The song “Ruby My Dear” is a Thelonious Monk composition named for Monk’s first love, Rubie Richardson. It’s a jazz ballad that Monk composed in 1947, but it’s been recorded by many jazz greats like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Bill Evans. Pull it up on I-Tunes or You Tube, and you’ll probably recognize the tune.
The color ruby was and is a favorite of mine and of collectors. Back in the 50s and 60s, Blenko made one of the purest rubies, and I chose that color to make many of my designs, like the Regal line (1960), pictured below. Ruby was the accent color I chose for the Rialto opal line with it’s “here’s looking at you, kid” decanter with the ruby eye.
For my Jazz in Glass line, I chose the color ruby for the jigger decanter “Ruby My Dear”, named for the Monk composition, and another shade of ruby for the “Night in Tunisia” bottle (both pictured at the top).
In glass, gold is used to achieve the ruby color. Yes, the actual metal gold, which produces shades of ruby—from a rose tint to the deep rich red of ruby gems. While some colors require a lot of the specific metal to achieve deep colors, it takes only a few grams of gold to turn crystal glass into a deep ruby red. The cinnamon color of the “Night In Tunisia” piece also has gold as its colorant, but a lot less than for the deep ruby red.
Another warmer shade of red is achieved with the element selenium. At Blenko, I named that shade tangerine to distinguish it from ruby red. I introduced tangerine in 1957, and my timing was right on, as the color tangerine was on the rise in the fashion and decorating worlds. We used tangerine for the original jigger bottle, the sun face, and the “football” decanter (later named the huge perfume bottle).
Unlike gold, selenium produces a straw yellow hue until it is reheated. The yellow turns to red only where it’s heated a second time and only in areas that are reheated.
Other colors are achieved by various other additives. Iron oxide in glass makes blueish green, and if chromium is added, you get a richer green. Boron and sulfur creates blue, and cobalt is used to create cobalt blue, the color of my “Bluesette” bottle. Cadmium and sulfur yields yellow. Together with selenium, you get bright red and orange. Both cadmium and selenium are highly toxic and OSHA is very strict about how they are disposed of.
I chose the colors for my “Jazz in Glass” series that would create a six note visual “chord” when shown all together. The Rollatini colors were chosen a bit more serendipitously. I am open to making the Rollatini in other colors, if anyone wants to have one in your favorite color. Let me know.
As stated in the article “Elements of Color in Stained and Colored Glass” on the website geology.com, “Color sometimes defines the usefulness of a glass object, but it almost always defines its desirability.” Maybe this was true for the object of Thelonius Monk’s desire, Rubie.
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