What is the Sand in Hourglasses?

Customers often ask us what is sand in the hourglass. Is it natural sand? The answer is no, it is not natural sand. According to some policies, we are not allowed to import or export natural sand. So we have to find a substitute. For now, there are four main types of sand. We will explain them in detail.

Glass Beads

Glass beads are the most common material which we use. And they have different sizes and can be easily dyed in different colors. Most of the sand timers you find in the markets use this sand. The glass beads have many sizes, and the sizes use a special measurement unit: MESH.
The size we use is from 60 MESH to 180 MESH. And the unit conversion is as below:

60 MESH=0.25 mm
80 MESH=0.177 mm
100 MESH=0.147 mm
120 MESH=0.125 mm
140 MESH=0.105 mm
180 MESH=0.088 mm

For normal sand timers, we use 100 MESH, like the wooden decorative hourglass.
for large sand timers, we use 60 MESH, like the large plastic hexagon sand timer.
for the small sand timer, we use 180 MESH. like the 10 min small plastic sand timer.

Metal Balls

The metal ball is another kind of “sand” that we use in the hourglass. Some customers need the metal ball in their hourglasses, such as the Flat Hourglass. The balls are heavy so the entire hourglass is much heavier than normal hourglasses. In this way, we need to control the quality carefully. And we also use these metal ball sand in a magnetic hourglass for kids. When the balls fall, you can hear them hit the bottom.

Metal sand

The metal sand is something like glass beads, as they are both powders. We put the metal sand into a special hourglass: the magnetic hourglass. There is a magnet in the base, so when the sand is falling and hit the bottom of the hourglass, the metal sand will get together and become a ball.

Electroplated Beads

For some reason, we didn’t use electroplated beads much. The size of the beads is big, so if the running time is not long, like 2 or 3 minutes, we can use it. We can electroplate them to vivid colors, so they look very beautiful. Even though they cost more, some customers still like to choose them.

Other Types of Sand

There are also some other types of sand, but we don’t use them much, or just one or two customers use them, like the soybean, so we don’t talk about them here.