Sun-melted jewellery

A Giant Magnifying Glass

I melt glass into Sundrops in my driveway in Berkeley, CA, using a three foot tall magnifying glass (technically a fresnel lens) to focus sunlight, which can produce a ‘hot spot’ reaching 3,000 °F! Shaped simply with focused sunlight and gravity, the molten glass naturally forms an elegant droplet shape. The droplet is broken off at the thin ‘neck’, which is returned to the heat and the sharp point melted into a ball.

As the day progresses and the sun moves across the sky, I have to constantly refocus the magnifying glass in order to keep a tightly focused hot spot that produces enough heat to melt glass. My lens stand pivots horizontally to follow the sun as it moves from east to west, and also tilts to keep the light in focus as the sun rises and lowers from morning to afternoon.

Where the Glass Comes From

Some of the glass bottles I recycle: Skyy Vodka, Martinelli’s, Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, brown and green beer bottles, etc.

I use two types of glass to make Sundrops: recycled bottle glass and colored art glass (aka stained glass). I use Skyy Vodka, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Tanqueray Gin, Jagermeister, and various wine and beer bottles for many of the blues, greens and browns I make. However, glass bottle colors are limited, so stained glass provides most of the rest of the rainbow. No matter what kind of glass I’m using, I cut it into narrow strips for better control when melting the glass.

Recycled Sterling Silver

After finishing the glass droplet, I wrap each Sundrop with recycled sterling silver wire to form a securely attached loop from which to suspend the droplets. Once that is done, it is time to find drops that match for earring pairs. Although no two Sundrops are exactly the same, I work to find the best matches according to both size and color variation. All findings are made from Argentium sterling silver, 100% recycled.

Recycled Jewelry Cards

Paper has a surprisingly large environmental impact, so each piece of jewelry comes on a card made of 100% recycled paper and printed with soy-based ink, which carries the story of how Sundrops are made – perfect for gifts, or just as a reminder that we can all do a little to reduce our impact and save our beautiful planet.

See how it’s made

A Magnifying Glass at Work: Movies demonstrating the amazing heat generated by our magnifying glass

How can sunshine melt glass? Take a look at this giant magnifying glass!

Here I am, demonstrating how a Sundrop is made. I use a 31″x41″ fresnel lens, which is made of 1/8″ thick plastic with grooves in concentric rings, to focus sunlight. Fresnel lenses were originally designed for lighthouses, to disperse light. By flipping the lens over, it concentrates light instead. On a clear day like in the video, the focal point can reach 3000°F.

Mothership Hackermoms Profiles: Interview with Tawny of Sundrop Jewelry by Heather Reilly.

Take a look at the Sundrop Jewelry YouTube channel for a few additional videos on what can be done with a giant magnifying glass!  Wood will easily burn, and a penny will melt, flaring as the zinc inside catches fire. .

Sundrop Jewelry, USA


Tawny Reynolds designs elegant, sun-melted glass jewelry for your sustainable lifestyle.

Using sunshine and a giant magnifying glass, she melts recycled bottles and stained glass into elegant droplets, set in in recycled sterling silver.

The eco friendly jewelry using a giant three-foot magnifying glass to focus sunshine, recycled bottles and stained glass are melted into flowing droplets, set in recycled sterling silver.

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