Sparkly sidewalks

Readers Nick and Sarah wrote in with an interesting question:

On Valencia, most of the new sidewalk (roughly 15th to 20th st) has an excellent sparkly nature to it.  Something has been mixed into the concrete to give it a sparkly (most lovely under streetlights at night).   We want to replicate this…. but what is it?  Quartz? Gold?  No one seems to know….. do you guys have an answer?

Although we’ve noticed this on Mission Street as well, we do not have the answer (although I highly doubt it’s gold).  Do you?

[Photo by Marco Valtas]

23 Responses to “Sparkly sidewalks”

  1. Brian says:

    Yeah, it’s called Silicon Carbide. You can buy it in powder form in bags and then you work it into the surface of the concrete as it’s curing. They have a ton of these sidewalks in NYC, so it’s cool to see them in SF now.

  2. Mike says:

    Pretty sure it’s diamonds.

  3. Pedro Navaja says:


  4. Victor says:

    Homeless guy’s jizz.

  5. GG says:

    The sparklies been all over the place downtown for as long as I can remember.

  6. kb says:

    totally thought i was imagining this sparkle thanks to powerful edibles

  7. Brillo says:

    When they laid the new sidewalks this was the last step. A worker walked along with a bag of glitter/powder and just sprinkled it over the wet pavement. It’s not mixed in, just a surface treatment.

  8. Heather says:

    Weird. I was just thinking last night that there should be more of these sidewalks. They are all over downtown, but I was dreaming of them being in the TL as well.

  9. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

    It’s glass.

  10. tk says:

    Angel tears. Pretty cool to see them locally.

  11. MrEricSir says:

    It’s nothing new, I always enjoyed sparkly sidewalks when I was a kid.

  12. They seem to be much easier to damage than regular sidewalks.

  13. phlavor says:

    It’s bedazzled. That stuff is fun to walk on on acid.

  14. Olu says:

    They’ve been putting this in sidewalks here since at least the 60s.

  15. Elliott says:

    I’ve heard that its recycled glass

  16. halle says:

    its glass, and they use it in asphalt (glassphalt) and concrete. it’s used in place of the sand that normally gets mixed in, and its actually stronger

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  20. derek says:

    Some sidewalks are made with this ‘glitter’, however, if you see almost silver like glitter on a very small nano scale, meaning when you try to walk up and look close it disappears because of the angle of your approach, then it is chemtrail debris, probably Aluminum Barium particulates. I have taken a piece of Scotch Tape and pulled some of these particles up. We are breathing ‘heavy metals’ that they are spraying on us. There is a difference between contrails (those short white ‘smoke’ trails from planes, and chemtrails, the lines planes leave that stretch from horizon to horizon. Research chemtrails. we are being sprayed.

  21. Paul Smith says:

    After you’ve had a few drinks, it’s absolutely gorgeous