High-Impact Art: Smashed Glass Earrings, Proof of Concept

If you’re a particularly sharp person, these may accentuate your wardrobe:

Earrings - 12mm - finished
Earrings – 12mm – finished

They’re fragments of smashed tempered glass, epoxied into laser-cut disks, with a ring providing some structural support. Although it’s hard to tell from the photos, the fragments sit flush with one side of the disk, which is likely the side you want closest to your carotid artery:

Earrings - 12mm - finished
Earrings – 12mm – finished

Each chunk consists of a few smaller cuboids, so you get internal reflections from the minute air gaps between them. They’re not diamonds, but they’re surprisingly glittery in the proper light. Bonus: you can see right through!

The “gold” band around the disk is a beading ring held in a notch engraved around both disks:

Earrings - rings
Earrings – rings

The smaller ring is 12 mm OD, the larger is 25 mm, with 16 mm (the descriptions says 15, but ya get what ya get) and 20 mm available for other glass fragment sizes.

The engraved recess (green) is slightly larger than the OD to allow the perimeter cut to proceed through a thinner section:

Earring templates - 25 20 16 12 mm
Earring templates – 25 20 16 12 mm

Cross-hatch engraving puts a steep edge all around the recess, so the ring fits with just a little slack and turns freely around the disks.

You will, of course, have different glass fragments requiring different shapes, but the outlines came from the same process I used to make the palette organizing the fragments:

Smashed glass palette - fresh cut
Smashed glass palette – fresh cut

You (well, I) can just import that layout, copy the outline of the chunk to be used, then delete the rest. Mirror the outline so the engraved sides of the disks fit together around the chunk, position symmetrically in the template halves, and fire the laser.

Affixing the fresh-cut disk and its glass chunk to a strip of Kapton tape (sticky side up) holds them in proper alignment and prevents the epoxy from leaking out the bottom:

Earrings - 12mm - taped
Earrings – 12mm – taped

With everything lined up, run a small bead of epoxy around the chunk, squish the top disk in place, and line up the notches. When the epoxy cures, peel the earring off the tape and slide a jump ring into the notch.

As a finishing touch, you’d add a suitable ear hook or stud, but I think it’s fair to assume anything from Amazon would consist of the finest arsenic-plated plutonium and be completely unsuitable for skin contact. Neither of us have any piercings, so I cannot provide enticing action photos.

The 25 mm versions failed because I made the outlines such a snug fit around the chunks they didn’t quite fit:

Earrings - 25mm - failed
Earrings – 25mm – failed

Protip: do not attempt to coerce two rigid bodies into alignment by applying firm pressure, particularly when one of them is already-broken glass.

The small earrings weigh 0.7 g each and a 25 mm one (well, the parts for a large one) comes in a bit over 3 g, plus whatever hardware goes in / on / around your ear.

This was (obviously) an exercise in small-scale laser machining, rather than a venture into haute couture. In the highly unlikely event you can’t live without a pair of custom-designed high-impact earrings, I’ll shut up and take your money … let me know if you want little or big. Black is the new black; I do have other colors, but who are you kidding?

The SVG images as a GitHub Gist:

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