Shades of Ngwenya

Four Reasons Why Glass is Better Than Plastic

There is an age-old battle between glass and plastic. And while there are pros and cons for both sides, glass is almost certainly the better of the two. How so? Well, here are four good reasons.


Plastics fill up landfills at a phenomenal rate. Glass, due to the fact that it is reusable, is a far less harmful culprit. Glass is also a great material to recycle, and the process uses less energy and releases less toxins than plastic recycling. If you’re looking to go green, go glass.

Less Toxic

Producing a PET plastic bottle may generate as much as 100 times the toxic emissions than producing the same sized bottle out of glass. These toxins then go into the air and into water, polluting everything that it comes into contact with. For this reason alone glass should be considered for all applications hen possible.

Glass is Class

That’s right, glass is beautiful. Glass is easy on the eye, and certainly a lot more classy than plastic. Imagine hosting a dinner party and pouring that fancy bottle of red wine into plastic cups for your guests? The notion is almost incomprehensible. Quite simply put, glass = class.


Though glass products are often more expensive than their plastic counterparts, they will last longer. This means that by the time you have gone through 85 plastic containers, you could very well still have your original glass containers. Over time this amounts to huge savings. Think in the long-run when choosing between plastic and glass!

Shades of Ngwenya

Shades of Ngwenya is based at Ngwenya Glass Village in Muldersdrift. We are trophy manufacturers specializing in custom made trophies, awards and corporate gifts, as well as a large range of standard trophies. We manufacture from recycled glass, plate glass, crystal glass, resin, wood, aluminium, brass and stainless steel in the West Rand. Bring us your design and we will create it for you, or we can create a custom trophy or award design for you through our in-house graphic design department.

Trophy making - Shades of Ngwenya

How Glassblowing Works

Glass blowing may seem like a new thing that’s just popped onto the scene, however, the glass blowing technique has actually been around since antiquity. Even though it is not as old as simpler methods like cutting or carving shapes from bigger pieces of glass or bead making, the art of glass blowing has been all the range since the time of the Roman Empire.

First century B.C. Syrians are most commonly credited with the amazing discovery that glass could be blown by using a hollow tube and blowing into many different molds or shapes, this is a landmark event in the history of the glass manufacturing process.

Quite impressively, some glassblowing techniques have not evolved much since then. There have been a few new technologies that have introduced more modern equipment, but the main fundamentals of glassblowing have remained the same. Below is some more information about glass.

Glass is a very ubiquitous product and many of us do not give it too much thought. But if you evert stop and consider glass, a common question that may pop up would be, if glass is solid, how can it be transparent? Well, the transparency in glass is because of glass’ interesting molecular structure, this means that it is a solid, however, it has a molecular arrangement more akin to a liquid. With most solids, highly organized molecules are rigidly aligned and the closely bound together. When it comes to liquids, these molecules have a weaker connection and are positioned in a more random manner. Known as an amorphous solid, glass, while it is rigid like a solid, has a randomized molecular structure like a liquid does. And this characteristic is why glass is transparent. Light waves are much better at penetrating through this kind of arrangement than through any other close-quartered solid molecular arrangements.

But for now, it’s enough just to know that glass can be made from combinations of many different ingredients, and these create many levels of traits like strength, transparency and conductivity.
Shades Of Ngwenya are award winning manufacturing specialists in Krugersdorp. We specialize in customized trophy designing, trophy engraving and corporate gifts. For more information, visit our website on

Custom Trophies - Shades of Ngwenya

And the Winner is…

Families gather around their television sets in anticipation of the Academy Awards every year and hair never fails to stand on end when seeing one of its renowned recipients holding one of the most distinguishable trophies of our time; the Oscar Statuette. Whilst a trophy is merely particles of solid matter, the history and tradition behind the Oscar Statuette means it represents the kind of achievement which sets men and women apart in the film industry whilst defining careers.

So What’s the Big Deal with Trophies?

Sure, handcrafted custom trophies are uniquely tailored artworks and can be beautiful in themselves, but it is the blood, sweat, tears and constant striving for ranked achievement which really give them their true value and make them a desirable item to have in one’s possession.
In essence, trophies and various awards represent the concept of triumph whilst turning achievement and pride into something hand-held.

Why Would Trophies, Awards and Corporate Gifts Benefit My Company?

Introducing a tangible reward such as a trophy into the corporate space not only serves as a motivational tool, but paves the way for consistency and tradition to give the award more weight once there is a history behind it.

Doing this will also set a kind of benchmark for employees to reach and even strive beyond as they are prompted into action via motivating social and performance comparisons with peers. Awarding employees is also a way for you as the employer to express your appreciation and gratitude for their efforts and work ethic – making this a powerful tool for comradery and pride in the workplace.

