Live Streamed: Making earrings from a riesling bottle in the sun

by Peter Chang, August 20, 2015

Tawny, owner of Sundrop Jewelry, stands by her giant magnifying glass on a bright sunny day in Berekley

This giant apparatus is not something used in a magic show, although some may say these sundrops are indeed magical! The process for creating the droplet shape that is the basis for these beautiful earring is truly amazing. It is done by using a giant magnifying glass to focus sunlight on glass pieces from used wine or beer bottles, and with the temperature reaching 3000 °F, the glass melts and drops down forming the sundrop shape after quickly solidifying. Tawny, the owner of Sundrop Jewelry, started the business in 2005 with a friend who at 14 discovered the technique of making sundrops while experimenting with the giant magnifying glass. After learning this technique from her friend, Tawny has taken the business all over the country and currently makes sundrops from her backyard in Berkeley, CA.

Tawny takes glass pieces and focuses sunlight on them using the magnifying glass to form the droplet shapes

We had the opportunity to see the giant magnifying glass in action when visiting her studio on a bright and sunny day in Berkeley a few weeks back. We live streamed the session where we watched Tawny make the droplets one by one and below is the replay of the session. She used a riesling bottle that day because she liked the dark teal color from the Riesling bottle used by another glass artist. Color choices are quite important for her jewelry and she has found great colors from using riesling, sky vodka, Bomba sapphire gin, martinelli, and various beer bottles. Surprisingly to me, the glass melted super fast and the first drop came within a minute. One can quickly appreciate the precise technique required to perfect the process of catching the best sundrop shape possible, because they can easily come at all different lengths otherwise. Fortunately, each bottle can make lots of sundrops and this is indeed a very novel way of upcycling a used bottle into some amazing looking jewelry pieces.

Tawny sells her jewelry mostly from her website:

She also has an Etsy store:

And of course, find her on social media:

selection of some of her jewelry pieces. Notice the richness of the color choices, reflected by the type of bottles she chooses
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