Fire glass is a very versatile asset, we can use it to light up a room, invigorate a scene, create a mood with it’s night time glimmer or to complement a sober corner with its sparkle. It comes in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, reflective properties, and colors.
Fire Glass Sizing:
There is fine medium and large glass. When considering the size of the glass, there are 2 main factors. How much space you have in between the shards and how homogeneous it looks within the space. A fine glass will have little spacing and gas will just leak at the top of it, while visually it will seem untextured in large fire pits.
Small fire glass comes in ¼ inch shards and is the industry standard because it is very versatile and smaller fire glass for your fire pit can work in both large and small pits while larger grains work best in larger installations.Fine glass can work in even the smallest of fire installation and offers a whole range of creative features. You can use it in 2 or even 3 tonal installations side by side and have a visual gradient in between the 2 areas making your fire feature really stand out.
- Medium fire glass comes at over ½ inches in diameter and has niche applications it acts as fine fire glass for larger installations and provides a lot more texture that if you were to use finer glass. The two tonal trick also works in longer fire pits or installations.
- Large fire glass is a designer’s choice. Coming in at up to 2 inches wide, this roughed glass has some very specific characteristics. Visually it looks like glass rocks and is easier to use in a more traditional setting especially in more earthy tones, but more on color later. Another special feature is that it doesn’t hold flames captive, and allows a smoother flame path in between it. This makes flames look smoother, curvier and more liquid. Paradoxically maybe but large fire glass works very well with smaller flames in deeper installations because it complements the liquid characteristics of the flames.
Fire Glass Colors
In terms of color, any tint and hue imaginable is on offer. But, for simplicity sake, I’ve broken it down into how you use it. Essentially, we have vibrant colors, earthy tones, and pale tones.
- Vibrant colors are those that go from jewels to summer flower tones. They are very powerful and can radiate vibrancy in a restrained modern setting, but can easily overwhelm other spaces that already have some character.
- Earthy tones are your dark greens, browns, dark reds, blacks, basically rainforest tones. They can fit into the older setting and complement modern Scandinavian design beautifully. They also have some very refined light characteristics as they glimmer instead of shine. This makes them an optimal option for scenes where you want the sparkle but doesn’t want the light.
- Pale tones, these are anything that is understated and inspire the elegance and subtle beauty of spring flowers. These more restrained tones make pale fireglass the best universal solution.
- It can work with minimalist modern but it doesn’t excel here for obvious reasons, an old world which will suit 80% of designers or bold colorful scenes where it provides a restrained counterpoint to other more vibrant elements.This is definitely the best option for the new designer because there is so much room for error.
In terms of reflexive properties, it gets even more complicated but it’s a nuance thing, and quite difficult to find these specialty type of glass in every shop, so consider most glass you will find a mix of the first 2 types as they mostly achieve a blend of reflectivity and color bleed.
So think of these as specialty features rather that a trait you need to think about and integrate into your scene. These are also very useful to see a difference in manufacturers. Some carry one type, others carry both, and some other companies have cheap glass that has neither of these properties.
- Accent glass, a translucent glass that is polished to filter light trough it and infuse color into a scene, most glass does this when the flame’s light is overwhelmed by the reflexion in the glass. This type of glass is created by melting color infused glass and breaking off larger chunks and being very careful with the polish to not matte the surface.
- The reflective glass acts similarly but with a focus on reflecting the real warm color of the flame or natural sunlight more than filtering it out and coloring it. All polished glass does this to and extent but some manufacturers go the extra mile and add an ultra fine polish to their glass making its shimmer even in natural low light environments.
This is very powerful in night scenes and over large surfaces, it adds a feeling of luxury that you will have a very hard time replicating with any other fire feature.
- This is a specialty fire glass where the glass is tumbled and polished harder and longer until it gets polished into pebbles and loses every edge it has, then it gets polished with smoother ceramic grain until it regains its glass finish. This is great for shaping very smooth flames and also coloring light and fire pits with minimal reflective properties and glimmer, which is ideal for more restrained spaces where you want the bright color but not the shine that comes with jagged fire glass.
- This does for glass pebbles what pale and earthy glass does to vibrant glass in terms of color. It’s matte and only contributes to the scene with mood and texture. So it downsizes the vibrancy a couple of levels more. But it suits any classic theme from medieval to dark and broody victorian.
- This is an excellent replacement to the old cliché of ceramic log on the fireplace. It’s more honest. They are also essential decorative features in zen gardens on their own, the subtle depth of their texture finish creates a great complement to any plain white surface we meet in contemporary design.