How Do I Find Trophies that Uniquely Represent My Company?

Think about the values that your company holds and how you wish to evolve as a business from there. The kind of legacy or tradition you want your company to be synonymous with would probably be a great place to start with custom trophy design. The team at Shades of Ngwenya can assist you in creating your perfect representation in trophy form. For further information, send an inquiry to

The Magic Of A Custom Gift

Custom Wrapped Gift | Shades Of Ngwenya

The Magic Of A Custom Gift

We all have these certain people in our lives that we love, but we struggle to get them meaningful gifts that they would enjoy. This can be because they are fussy people who do not like many things, or they are one of those people who already seem to have everything. The trouble comes in when we know that we cannot always give them vouchers or generic gifts such as chocolate, biltong or even candles. We want our gift to be something that they would greatly appreciate, while still being something that they would use and enjoy. This can become very tricky, especially as the years go on.

Dealing With The Struggle

There is no doubt about it, we love these people in our lives, yet we dread any time we know we have to start the tedious hunt to find them something that they will like and use without giving them a simple or generic gift time after time. Sure, we can give them generic gifts every once in a while, but we also want to express to them how much we appreciate them and value their presence in our lives. We cannot always express that gratitude and admiration with another box of chocolates and a pair of socks.

A Custom Gift

A custom gift is a great way to show the people we love that we care about them and that we pay attention to them. It is a great way to let them know that we truly do want to make them happy and show our appreciation. It is also a great means of getting them something truly unique for their needs and interests. A custom gift is a simple, yet elegant item that you will get created just for that loved one. This could be based on something that they already have like an existing collection, or something that they need, or something that they would just admire.

The Perfect Custom Gift

The best custom gift is something that is personal to that specific person. There are no limitations to the gift as it could be a bar decoration, a study clock, an office paperweight or a new favourite beer glass. The options are there. If you are still stuck on what you could do, be sure to seek the advice of a professional. One such professional is Shades of Ngwenya. Be sure to visit their website to find out more about how they can help you create the best gift.

Interesting Facts About Glassblowing

Interesting Facts About Glass blowing | Shades Of Ngwenya


Interesting Facts About Glassblowing

Glassblowing is an amazing art form which has been evolving for centuries, and has now been elevated to a place you’ll have to see to believe. If you have not been to a local contemporary art event, then you have been missing out, especially if they feature glass artwork. At Shades Of Ngwenya we specialise in glassblowing, handcrafted custom trophies & medals. So we have put together some cool facts that we think you should know about glassblowing!


Volcanoes and lightning bolts were the first glassblowers.

In order to transform raw materials into glass, things need to be heated up to extremely high temperatures. For a better understand of how hot the temperature needs to be in order to create glass, nature originally made it in one of two ways. The first way glass was made, was when lightning struck sand, which sometimes fused it into slender glass tubes called fulgurites. The second way, is via a volcanic eruption, which sometimes fused rocks and sand together into a glass called obsidian.


Glassblowing is as old as the Roman Empire.

Glassblowing originated in the first century before the common era, which actually coincided with the establishment of the Roman Empire. Due to the fact that it appeared at this point in history, it made it easier for glassblowing to spread more quickly, and became all the more popular.


Mold-blowing and free-blowing are the two major methods of glassblowing now.

These days there are two major methods of glassblowing; mold-blowing and free-blowing. Mold-blowing, involves placing a glob of molten glass on the end of a blowpipe, and inflating it into a wooden or metal carved mold. This means that the texture of the bubble of glass is determined by the design on the interior of the mold, rather than the blower’s skill. On the other hand, free-blowing involves blowing short puffs into a molten portion of glass, which has been spooled at one end of the blowpipe.

Explaining Plaque and Trophy

Awards Explained: Plaques and Trophies

Award Types: Explaining Plaques & Trophies

Receiving and award is fulfilling as it is always great to feel appreciated which in turn boosts morale. Trophies and plaques are the most common types of awards; this is because they are the most frequently used types of awards. Let’s go through each type to provide a better understanding on what Trophies and Plaques are.


Trophies are most likely the most common type of award. In the past trophies were made out of silver or gold and were cup-shaped awards. Nowadays with the use of modern technology trophies can now be made out of wood, crystal, metal and any other material that can be changed into a relevant shape for a certain sporting event. Trophies are popularly used in sporting events.
A trophy serves as a reward for achieving a predetermined goal for a team or a player. Trophies work as they encourage teams to work together, leading them to achieve the final goal. For a single player, a trophy encourages individuals to achieve a distinctive goal that will separate him or her from all the players.


