Glass Gem


Zea mays.  Glass Gem. Gorgeous translucent, jewel-colored ears, each one unique. A stunning variety selected over many years by Carl Barnes, a part-Cherokee farmer and breeder from Oklahoma. Selected from crossing several traditional corn varieties and saving seed from the vivid, translucent kernels. Gifted to NS/S by Bill McDorman who acquired the seed from Greg Schoen, one of Carl's students. To read the story behind this magnificent corn, check out this Native Seeds Blog post.  From our Seed Bank Collection.

  • The kernels may be ground into cornmeal or popped.
  • Size of ears range from 3-8 inches. 
  • Height of plants depend upon water, but can reach up to 9 feet, typically 6 feet. 
  • Glass Gem can be harvested approx. 110-120 days after planting when the husks are dry and brown for the most intense and translucent colors. 
  • Packet size 7g/approx. 50 seeds 

  • Seed Saver Size includes approx 35g/250 seeds plus information on corn pollination and seed saving. 

  • Limit 3 packets.

All photos shown here are copyrighted by Greg Schoen and used with permission.


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  • $3.95

Customer Reviews

Based on 65 reviews
Vob Hendrick

22 out of 28 seeds planted outside germinated and are coming along great!


Carl Barnes has been determined by the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma to not be of Cherokee desent

Bill Kocher
Look good but way short of 50 kernels

Seeds are bright and clean. But I am disappointed that I only got 36 seeds instead of 50. Plus or minus to me means 2 or 3 like 47 to 53; not 36. I hope I have enough to get good pollination.


Seed germinated and grew well. No problem through the season. But at harvest many shucks were very tight leading to mold and diplodia forming on the ears, so I peeled the shucks back somewhat on the tighter ears. This help a lot. As the ear matured and the the kernels started drying it was evident that the seed I received was grown near yellow dent field corn and was cross pollinated. Several of the ear had all large, dented kernels and bland coloring. On other ears there was slight denting. None of the kernels from those ears popped. When I shelled the ears I culled out the suspicious ears. However apparently I didn't cull enough. About 25% still doesn't pop. What does pop pops well. I wouldn't recommend this if growing for popcorn. For decoration, it's not to bad. But there were very few "glassy" ears.

Ginger Dalde
Had Loads of Fun!

Glass Gem was my first popcorn variety. I saw it advertised on Facebook and read about it. I planted 2 packets (about 100 seeds). I'm not sure if it was the weather (turned very hot in June) or if it's typical, but the germination time was quite variable. I had plants that were 1 to 1 1/2 weeks difference in growth. Other than that, it was pretty easy to grow. I think I planted a little late so our growing season was not quite long enough - we had early frosts too, so I had to harvest some before it was mature. It was very fun shucking it -- a feast for the eyes every ear! Got some really beautiful ears as well as some runts and misfits which were still the cutest and very bright colors.
I gave away quite a few bunches wired together with a bow for Autumn neighbor gifts and then took the rest off the cobs after drying. Gave small jars of corn away as Christmas gifts. The corn pops fine -- not like the commercial popcorn, a little smaller, but taste very good. I pop them in the microwave. They do take a little longer than the commercial to pop.
My order was filled immediately and the seeds were worth the price. Thanks!