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Why Can’t I See the Color of My Fire Glass at Night?

You’ve spent weeks designing a beautiful outdoor space, piece by piece. You’ve chosen stylish furniture and hung some plants. More importantly, you’ve built a stunning outdoor firepit to tie it all together, using the best burner pan and flame guard on the market. And as the finishing touch on that fire pit, you chose a stunning, cerulean-blue fire glass as a pit filler.

Night falls, and you wait for your guests to arrive. You can’t wait to show off your new patio and get that fire blazing. Everyone gathers out back and pulls chairs around the fire pit, cup of hot cocoa or adult beverage in hand. You ignite the fire, and the flames leap into motion.

But hang on a second! The flames are flickering, but the blue fire glass that shone vibrantly in the daylight now looks dark. Why is this happening? Did you buy the wrong type of glass? Should you have picked a different color?

If you’re wondering why you can’t see the color of your fire glass at night, there’s no need to fret. When it’s completely dark outside and the only source of light is the flames in your fire pit, it’s normal to not be able to distinguish the glass color.

Why I don't see fire glass color at night.You see, it boils down to basic science and the way our eyes work. Humans’ eyes have two types of light sensors: rod-shaped and cone-shaped:

  • The rod-shaped receptors work very well in low light and at night, but they only see in shades of gray. The majority of the receptors in the eye are this type which enables them to see in low light.
  • The cone-shaped receptors require a much higher level of light to work, but they show images in full color. There are three types of cone-shaped receptors; red, blue and green. Each sees a different wavelength of light in that color spectrum to compose a full color image. There are few of these receptors so it’s difficult to see color in low light environments.

Since the cone-shaped receptors only work in well-lit environments, and don’t work when the light is low, you typically see only shades of gray at night. That’s why a bright red sweater looks bold and vibrant during the day but almost black after sundown.

Here’s a handy chart to help explain this phenomenon:

Rods Cones
Visible Colors Gray Scale (black & white) Full Color
Number of Receptors Approximately 120 million Approximately 5 Million
Environment Low Light Daylight / Bright Light

How Does Fire Glass Get Its Beautiful Color?

Fire glass is colored through the incorporation of metal oxides or metal powders during the manufacturing process. It’s done when the glass is still molten (in its liquid state before cooling and hardening). For example, to make blue fire glass, cobalt oxide is added to the molten glass to give it a cobalt-blue tint.

With all the stories of toxic dyes on the news today, the idea of burning colored glass can be worrisome. But rest assured that fire glass is completely safe to burn. It contains no finishes or additives that result in harmful fumes when exposed to heat.

So go ahead and use your favorite shades of fire glass with complete peace of mind!

Enjoying the Beauty of Your Fire Glass During the Day

Fire glass colors are typically meant to be seen during the daytime — or early evening just before the sun sets. That may seem odd, since you probably never considered what your fire pit will look like during the day. But this is an important consideration when shopping for fire glass. Contrary to what some people might assume, fire pits aren’t just for after-hours activities, and it doesn’t have to be pitch-dark for you to enjoy your outdoor fire feature. If you have a stylish, well-designed fire pit, it will serve as an attraction in its own right — flames or no flames.

Think about it: There are many hours during the day when you’re not sitting around the fire pit or fireplace, but you’d still like it to be an attractive and eye-catching feature. The look of your fire feature matters for a variety of daytime activities, such as:

  • Sunday breakfast on the patio
  • Summer family cookouts
  • Kids’ backyard birthday parties
  • Brunch with friends
  • Solo time relaxing with a book
  • Backyard yoga or meditation
  • Early family dinners (burgers on the grill!)

That said, you should select your fire glass color based on how you want it to appear during the daytime. Choose a color and type of fire glass that fit your individual style preferences and make your backyard space a desirable destination for all hours of the day. Here are a few colors and why you might choose them:

  • Blue is a very popular color because it works well as an accent for many décor styles — and, let’s face it, it’s just a beautiful shade to behold. And there are so many gorgeous variations of blue to choose from, such as Meridian Blue, Neptune Blue, or Tropical Blue.
    Emotions/moods evoked by blue shades: Calm, peaceful, soothing
  • Black is a bold choice for fire glass. It’s most often used as an accent color that provides contrast with other hues in the outdoor living area. Black looks dazzling in both daylight and beneath a flickering fire. You’ll be reminded of a star-filled night against the blackest sky!
    Emotions/moods evoked by blue shades: Sophisticated, mysterious, modern
  • Silver (Diamond Starlight Reflective Fire Glass by Celestial Fire) is another shade that’s sought after by fire pit owners everywhere. Silver offers a glamorous and sophisticated appearance and still fits into a wide range of décor styles.
    Emotions/moods evoked by blue shades: Graceful, glamourous, modern
  • Clear fire glass provides a unique ice-like appearance that has a wintry shimmer in the sunlight or flamelight. Like silver glass, it has a luxurious, diamond-like look that harmonizes well with virtually any decorating scheme.
    Emotions/moods evoked by blue shades: Cool, contemporary, elegant
  • Celestial Fire Glass - Cosmic Copper Fire GlassGold/copper shades are linked with passion, love, tradition, and wisdom. Gold-toned fire glass evokes thoughts of dreamy sunsets and autumn leaves and complements a range of fire feature styles.
    Emotions/moods evoked by blue shades: Warmth, coziness, family

Enhancing Your Fire Glass Beauty at Night

“This is all great info,” you may be thinking. “But I still want my fire glass to catch the eye at night, when I’m gathered around the fire with my favorite people!

