Dragon's Breath is the name given to a rare and highly collected man-made glass stone that was used in jewelry making around the early 1900's. Most of the settings you find are 925 sterling, but you will find the stones in other vintage costume settings as many jewelry makers used the stone later in what we know as the vintage jewelry era.
I am a collector of Dragon's Breath stones and I have spent a lot of time researching it. There is very little information available, so I am putting together my findings and what I know as a collector so as to better equip eBay buyers and sellers in hopes to relieve some of the confusion about the stone. Most if not all of my findings are what the collectors of the stone already know. I'm sure that most, if not all of the collectors will agree with my findings. But one things is for sure, the collectors do know what the stone is supposed to look like.
Dragon's Breath aka; Mexican Glass Opal, Glass Jelly Opal, or Glass Fire Opal are names that the stone has picked up. Please remember that these stones are glass and not an opal! Dragon's Breath is a glass that was made to resemble a Mexican fire opal. Costume jewelry stones that are confused with a Dragon's Breath are man-made glass jelly opals or glass foil opals like the man-made Harlequin Glass Foil Opal (see photos below). I stress that these stones are glass and are not opals, so sellers, if you list any of these glass stones, please note that in your listing. In fact eBay has a policy on listing gemstones. Here is a quote from eBay's listing policy on gemstones. "If the mineral composition of the stone or gem is different from the natural mineral, you must clearly identify the item as such throughout your listing." So, even if your item is not Dragon's Breath, but one of the other glass stones, and you list that item as an opal, such as "Jelly Opal" or "Foil Opal" you must list it with the word "glass" or "imitation" included. I wrote this guide so both buyers and sellers can be informed. So, sellers if you would like to quote anything from this guide, you may do so only if you add a link to the guide on your auction so that buyers can be informed as well. ---- Thanks!
Dragons breath was made by adding metal to the molten glass. This is what gives it the electric blue and purple flashes or ripples inside the stone. The stone is usually seen in an oval or round cabochon shape (rounded and smooth top), but you will see other shapes. The stone is un-foiled and transparent. The colors have a mixture of orange, red, yellow, and sometimes even a rose tint. Then depending on the angle that you view it, there is an inner fire of beautiful streaks of electric blues and purples that seem to just levitate inside the glass. At some angles you can see more of the blues and purples. Other angles you may see only small amounts and again at other angles you may see none. This blue and purple "breath" inside the red orange glass is what gave the stone it's name and has captivated many into becoming collectors of this mystical stone.
A Dragon's Breath collector knows what the stone is supposed to look like and we get frustrated when we see so many pieces of jewelry with false descriptions of Dragon's Breath. So to educate those that just don't know, I have taken the time to put together this guide. If you find it helplul, please vote yes at the bottom of this page.
Below, I have added some photos of some of my pieces to show what a true Dragon's Breath is supposed to look like, along with some photos of other stones that get confused with it.
Notice the different amount of blues and purples at the different angles.
See how the blues and purples just seem to float inside the stone.
Notice the blues and purples can be elusive at some angles, but they're there.
Just rotate it and they will show up.
Beautiful example of vintage jewelry using the stone. Only the center stone in this brooch is Dragon's Breath.
This brooch was made by Florenza. They designed and manufactured high quality costume jewelry from 1948 to 1981.
Both the oval stones and the teardrop stones in this Florenza set are glass foil opals, not Dragon's Breath.
This is a glass foil opal or man-made Harlequin glass opal that is often falsely labeled as Dragon's Breath.
SO NOW YOU KNOW, AND
THE REAL DRAGON'S BREATH HAS NOW STOOD UP !
You will see many auctions that confuse the stone with many other stones. One stone that is mistakenly labeled as Dragon's Breath is Saphiret (and vice-versa). I have also written a guide on Saphiret glass. Please feel free to view it as well.