“Plaque” comes from a word that means tablet or ornamental plate. A plaque is usually a plate made out of ceramic, stone, metal or wood. Plaques are commonly awarded in formal occasions, corporate settings and events. Plaques are often given to volunteers, companies, organisations or members of the organisations/ companies. Giving a person or a group a plaque is a tangible way of giving them credit for their accomplishments.
Giving employees plaque to encourage productivity and to show them that their hard work is recognised and appreciated. Company managers, who understand that their employees deserve to be motivated and recognised have usually have employees that work harder and deliver satisfying outputs.

Unfortunately, a lot of organisations still do not see that an award is an investment. Awards help to keep staff members feel appreciated and which in turn encourages them to remain loyal. An award is the most inexpensive and most effective way of showing reinforcement. Many people take pride in their awards and place them on display in their homes for everyone to see, therefore make sure to choose plaques that are made out of the best quality materials.

Benefits of Recycling Glass

Benefits of Recycling Glass

Recycling is glass beneficial and extremely simple. Below are some detailed benefits of glass recycling:


  • It is a simple process

Glass recycling is simple because glass is one of the easiest materials to recycle. Furthermore, almost all municipal recycling centers and curbside recycling programs accept glass. For a large number of South Africans all that is needed is to, drop off empty glass containers at a nearby collection point or in some cases carrying recycling bins to the curb.  The most challenging part about recycling glass is that you might need to separate different colour glasses to maintain cullet (crushed glass) uniformity.

  • It is sustainable

Recycling glass is sustainable because glass is 100-percent recyclable. This means that glass can be recycled again and again and it will not loss the purity or quality in the glass.

  • It is efficient

Glass is the main ingredient in all new glass containers therefore recycling glass makes making it more efficient. Typically, new glass containers are made of approximately 70 % of recycled glass. It is estimated that, 80% of all recycled glass will eventually end up as new glass containers.

  • It saves energy

Recycling glass saves energy by not needing to make new glass. New glass is made by heating sand and other substances to a temperature of 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit. This process creates a lot of industrial pollution, uses up a lot of energy and produces greenhouse gases. Step one in the glass recycling process is to crush the glass and create cullet. Reducing glass products into cullet and making new glass containers this way consumes 40% less energy than making new glass from raw materials. This is due to the fact that cullet melts at a much lower temperature.

  • It Pays

Yep, that’s right it pays which is extra incentive to recycle glass. In South Africa buy-back centers offer cash refunds for most glass bottles.  Approximately 50 000 active glass collectors in South Africans collect and sell glass buy-back centres for extra money.

With all the benefits of recycling glass why not start recycling today. At Shades Of Ngwenya we are passionate about all things glass. Visit our website today.

Glass Plaque & Trophy Trend

Glass Trophies | Glass Plaque & Trophy Trend | Shades Of Ngwenya

The corporate sector invests in corporate plaques and trophies as tools for awarding their employees. These trophies are important as they are given to employees and teams in order to acknowledge the achievements in the various departments. There is a wide variety of gifts and awards used in corporate rewarding. However, we are seeing a growing trend in corporate rewarding sector, of trophies made from glass. This isn’t a new trend but it has been gaining popularity over the past few years. Glass Trophies have been gaining popularity because of modern technology, which has made the engraving process a lot easier.  Laser engraving is the modern way of engraving glass trophies and it is widely accepted because it is accurate and the etchings are much deeper. In the past engraving was something that was only done on metal materials, but thanks to innovative laser technology, crystal and glass can now be engraved.

Engraving trophies is the best way to customize and personalize corporate trophies, making them glass trophies very fashionable. Engraved trophies, are more sentimental because they have that added personal touch, compared to trophies that are not engraved. For example, engraving your employees name or a special message, on the trophy makes the trophy, that much more special. Bear in mind though, that the simpler the trophy’s design, the better the crafting will be.

Trophy makers have been using innovation to come up with more appealing materials to use when it comes to trophy design. Glass was an obvious choice as it caught their eyes due to its shiny nature. Glass is a great material as it can easily be modified into various sizes and shapes hence making it an ideal material for these processes. Glass trophies are becoming increasingly popular for the various award ceremonies due to its elegant and futuristic look. The sparkly and crystal-clear reflection of glass can be seen in all directions making the glass more popular material. 3D designs are also gaining popularity in the trophy industry. Choosing 3D glass corporate trophies for your award ceremonies sends a statement. A statement that you are not only enthusiastic about new ideas and of technology, but also that you value and recognize your employees. Therefore, make the right statement and choose a glass made trophies or plaquesShades of Ngwenya can customized and engraved glass trophies to your preferences, just like trophies made from other materials.

