Olivine sand (a magnesium-iron silicate sand) is a foundry sand whose primary domestic source was a mine that is no longer operational. While you may be able to find some stocks of domestic or foreign olivine, this sand has largely been replaced in North America by processed foundry sands, like Green Diamond Sand. Processed foundry sands can be purchased at most suppliers to the foundry industries.
The primary benefit to kiln-forming glass artists of olivine or processed foundry sands, is that they don’t contain free silica, making them safer to use than sands that do contain silica dusts. Any sand can be used in the kiln, but if you cannot find Green Diamond or olivine, be sure to wear a respirator while working with the material and ventilate your workspace well. All unfired sands will contain trace organics that will smell unpleasant when they first burn out.
Mary Kay Nitchie
Bullseye Glass Co.
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