What you want to know about glitter

It’s old. Very, very old.

I assumed that glitter was invented a while in the Victorian period, probably for the only real function of gaudying-up sentimental greeting cards. However glitter is much older than I ever guessed.

A while around forty,000 B.C., historic humans started dusting sparkly crushed minerals over their cave paintings. As early because the sixth century A.D., Mayans had been adding glitter made of mica to their temple partitions, based on National Geographic. And in 2010, the BBC reported that reflective material was discovered blended in with what’s believed to be the residue of 50,000-12 months-old Neanderthal cosmetics.

It’s not made of metal.

Aluminum, maybe tin: That’s what I thought glitter was made of. Nope. Fashionable glitter was invented in 1934 in New Jersey, of all places, when American machinist Henry Ruschmann figured out a solution to grind plastic into glitter. Finally the raw material developed into polyester film layered with coloring and reflective materials « fed by a rotary knife cutting system … kind of a mix of a paper shredder and a wood chipper, » in response to glitter producer Joe Coburn. Before that, glitter was made of glass. Not something you’d wish to eat.

It’s everywhere.

Tons of glitter are produced yearly (actually, tons). There are 20,000 types of glitter available from pioneer glitter-makers Meadowbrook Inventions alone, starting from the run-of-the-mill craft glitter you bear in mind from kindergarten to « particular effects » glitter for industrial applications. It can be as nice as dust or as chunky as confetti. As glitter producer Coburn remarked on Reddit in 2014, an order of « 2 tons a month is a very small measurement

You possibly can see a glitter-making machine in motion here — it’s disturbingly environment friendly at reducing thin sheets of polyester film into gleaming little grains. Glitter isn’t biodegradable and most people don’t recycle it. So it’s not going anywhere.

You may eat it.

Hold on! You can’t eat just any glitter. It has to be edible glitter, a hip new condiment that gained fame on Instagram in 2017. Because the first twinkling photos showed up, it’s made an look on everything from donuts to bagels to pizza.

Within the curiosity of serious academic research, I believe it’s essential that I examine and eat edible glitter. What is it made of? When was it invented? Most essential of all, what would occur if someone baked it right into a cake and ate it?

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