How We Make Our Glasses - Cellulose Acetate
You may be wondering, what is acetate? Cellulose acetate is a bioplastic material which characteristics and properties make it eco-friendly and extremely durable. Our artisanal, fifty-step process is carried out at home, in our workshop in Sorrento, Italy.
Each pair of glasses is handcrafted by finely trained artisans who have inherited their craft from generations of skillful family members before them. The result? Handmade, bespoke eyeglasses that are as unique and full of life as you are. Keep reading to learn more about how our eyeglasses are made. Also, don’t forget to check out our collections!
What is Cellulose Acetate?
Cellulose acetate is a plant-based plastic (bioplastic) that’s made from natural cotton and wood fibers, which are derived from wood pulp and cotton “bolls.”
How is Cellulose Acetate Made?
Beginning in vast cotton fields, cotton is harvested using a machine that only removes the top “boll” part of the cotton plant. The cotton is then cleaned and separated from any contaminants like bugs and dirt, and then broken down and refined into pure cellulose.
Creating Cellulose Acetate
Once this is complete, the cellulose is mixed with acetic acid (which is one of the main components of vinegar) to create cellulose acetate. At this point in the process, the cellulose acetate becomes very thick and opaque, with its thickness and texture resembling putty.
Thanks to cellulose acetate’s transparency and flexibility, this compound can be dyed with various unique colors and layered to create stunning eyeglass frame patterns. Our artisans use powdered disperse dye to dye the cellulose acetate, which they mix by hand to create striking colors. Then, we put the cellulose acetate through large machines with metal rollers, which evenly disperses the color throughout the acetate.
Then, we place the dyed cellulose acetate into square-shaped molds to cure (to solidify) and prepare them for cutting.
When the cellulose acetate is finished solidifying, we slice it into sheets and fragment it into small “pellets.” The pellets are used to create patterns by heating them and layering them on top of other colored acetate sheets. These pellets are used to create our popular tortoise shell frames.
The blocks are then cut into thin sheets using a hydraulic machine with an angled knife--sort of like cutting a piece of cheese off of a block. At this stage, the cellulose acetate sheets are still very flexible and malleable.
Our artisans manually remove the sheets from the machine, and gently hang them in preparation for heat-stabilization. The cellulose acetate sheets hang in an oven at a stable temperature for a few days in order to completely cure the acetate and keep it from changing chemically or physically.
This step is crucial and takes keen attention to detail to ensure the material is durable and prepared to be carved into eyeglass frames.
Using their bare hands, our artisans carve out your unique frames and embed wire cores and multiple barrel hinges by hand. Your glasses are carefully finished and perfected by humans - not by big machines. We don’t throw anything away.
We don’t just care about making your glasses--we care about the world you live in. We are committed to minimizing our carbon footprint and creating a sustainable business that doesn’t waste, destroy, or take advantage of any of the planet’s resources. That’s why we recycle every piece of unused acetate into our next production batch.
We don’t throw anything away. Not only does this reduce waste, but it drives our creativity and pushes us to experiment with new colors, shapes, and styles for you. Don’t forget to browse our collections and discover a pair of glasses that speaks to your style today! Shop now!