NJ is a global leader in glitter production, an industry steeped in secrecy

The holiday season is one of the most sparkly times of the year with many decorations, cards, clothing and makeup featuring glitter.

News 12 Staff

Dec 9, 2021, 12:42 AM

Updated 917 days ago

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The holiday season is one of the most sparkly times of the year with many decorations, cards, clothing and makeup featuring glitter.
Glitter is a product with deep New Jersey roots and has a bit of an air of mystery about it. There are at least two glitter companies in the Garden State and each declined to be interviewed or allow News 12’s Brian Donohue to come inside.
The history of glitter dates back to 1934 on a Bernardsville cattle farm, where farmer Henry Ruschmann invented a machine to cut metal into tiny pieces, creating modern glitter. It was previously made out of glass.
Today, Meadowbrook Industries still has a factory on the property where it is believed that the glitter is made.
New Jersey is, by most accounts, still one of the global leaders in glitter production. Besides Meadowbrook, there is also Glitterex, based out of Cranford. Like Meadowbrook, the folks at Glitterex also declined Donohue’s request for an interview.
The entire glitter industry seems to be steeped in secrecy. The New York Times once described the industry as “CIA level obfuscation.”
Both companies politely explained to Donohue that they use proprietary technology that they fear will be revealed and that publicity often just creates more inquiries than they can handle.
Donohue also pondered if calls for a glitter ban by environmentalists concerned about microplastic pollution make the companies a little leery of the media. Or, perhaps, glitter really is made out of fairy dust magic.
Whatever the reason, Donohue says that all this secrecy means New Jersey hasn't gotten proper credit for making the world sparkle. And he says that is a shame.


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