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to emphasize your fire glass colors at nighttime.

The first thing to do is choose reflective fire glass to accent your fire feature. Reflective fire glass is specially manufactured to produce maximum luster. For example, our Tempered Fire Glass is made of tempered glass that has an ultra-smooth, highly lustrous finish. This is the result of never tumbling our glass like other brands do, because it can dull the surface. We also add a mirror coating to amplify the shine even more on every piece of glass.

While reflective fire glass doesn’t give you a greater ability to see color in the dark, it does enhance your backyard fire feature by reflecting the flames off the mirrored backing. This adds another dimension to your fire and helps pack more of a visual punch.

Here’s another clever tip for showcasing the color of your fire glass at night: Add some lights to your fire pit area. That way, you can shine them directly on that gorgeous fire glass. This is a design trick used by landscapers and craftsmen for years!

Now, we’re not telling you to install some bright overhead floodlights that illuminate your fire pit area like a football stadium. That would be anything BUT relaxing!

Rather, we recommend installing a couple of small, stylish directional lights on the side of your house or on a pergola. These don’t have to be expensive, and the style options are infinite (choose one that matches your décor).

The type of light you choose for your fire feature matters; it’s best to use white light with a color temperature of 5,000K.

What is color temperature, you ask? That’s a great question! It refers to the perceived warmth or coolness of a light source. Color temperature is based on the notion that yellow-red colors are “warm” and blue-green colors are “cool.” It’s measured in degrees of Kelvin (K) using a scale of 1,000 to 10,000.

A light with a color temperature of 5,000K falls right into the middle, showing a wider spectrum of light that allows your eyes to see more colors. You may even want to consider putting your fire pit lights on a dimmer, so you have full control over the mood and look of your space.

With the right kind of lighting to highlight your fire glass — and your fire pit ablaze — you’ll have the perfect setting for just about any kind of evening activity. When we’ve asked our customers about their favorite things to do by the fire pit at night, they’ve responded with an inspirational array of answers, such as:

  • Musical jam sessions (invite the whole band over!)
  • Singalongs with the family
  • Card games
  • Home product parties (cookware, essential oils, etc.)
  • Paint nights (a great girls’ or couples’ night idea)
  • Campfire ghost stories
  • Quality family time
  • Enjoying a fresh beer or cocktail
  • Stargazing

Other Ways to Embellish Your Fire Pit Area

Looking for other creative ideas to make your backyard patio or deck even more stylish and inviting? The possibilities are limited only by your imagination, but here are some ideas to get your wheels turning:

Add an outdoor rug. Rugs aren’t just for living rooms! Incorporating a high-quality indoor/outdoor rug into your patio space can really make it pop (and it lends a cozy feel). Choose a color that complements your fire glass shade or the pattern in your patio furniture cushions. There are so many sizes, shapes, and styles to choose from today, whether you prefer classic solid patterns or big, bold prints. The best part about outdoor rugs is that they’re usually made of weatherproof material that’s easy to keep clean.

String Lights for your fire pit.Hang up lanterns or string lights. Tiny twinkling lights can add a festive flair to your fire pit area at night. There’s a stunning variety of lights and lanterns on the market today, and many are energy efficient — no need to worry about big electricity bills.

Add a swinging seat. Change up your furniture ensemble with something unexpected, like a freestanding hammock or swinging chair. Swinging seats are all the rage these days, and many are designed compactly so they take up little space. Your family and guests will love it!

Build a pergola (or hire someone to do it). Erected from different types of wood, pergolas are fairly simple structures. But they serve as a powerful architectural focal point, creating an excellent spot for your firepit and furniture. Depending on how it’s designed, a pergola can also provide a degree of protective shelter on sunny days. What’s more, they present a convenient place to install extra lighting and to hang plants and other decorative items.

Add planters and greenery. Big, beautiful planters filled with flowers and greenery have a dual advantage: They look fabulous AND they provide a measure of privacy in your outdoor space. Choose minimalist-style containers made of natural materials like wood and terra cotta so the main focus is on the plants inside.

Hang curtains. Yes, curtains! If your backyard lacks privacy, consider putting up a pergola and adding curtains to it. You can draw the curtains to create a private, semi-enclosed oasis. Curtains can also add a tropical resort feel to your space, and help protect you from sun and wind when you want that.

Don’t shy away from accessories. Accessorizing your fire pit area can help personalize the space and make it seem warmer and more welcoming to your visitors. Some ideas include draping soft throw blankets over your patio furniture, adding framed family photos to end tables, and placing books and magazines on coffee tables. You can also toss a couple of comfy decorative pillows on your lounger for some irresistible charm. Chances are you and your family live in your outdoor space all season long — so make it look the part!

Fire glass is something to be enjoyed around the clock, so go ahead and stock up on your favorite colors! We hope we’ve provided some helpful ideas for making your fire pit the showpiece — and favorite gathering spot — of your back yard. Day or night!

Disclosure: Celestial Fire Glass is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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