View Full Version : Searching for TRUE copper ruby!

Barb Sanderson
04-27-2012, 07:59 PM
Help! For years I have used Zimmerman 651 (Light Copper Ruby) in my designs. When I heard about Zimmerman passing I purchased all the Z651 Olympic color rods had left in stock. That has now run out and I am trying to find a suitable replacement. I have tried Reichenbach 200 and 244 in frit (which is what I used Z651 in) and neither one is striking for me. Parts of the piece will strike and sometimes strike to a dark almost black color while the rest of the piece is clear. My designs are not easily heated and reheated many times after finishing. This was never a problem with Z651. Any suggestions would be very helpful,

Pete VanderLaan
04-27-2012, 09:07 PM
Actually, I make the best copper ruby in the world I think and quite a few others have suggested that. I am getting the parts together for the first gas color melter for the class Barb and when I've built it, I will melt the ruby for the first time in six years. It will be sometime in the summer. I will let you know when I do it.

While I can melt it in the electric, it really wants gas to be the best. In the electric I always thought it to be just average. Damn oxidation.

Dave Hilty got the mix from me and melted it. He may still have some for sale, I don't know. I don't know that it is as good as my melting but I know a lot of people liked it.

David Hopman
04-27-2012, 11:04 PM
You might want to try the Kugler K16 Copper Ruby Bright. It reliably strikes on flowers that get no reheats. This flower is K16 over Iris Gold, melted in then pulled and put away.

Jon Myers
04-28-2012, 03:59 AM
that z 651/652 is the most red copper ruby I've used... the others are all too brown or purple or too dense... I've tried all of them over and over hoping to find a replacement. For a not-red copper ruby I really like k15L. Sweet effects.

Tom Clifton
04-28-2012, 07:58 AM
A short paper on Copper Ruby Glass (http://www.ceramics-silikaty.cz/2005/pdf/2005_04_283.pdf)

Also a page on the quest (http://striatedruby.blogspot.com/2011/04/bryn-athyn-glass-factory-1922-1942.html)for Medieval Striated Ruby

Or from this (http://www.history-science-technology.com/Articles/articles%209.htm)page there are many interesting (old) recipes such as:

Recipe 46, fol. 7b – Making ruby (yaqut ahmar) without equal

Take one hundred dirhams of cornelian stone (‘aqiq), two hundred dirhams of rock crystal (billaur) and twenty five dirhams of magnesia. Heat each one alone and throw it in sour vinegar. Pound and cook with sour vinegar to which al-qali (alkali) has been added. Cook very well for half a day until it becomes dry and roasted. Throw it in cold water and wash it in water and salt until its water and jawhar become clear. Put it in a luted pot (qidr) with one hundred dirhams of natrun, twenty five dirhams of al-qali (alkali) salt, forty dirhams of Armenian borax and ten dirhams of coarse salt (milh jarish). Light up fire on it in the furnace two days and two nights or one day and one night. If it melts take it out when it cools and throw on it calamine (iqlimia). Take out the melted ingot (nuqra) and pulverize it with sixty dirhams of red lead (isrinj), five dirhams of cinnabar (zanjufr), two dirhams of realgar (red zarnikh) pulverised in vinegar, five dirhams of magnesia, five dirhams of copper scales (rosakht),and ten dirhams of pulverised blood stone which is sadhan. Mix and put in a luted pot (qidr) and place in a furnace. Blow on it continuously until it melts and becomes mature. The sign of its maturity is that you put out one carat (qirat) [xviii] of it on a clear surface until it cools. If you see it clear red with plenty of water that is the water of ruby (yaqut) then it has matured. If it has turbidity then blow on it until it matures.

And last a Google Book containing information (http://books.google.com/books?id=zzZBdGQN_TIC&pg=PA75&lpg=PA75&dq=book+the+secret+formula+for+red+copper+glass&source=bl&ots=eZYpVxrggM&sig=5NAJwTCUWx43o-Jnj7CU9ogiQR0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=sfCbT6eGD46y8QSZvpmKDw&ved=0CDgQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=book%20the%20secret%20formula%20for%20red%20copp er%20glass&f=false) on the Chinese bead trade dating to perhaps 300 BC

Dave Bross
04-28-2012, 10:11 AM
These links may help...or not, if you're not melting your own. At least you'll understand what you're up against.

But first... a word from our sponsor, the Society for Creative Realization that Everything will Disppear Eventually...SCREWED for short...
Not investing the time/money so that you'll know how to melt your own color?
When will your next favorite color disappear forever?
We now return to our regularly scheduled programming...



