating on the glass surface. Without microanalysis you can't tell one metal from another so we've had to ban all metallic finishes on bead surfaces. The 'metallic finishes' specification in the guidelines refers to reduced surfaces that look like metal.

Rubino Oro must be encased in clear to be considered safe for Beads of Courage, reduced or not. Testing has shown that it is a high lead content glass and that the gold colored finish on the reduced glass is, in actuality, lead. The color will change based on the size and distribution of the lead particles on the surface. This was published in [i]Microsopy Today[i] and [i]Glass Bead[i]. EDP is another glass that should be encased because of lead content.

As for Dichro, I would think that the clear overcoating on glass with the dichro coating on one side would be sufficient to shield the metals. Exposed metals on dichro tend to burn off so encasing of some sort would pretty much be needed to keep them intact.

The bottom line is that it is safer in general to stick to non-reduction colors of all kinds for Beads of Courage beads. If you have any doubts about a specific color drop me a note and we'll see what we can determine.

Thanks for asking about this!

Robert Simmons
(Former) Director for Bead Donations
Beads of Courage, Inc.
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