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Which is Real?

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Which Marble below is Real?

Well, they're both real. The real questions are "Which is Glass?", "Which is Clay?", and "How do you tell the difference?"

It's usually pretty tough to tell just by looking. But, get them in your hands and you'll notice three differences:

1) The clay one is lighter than the glass one.
2) The clay one is softer than the glass one.
3) The clay one is warmer to the touch than the glass one.

Just about everyone, even non-marble collectors, can tell the difference instantly. An all polymer clay marble weighs half as much as a glass marble of the same size. But, some contemporary polymer clay marbles are made with a glass core. And, depending on how thin or thick the clay overlay is, the resulting composite can be anywhere from 75% to 95% of the weight of a glass marble of the same size. So, let's say you're still having difficulty. Try this:

4) Look at the marble with a magnifying glass.

A 10-power loop will work just fine. The grains of the polymer clay are very coarse compared to glass. This is most evident where two different colors blend together. Although polymer clay comes in lots of different opaque colors and some limited translucent colors, there is no clear clay. So, if you can see through the marble, there's a really good chance it's not clay. If you're still having doubts, this should clinch it for you:

5) Gently click the two marbles together.

Two glass marbles when clicked together make a distinct crisp clicking sound. This is a direct result of the hardness of the glass and the smoothness of the surface. But, two polymer clay marbles, or even one polymer clay and one glass marble, when clicked together just produce a soft sounding thud. Obviously, you don't want to be trying this test with your most prized antique marbles. Pick a few common clearies or cats eyes. You'll hear the difference immediately.

By the way, in the picture above, the one on the left is the real clay marble.

There is one other way to tell if a marble is made of polymer clay. Carl started making marbles in 2006 and began signing them in January of 2008. Every two years the logo color changes. From January 2008 until December 2009 the logo color was gold. From January 2010 until December 2011 the logo color was silver. From January 2012 until December 2013 the logo color was black. From January 2014 until December 2015 the logo color was white. From January 2016 until December 2017 the logo color was yellow. From January 2018 until December 2019 the logo color was red. Beginning in 2020, the logo color is blue. These colorful logos help to date when the marble was made.

Here are a few examples of what the logos look like up close:

Be sure to look for these marks and Happy Hunting!

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