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.

The Importance of Recycling

Shades of ngwenya recycling

The Importance of Recycling

By simple definition, recycling is converting or reprocessing waste products or material into reusable material. The concept of recycling has been around for most of human history. In the year 1031, Japanese shops first sold re-pulped paper, and that was the first recorded instance of recycled paper. During the 1750 and 1850, bronze and other metal scraps were collected by the Europeans so they could melt it and use it perpetually.

When industrialization happened, it incited a demand for cheap materials so mass manufacturing could be possible.

It was later discovered that recycling has many more advantages than just being cost effective. They are as follows:

  • Recycling helps preserve the environment –

The amount of energy needed to melt recycled glass is significantly less than the amount of energy needed to melt raw materials and get the right consistency of mixed materials to make new bottles and jars. Recycling one bottle can save enough energy to power a television set for one and a half hours. This shows that material as well as energy is saved while recycling.


  • Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions

When our waste is disposed of and burnt in an incinerator, it releases CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and N2O (Nitrous Oxide) emissions. These emissions are part of a group of greenhouse gases.  If there is less waste to burn in landfills, then there’ll be less greenhouse gases emitted.


  • Recycling reduces landfill spaces

If waste is disposed of properly, meaning if materials go directly for recycling instead of being incinerated, then landfills would take up less space.


  • Recycling cuts waste disposal costs

If waste is ordered, and more people know how to dispose of certain waste materials, then less money will be spent on disposal. This will then in essence help the country economically.


  • Recycling empowers the public to feel like they’re apart of saving the world from the global warming epidemic. If every individual can play an active part in conservation by simply supporting a recycling course, this will be the first step to becoming an environmentally active community. We’ll also start to learn the value of each material and savor it.

Many companies like Shades of Ngwenya use recycled material to recreate beautiful and innovative artworks. Contact them for recycled trophies or glassworks today!

How to Reuse Glass Bottles

How to Reuse Glass Bottles

Have you lost count of all the glass bottles in your home?

We all know the feeling, buying that one expensive bottle of wine or whiskey or maybe any special drink, eventually finishing it, and then not wanting to get rid of the bottle. Because it was just that expensive! And we all fall victim to collecting that one shape or colour bottle that we hate throwing away, because we could use it for something.

And then end up using it as a water bottle…


Here are some super amazing creative and innovative ideas for your compulsive bottle hoarding!

  1. Glass bottle chandelier… wait what? A Chandelier??? YES! A chandelier!

This one is only for people with a peculiar taste in home décor. It’s immensely interesting to see what you could come up with. Don’t be afraid to play around with different shades of paint, or colours of canned spray. However, make sure that you choose tones and patterns that match the rest of the desired room, so that your new chandelier complements the rest of the room.

  1. Vase Centrepiece

Whether it’s for your dining table, or for your kitchen counter, at some point you will need something personalized that makes your house, your home. There are many fun ideas you could play around with! Make sure that when choosing a design, that it complements you as the home owner, and your home.

  1. Candle Wind Chime

It’s a candle holder and a wind chime! Making these chimes does require a bit of DIY knowledge, so if you don’t regularly craft, then it would probably be insightful for you to do some research beforehand. They are beautiful for an outside porch, or for lighting up your garden.

Glass crafting companies like Shades of Ngwenya, reuse and recycle glass and make the most beautifully crafted glass ornaments. If you still have no idea on what you could do with your old glass bottles, and maybe need more inspiration, view Shades of Ngwenya’s showroom!