Through Facebook, I discovered a wonderful fire medium called 'diamond fire glass', which--apparently--you can use to cover a gas burner. Here is a video on how the process of building one would work in an indoor fireplace, but I was thinking more of its outdoor and indoor altar fire applications.

I like the fact that you can turn it on and off fast, and that the glass gets hot pretty fast. Due to these features--especially when coupled with a drainage system, which can be as simple as a hole in the bowl I would want to create this in--a fire like this would be great for the (daily) libations. With the proper preparation, I think it would even work well for non-animal burnt offerings. Besides, it would look beautiful in any garden or indoor shrine.

According to Wikipedia: "fire glass tempered glass manufactured in pebble-sized fragments that is used as a medium to hold heat, usually in gas fireplaces. Fire glass does not burn, but holds heat as a result of burning gas, which burns cleaner and more efficiently and hotter than wood, and thus creates no smoke or ash. Fire glass is used in decorating based on its intrinsic nature, especially for outdoor fire pits, etc. Fire glass usually comes in small shards with rounded edges to decrease risk of cuts." 

I took a look at the prices of the materials, and it's not really expensive, which is good. The ring or tube that you can buy at suppliers ranges from around $40,- to $250,-, so you can make that part as expensive as you want; if you're handy, though, you can probably make one yourself with some piping and a drill. In this case, you'll only have to buy the beads, which come in a large variety of colors, from $3.99 to $11.99 for 1 lbs (0,5 kg). From what I've seen, the installation can take a fair bit of liquid. 

I would love to add this modern fireplace to my (future) shrines. It might not be very Recon-proof, but darn they are pretty! How about you? Would you like one of these, or do you have experience with them? I'd love to hear your opinion.