The Process of Blowing Glass

Glass blowing is an ancient tradition and art-form which has enriched our lives with adornments since man first learnt the benefits of heating sand. We make use of glass products in and around our homes in all shapes and sizes on a daily basis, and while it is common knowledge that glass is formed through a careful process of blowing, not many people know exactly what goes into it. So, to satiate your curiosity, here is a little information on its process.

Step 1: Putting the Glass in the Furnace

To make the glass malleable, it needs to be heated to incredibly high temperatures. A furnace is needed for this, and it needs to be heated to a staggering 1,090 °C. That’s about the temperature of molten lava, or if you’re feeling dramatic, it is 1/6 the heat of the Earth’s core. From here, molten glass can be gathered on a blowpipe by rolling it over the molten glass in the furnace.

Step 2: Rolling on the Marver

Now, the molten glass and blowpipe should be carried to a marver where it should be rolled out to distribute the heat evenly around the glass, allowing you to shape it cylindrically and symmetrically. From here it can be taken and rotated in a crucible or glory hole. This will need to be done several times while the glory hole is used to keep the glass hot and easy to manipulate.

Step 3: Adding Colour and Style

Next, the glass is dipped into crushed colour class, flecks and steel depending on the design and desired outcome. This is then placed back into the crucible to be heated up, allowing the crushed and coloured glass to melt into overall structure.

Step 4: Blowing the Glass

Place the blowpipe complete with the glass on a steel stand. Now blow into it while rotating it at the same time, letting deep breathes into the pipe to blow air into the glass. Do this in 10 to 15 second intervals to ensure that the glass does not cool, which will make it difficult to blow and to fashion. Repeat the process of returning the glass to the crucible and blowing it again until you get the size and shape you are looking for.

Step 5: Removing and Cooling the Glass

Use jacks (sort of like tweezers) to remove the bottom of the blown glass from the structure as you turn the pipe, this will allow it to be removed from the pipe with one solid tap (any more and you risk breaking the glass). The glass should be caught (generally with fireproof gloves or in a fireproof box) and then left in an annealing oven for about 14 hours so that it can cool to room temperature slowly. Remember that glass tempers and cracks with sudden changes in temperature; so this process should never be rushed.

Contact Shades of Ngwenya

If you would like to know about glass blowing, or are interested in sourcing high quality glass products from a manufacturer with exceptional experience and style, contact a representative from Shades of Ngwenya today, or visit our website for details.


Everything About Paperweights


Paperweights have been around since the 1800’s. They were first introduced by the French, and then later used in the United States and the United Kingdom. A paperweight is a small, heavy object that is used to place on top of papers to keep them from blowing. This was a great advantage to painters and scripters before paper clicks and board clips were introduced.
Decorative glass paperweights became widely appreciated and collected because of their creative designs. They became so popular that the finest designs were even exhibited at museums.
Paperweights are manufactured by sole artisans and in factories where many artists and technicians collaborate.

How rare the paperweight is, workmanship, design, quality of glass, and condition determine the value of the paperweight. Scratches, glass bubbles and striations depreciated the value of the paperweight as they were visible flaws of the item. Generally, larger weights and weights with more defined detail would be more expensive. Modern day collectors look for distinguishing factors such as artists’ marks, signatures, country of origin and dates. The more significant, the higher the value.
There are in fact different types of paperweights. They are as follows:
• Lampwork paperweights – these paperweights had objects such as animals, flowers, fruit and insects (butterflies specifically), shaped onto them using coloured glass melted into the paperweight. These were produced by studio artists and were highly realistic.

• Millefiori paperweights – This, directly translated means Italian-thousand flowers. It contains thin cylindrical canes that are cross-sectioned. These resembled flowers. These were produced in a factory setting.

• Sulfide paperweights – these paperweights had a medallion or portrait plaque in a cameo-like style made from ceramic that has been reproduced in very fine detail. They often commemorate a special event or person.

• Crown weight paperweights – The crown weight has twisted ribbons, one always a lace white, which radiate from the crown of the centre, down to the base. This paperweight is still one of the most popular till present days.

• California-style paperweights – These are made with painting the surface of the paperweight with molten coloured glass and manipulated with picks or similar shaping tools. This process is called torchwork.

• Victorian portrait paperweights – These are dome glass produced paperweights and contained the pictures of ordinary people produced on a milk glass disk and encased in the paperweight.

• Swirl paperweights – these have two or three colours of opaque rods, radiating in a pinwheel manner from the centre of the milleflori floret. A style similar to this is the marbrie.

Shades of Ngwenya specializes in paperweight manufacturing as well as trophy manufacturing. Visit our website to learn more.