Tom Clifton
04-28-2012, 11:15 AM
[QUOTE=Dave Bross;104855]These links may help...or not, if you're not melting your own. At least you'll understand what you're up against. /QUOTE]

Yup... Red has been an elusive art discovered, lost then rediscovered for milenia... I imagine that more than one person has died either guarding or treasonously attempting to exploit the secret of red in this interval...

I am told that there is a book written on this premise - I have been seeking the title to no avail.

Ted Trower
04-28-2012, 12:10 PM
[QUOTE= pulverize it with sixty dirhams of red lead (isrinj), five dirhams of cinnabar (zanjufr),[/QUOTE]

Imagine sitting down to pound on this mixture of lead and mercury... He should have added to delegate this job to your least desirable brother-in-law.

Pringle Teetor
04-28-2012, 01:36 PM
Try gaffer

Dave Bross
04-28-2012, 02:03 PM
Pringle has a point...if I remember correctly Gaffer has a light copper ruby that comes with very exact instructions on how to make it behave.

Jon Myers
04-28-2012, 02:51 PM
It's not as ...red...(?) as that 652 was. It was really red. Not blood red or what have you. Pete's red is nice but denser than the 652. I'm guessing it's not just a matter of using less coloring oxides (unless you like straw color).

Pete VanderLaan
04-28-2012, 03:33 PM
It really is a matter of turning down the copper and leaving the zinc and black tin at a constant. The source of calcium is really important, keeping spars out of the mix since they carried tramp iron. Karl Platt at one point made a copper ruby that was in a block about six inches think and was this incredible wispy red. I could turn mine from very intense down to a red that only struck in the box after about a two hour soak. Funny stuff.

Dave Hilty
04-28-2012, 06:22 PM

Last year Pete walked me through the melt & bar making via emails & phone conversations. There is no doubt that Pete's melts would surpass my attempt but I have never seen a better red and I pasted Scott's PM to me as he was one of the folks who ordered some bar from me. I really want to hold on to the remaining inventory I have for the obvious reasons but I would be willing to ship you a 1 lb. bar if you want a preview of what Pete will melt once his gas unit is up. I couldn't say whether you would be happy with the results with your flower making gig as I don't have the experience but I do nothing special in the way of reheats. It just strikes without fail and the main concern I have is to be sure I use a small enough piece of bar for the size vessel I am making as the color can go dark if you use the typical volume of bar you would with other transparents in proportion to your vessel size.

************************************************** ****

02-29-2012, 03:09 PM
Scott Novota
AbbyNormal User Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Pensacola Florida
Posts: 1,675

Copper Ruby Red.


Can't remember if I sent you a PM or not about that copper ruby red. I had put it up and was finishing off the huge stockpile amount of copper ruby red that I had stored up from a cheap find years ago on K-Copper Ruby bar. I have been making a specific item with that copper ruby for years and every loves it. Well I came to the end of my k-ruby red and went looking for the stuff I got from you. Could not find it anywhere it had just vanished. So I got some Gaffer Ruby Red and went to town...well I was down to the last bar when we started to move the shop and came across the Hilty/Vandy combo ruby red bar.

I have made exactly two things. The first one my wife picked up and I quote "This is the prettiest red one you have ever made!" now mind you it was the exact same thing I have always made just that we switched to the Ruby Red I got from you.

The second thing I made is now on my living room table and displaced a piece that had been there for two years...the wife has claimed it as hers. She asked me to save the color for future "home projects". That is serious high praise!

Wonderful color...just wonderful.



Pete VanderLaan
04-28-2012, 07:17 PM
it slices, it dices, it will not yellow or tarnish with age. It will survive nuclear holocausts and makes childbirth a pleasure... The longer it doesn't exist, the better it sounds.

Scott Novota
04-30-2012, 08:07 AM
Little goes a long way! It really is a wonderful color to use. You don't get the livery color buy mistake like the K and it has a richer red than the G. I will not even touch the R. Never got to use any Z but it looks to be have a bit deeper red to it than your picture. Might be a function of the amount used and thickness. Dave and Pete would know much better than I would.

Pete VanderLaan
04-30-2012, 08:45 AM
Every melt is a little different, every one. Glass is funny stuff.

Barb Sanderson
04-30-2012, 10:34 PM
Thanks to all of you for your suggestions and information. I will do some more research. I wish I had the time and resources to make my own color (thanks Dave) but at this time it's not in the cards for me. I either find a better substitute or retire the color from my line. And thanks Dave for the offer to ship some but if I am to continue using something I need a bunch NOW....or actually yesterday. So I guess I'll give gaffer a try and try to be patient for Pete. Thanks again everyone!

Pete VanderLaan
05-01-2012, 01:37 AM
John Chiles was selling his samples set from flying colors on Ebay at a recent point Barb. he had it.

