Whenever I think about glitter, I think of this quote from the MTV show DARIA:
Ashley-Amber - How do you think they make glitter?
Brittany - Hmm. I don't think we've learned that yet in science.
Salesman - Can I help you, ladies?
Ashley-Amber - Yes. How do they make glitter?
Salesman (flirting) - Why, they capture a moonbeam and crumble it up into tiny little specks of magic.
Ashley-Amber (to Brittany) - Then we can save a bunch of money by doing it ourselves.
However, apparently glitter is NOT made of captured moonbeam magic.
Glitter is made from glitter itself. It just gets smaller and smaller in size. It's a relatively recent invention (believed to have been invented in the 1930s) made of polymers, and the vast majority of glitter is manufactured in New Jersey. The conditions of making glitter are top secret, but one company, Glitterex, consented to be interviewed by the New York Times for this piece on glitter (refusing to name their customers, of course, or the top-secret glitter manufacturing techniques).
"There are a couple ways to achieve a rainbow effect on individual
glitter particles, so useful for politics. Holographic glitter is made
by embossing a fine pattern onto film, so that the surface reflects
different colors of light in different directions — there is nothing
intrinsically rainbow-colored about the glitter itself. Contrast this
with more subtle iridescent glitter, which reveals various luminous
colors depending on the angle at which it is viewed, and is made from a
multilayered clear film, composed of polymers with different refractive
Apparently each layer on a piece of glitter is half the wavelength of light, and multi-colored glitter is made up of 233 layers.
A 10-pound plastic bag of glitter (higher end, meaning extra-fine) costs approximately a thousand dollars, and Glitterex offers over 10,000 varieties of glitter. Because glitter takes thousands of years to biodegrade, all the glitter that's been manufactured since its invention in the 1930s is still with us, and it's used to track animal faeces for creatures like polar bears and cats.
Who knew that human's innate desire for fresh water would attract us and create this obsession with all things shiny and sparkly?