Happy hour with soda and lime: glass imitating coral

First published in Facette 28 (May 2023)

Recently, a necklace was submitted to SSEF for coral testing. Already a first microscopic inspection revealed that this item in fact consisted of numerous tiny glass beads, visually imitating coral very well (e.g. corallium rubrum). The most obvious microscopic feature was the presence of air bubbles in these glass beads, typical and characteristic for such artificial glass products (Figure 2). Chemical analysis further confirmed its identity as soda-lime glass, the most prevalent type of industrial glass. Although soda water and lime are often mixed in cocktails during happy hours, our finding about this necklace was not so sparkling and exciting for our client.

Figure 2: Distinct air bubbles in glass beads imitating a coral necklace. Microphoto (50x magnification): M.S. Krzemnicki, SSEF