It seems that the Bohemian creation of Dragon’s Breath art-glass stones are causing just as much confusion as their Saphiret and Saphirine stones did – and still do.  The image shown above this paragraph is the same brooch as shown below this paragraph – Dragon’s Breath is a master chameleon and colour changer.
The Bohemian costume jewellery makers, (today usually known as Czech or Czechoslovakian), were way ahead of their time and experimented and created many unusual types of art-glass.
In many cases with Bohemian art-glass, the exact recipe has been lost in the mists of time and cannot be replicated.  This is probably true in the case of Dragon’s Breath as it is true of Saphiret.
Having been searching my reference books on vintage costume jewellery for some time, (even those still in the packing boxes),  it seems that nobody really can say much for sure about these stones apart from the fact that they were produced in Czechoslovakia.
About five years ago on a weekend trip to Nuremburg in Germany, my dearest husband indulged me (as he always did) and planned early morning visits to four different flea markets.
We set off sleepy but early and arrived with the dealers at the first one in Nuremburg, and it was here I spotted a ratty tatty old package of old brown paper and string with what looked like oval glass pale tangerine cabochons falling out.
I paid my two euros (then about two dollars fifty) and stashed them in my bag with all the other treasures.  It was not until we got back to the hotel room that my husband translated the writing on the package for me. But still I did not realize the treasure we had discovered.
The stamp on what was left of the brown paper was the old style where each letter or number is slotted into a hand held stamp which is then pressed into an ink pad and the stamp used on paper or cardboard.
I kept this treasure stashed away unopened for two years moving from country to country with my beloved, without even unpacking or realizing what I had. 


Then I started seeing these gorgeous pale stones set in silver, yet with zingy undertones, appearing on the net.  One day it all fell into place and I realized I already had a stash of these unset stones. As you see from the photographs the collection just grew and grew.  There is much more but as yet they remain unpacked after the last move.

This is such an unusual stone.  As you see, when a photograph is taken from a straight down looking into the top the stone (with the older stones at least), you see a clear pale amber/tangerine.  

But when you change the angle, wham – you are treated to a captive spectacle similar to the Northern Lights only in your own vintage costume jewellery.  It is the gossamer thin neon purple veil which captivates me the most.

There is a huge amount of mis-information on the web about this stone.  Just to be clear – it is manmade glass.  I know it is made with the inclusion of a metal of some kind, but so far, I have been unable to find out which metal and in which form it is added to the melt.  The ring above this paragraph is the same as that shown below – just to show you the colour changing properties of this special Bohemian art glass.
The Bohemian manufacturers named them with what to them must have been wishful thinking, calling them ‘Mexican Opals’. That is known for sure as it appears on the packaging. 

Since there are genuine gemstone Mexican Opals, it is perhaps a good idea that this amazing colour changing stone is called something else – hence Dragon’s Breath has become what seems to be the most popular nickname.


If you are lucky enough to see any reasonably priced, and they don’t actually scream at you bright orange and red/blue/purple, (and they are not covered on the back with reflective foil),  then you may well have stumbled upon a genuine piece of Dragon’s Breath jewellery.  

If it is set in silver metal it could well date to the turn of the century, around 1900.  From my experience, at this time Dragon’s Breath stones were mostly set into silver.

To be clear – these are not gemstones despite the wishful naming of them, but to me at least, they far outrank the common Mexican Opal in terms of subtle fire, spark and mesmerising veils of changing colour.  The only opal which comes close for me is the black opal.
Looking around the web you will find some mid century (c1940) North American vintage costume jewellery makers who used what I believe to be the modern version of Dragon’s Breath in their designs.  They are usually ‘high-end’ makers as these stones were never cheap to produce or to buy.


Some purists may insist on still calling them Mexican Opal as did their Bohemian makers, but they have since acquired several other popular nicknames including Jelly Opal and what is the most popular; Dragon’s Breath.  

So if you are going out Dragon hunting at the next yard sale or flea market at the weekend – or even checking them out
online – be aware of all these different names used for this amazing Bohemian art-glass stone.

At the end of the debate, no matter what you care to call it,
these delicious Czech art-glass stones are the classic case of Bohemian Chameleon and are highly sought after by collectors worldwide.

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