Purples are the second-most frustrating colors to find in the glassy world. At first, you buy all the “mainstream” brands of purple, only to end up with pounds and pounds of glass that is too grey, too red, too blue or just plain ugly. So after years of frustration and wanting to incorporate this color into my sets, I decided to pursue the dream of finding the perfect purple. I’m going to share what I found so you can be judicious in choosing your glass! (And from spending your hard earned money on glass you won’t use.)
I am still somewhat frustrated with the opaques and seldom use them, so we’ll get these out of the way quickly. The contenders are (from left to right):
Effetre Violet Pastel 591272, Effetre Soft Violet 591273, Effetre Dark Violet Pastel (handmade) 591274, , ASK #006 Lavender Fields, ASK #008 Berry Creamy, Effetre Lavender Premium 591221, Effetre Prem. Dark Periwinkle 591222, and Effetre Handmade Premium Violet 591254 (Evil Devitirying Purple, or EDP). I pulled out two canes of EDP- the left one is more purple, the right one is more pink. You can see the resulting beads are distinctly different.
I put the Dark Periwinkle in there so you can see the lack of color saturation in the opaques to the left. Most of them have a grayish cast that looks out of place and these will wash out your color if you use them as cores to your encased beads. althought I have to admit I was really (really!) excited about the Handmade Violet 591274 (third from the left) that was oh so beautiful in rod form, but alas, the resulting bead is almost the same color as the first two. My hopes were dashed!
Now onto the fun stuff- the transparents- I didn’t bother with the Vetrofond colors- I find them to be too much on the red side (more like the CIM Simply Berry), so I’ve listed the best I’ve found. I made some paddles so you could compare them side by side:
CIM Crocus Unique 3 511660-3, Lauscha Dark Purple #255, Effetre Ink Blue 591058, Effetre Light Premium Violet 591041, Effetre Dark Violet (Glycine) Premium 591039 (this is a really dark color- almost black in rod form) and CIM Simply Berry 511618
Now I have to say that Crocus Unique 3 is my hands-down favorite purple. Here I put some EDP beads in the picture- perfect match!
Its color is like nothing else out there- a saturated purple-lavender-fuschia that adds a shock of color to everything and it can be added as a second layer of encasing that really brings up the red tones. Now the bad news- it is no longer being made. As of October 2011 it might still be available at some retailers, and I hope that CIM decides to bring it back.
To create a saturated purple, you will need to layer your colors, much like a watercolor painting, like I did with the pinks. On the plus side, the purples don’t soot up and oxidize the way the pinks do, so this process is much faster and easier. One thing I have noticed is that they are harder to photograph, as the digital seems to pick up the base color- if it is periwinkle, the beads will look bluer in the picture, whereas the pink cores seem to photograph truer to life. I made a few different combos for you to look at (left to right):
For these three pairs of spacers,the first is just Crocus Unique 3, the second pair is light periwinkle encased with the Crocus 3, (Notice the blue tone?). The last pair is light periwinkle encased with the Lauscha purple transparent topped with Crocus.
It’s easier to create dramatic rich color with the transparent purples, but you have to watch or they can get too dark. On encased beads I use light periwinkle, light pink or white as bases, because these allow the most light to be reflected back up through the bead. I use a stringer to make a small donut bead, flatten to a thin barrel and encase it with thin wraps of transparent purple. Then you can add clear encasing or use Crocus as the outer layer. Some examples:
From left to right: Effetre light pink core/Crocus 3, periwinkle core/Crocus 3, periwinkle core/Lasucha purple/Crocus 3, EDP core/Effetre dark purple/clear and periwinkle core/thick layer of Effetre Ink Blue.
You can see how the thick layer of Ink Blue on the last bead makes it really dark. It is beautiful in person, but so hard to photograph. That being said, after comparing all of my experiments, one of the best results was simply ink blue over periwinkle encased in clear- it is a little on the blue side, but a very nice purple with little fussJ
Because florals have such a thin layer of transparent, I switch to the darkest most saturated transparent and pair these with darker versions of the opaque bases- dark periwinkle and EDP make good bases for petals. Pictures coming soon!
Light periwinkle as a base for the Dark Violet Premium (039) also works well, as seen in this picture:
It contrasts nicely with the olive bead to the right- those dots are EDP topped with Effetre Light Violet.
So play around with these- I would say to start, purchase Effetre Periwinkle and Ink Blue and then expand into the other colors- layer, experiment and above all- have fun!