Paul Trautman
05-01-2012, 12:53 PM
I can probably make you some. How much do you want?

Shannon Jane Morgan
05-24-2012, 09:54 PM
I was fortunate to have found a couple of private stashes and purchased all I could get my hands on...I also gotta hold of Pete's red when it showed up on Ebay a few months ago...paid a very fair price for it even...
I have dearly loved using 651 over enamel white for my goblets ...I've rationed it out over the years but still have about 4 kilos of ...sorta influences what I make , and combinations/designs I use it for ...that said....it happens to be one of my most favorite colors to use....

Pete VanderLaan
05-25-2012, 06:17 AM
I am getting ready to build my first gas melter for the color class and it will melt my copper ruby well if it interests you. It is nice stuff.

Paul Trautman
06-04-2012, 02:21 PM
Copper ruby is difficult to perfect and then repeat batch after batch .. so many little variables... It can be a real pain.. There are also so many different uses for the color that require differing densities. Then striking comes into play. No end to the fun you can have!

I've been making copper rubies of various types since the 70's and I'm still learning.

Cecil McKenzie
06-05-2012, 06:42 PM
this is borrowed from a potter website. "A potter, in the service of "the

Emperor" was getting ready to fire another kiln load of ware, in the kiln was

a particular grouping of pots with a pale green copper glaze. Unknown to the

potter and his staff, a pig had wondered into the kiln looking for a warm

place to take a nap, while it was sleeping the kiln was closed up and firing

was begun. When the kiln was cooled and opened a marvelous change had

taken place, the pale copper green glaze was now a brilliant ruby red. The

emperor, upon seeing these wonderful pots, immediately ordered the potter

to produce an entire service for the palace. The potter and his staff tried,

firing kiln after kiln, to no avail. Finally the Emperor, his patience having run

out, told the potter he had one more chance, or else. The potter was at a

loss, he had run out of ideas and, being an honourable man, decided to do

the honorable thing, with the last kiln load ready he stepped into the kiln and

ordered his staff to brick up the door and begin the firing process. When the

kiln had cooled and was opened, a marvelous change had taken place!"

Pete VanderLaan
06-05-2012, 06:44 PM
Black tin works better than Chinese peasants.

Ted Trower
06-05-2012, 07:49 PM
Hard to believe that a kiln load of greenware (or much anything else) would survive the pigs efforts to exit that kiln.

Guy Kass
06-23-2012, 04:32 PM
Bunch for sale on Ebay...

http://www.ebay.com/sch/john05760/m.html?_trkparms=algo%3DUPI.GIROS%26its%3DI%252BC% 252BS%26itu%3DUCI%252BUCC%26otn%3D12%26pmod%3D2510 87754995%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D122698231271046065&item=251087529151&rt=nc&_trksid=p4340.m1374&_trksid=p4340.l2562

Pete VanderLaan
06-23-2012, 05:07 PM
I would be pretty sure that is John Chiles who wanted to distribute the color Chuck Savoie and I were making back around 1998. When it became apparent that he wanted to just have us drop ship for him, we stopped having him sell the materials.

The copper ruby really is premium stuff. We really had that nailed.

The crucible surprises me and I can't say about the sink parts. I'm not a plumber.

Barb Sanderson
06-24-2012, 10:24 PM
So Pete are you/were you able to make copper ruby during your classes for me?

Pete VanderLaan
06-25-2012, 05:19 AM
The classes start in one year Barb. I am building two furnaces for the classes and they will be in operation well before the classes start. One is actually under way right now and will be gas so I will be able to make the red.

Given the time constraint, I would bid on that copper ruby Chiles had on Ebay. We really made the best copper ruby out there. Having dropped in altitude by 6,500 feet, I don't quite know what to expect melting here at sea level. It certainly changed my cadmium selenium red, but as Lino said " Melt glass where it wants to be melted", so somewhere in one of these three furnaces, I will find the spot. I just did a profoundly hot batch of the silver peach.

Greg Vriethoff
06-26-2012, 12:50 AM
"I just did a profoundly hot batch of the silver peach."

Pete VanderLaan
06-26-2012, 04:35 AM
"I just did a profoundly hot batch of the silver peach."
What? You too?

Pringle Teetor
06-26-2012, 06:30 AM
I'd love some of your magical silver blue opal when you melt it again.....

Barb Sanderson
06-26-2012, 08:12 PM
The classes start in one year Barb.

No one ever called me a patient person! :)


Pringle Teetor
06-26-2012, 09:53 PM
snort! you made me laugh Barb!

Greg Vriethoff
06-27-2012, 02:59 AM
What? You too?
Um, sure...yeah.