(Bloomberg Businessweek) -- Sunglasses, despite the name, are rarely made with glass anymore: The majority of lenses today are a polycarbonate blend of plastic. But at Dom Vetro, founded by former investment banker Ashley Bézamat, they are fashioned from mineral glass. After leaving his day job, the Paris-born, Stanford-educated entrepreneur used his dual U.S.-EU citizenship to begin apprenticing with artisans in the Italian Alps who still make their shades by hand.
In 2012, Bézamat started Dom Vetro in the Veneto region; five years later, he moved the company to Culver City, Calif., bringing the machines and materials from Italy. Dom Vetro can make a custom pair perfectly sized for your face, but for instant gratification, try the $295 quartz Primo sunglasses, which are part of the brand’s first collection to be fully made in the U.S.
• The $290 Lemtosh design from New York-based Moscot has a shape similar to the Pietra 2’s and is available in transparent frames.
• Ray-Ban is considered the all-American sunglass brand, and its RB2132 collection (from $158) continues the tradition, now with shimmering metal effects.
• At Barton Perreira in Los Angeles, the $470 Bunker has a high-quality, clear acetate frame and is finished with dark-green polarized lenses.
Using glass means there’s no optical distortion, and the brand’s polarized lenses provide superior glare protection. The Pietra 2 frames are handmade from Italian-imported acetate and assembled in the brand’s workshop, where the lenses also receive their mirror-like finish. The single downside is that glass can scratch or eventually break; for $75, the company will replace lenses on any frame to get you back in the sun in no time. $295; domvetro.com
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