Learn about Roman glass

If you’ve never heard of Roman glass before reading this, you are not the first. In full transparency, I did not know what it was before we started working with this magical substance and the fabulous artisan, Efrat Saada-Limor behind these beautiful pieces.

Roman Glass is a Piece of History

The pieces of Roman Glass incorporated into our collection are over 1,500 years old dating back as early as the year 27 B.C. and originate from products created in Roman Empire times. Every piece carries a piece of history with it.

This glass was originally part of a vase, perfume bottle, plate or other items used by people during the Roman Empire Era when glass production reached new heights through the development of better glass-blowing technology.

Roman vases

The work to incorporate this glass into our jewelry collection starts with the careful selection of glass fragments that come from archaeological excavations. The glass is then cleaned, cut and shaped until the desired shape and sizes are achieved. Finally, these moments of history are set into sterling silver to create a unique, one-of-a-kind look.

Glass, in the form we know it today, was first known to be created around 2200 B.C. in what is now northwestern Iran. It is formed when sand (silica), soda (alkali), and lime are fused at high temperatures. The color of the glass can be altered by adjusting the temperature in the furnace and by adding specific metal oxides to the glass such as cobalt for dark blue or tin for opaque white.

Even though this art form pre-dates the Roman Empire, it was during the time Rome ruled that almost all of the major glass-art techniques, which are still used by glass artists today, were invented. The most significant technique developed was the invention of free-blowing which allowed artisans to create shapes of glass never before seen. The Romans were obsessed with it and  it is estimated that over 13 billion pieces of glassware were produced during the seven centuries that Roman Empire reigned over the Mediterranean World.

Efrat Saada-Limor

Efrat Saada-Limor was enamored by the history associated with this unique glass and the fact that she could inlay a piece of history in each jewel. You will notice that the glass is of various shapes, thickness and color and this is because each object was hand blown and is unique. When we asked Efrat which was her favorite piece, she pointed to the Augusta Praetoria Pendant stating that the necklace houses a large piece of Roman Glass while still having a delicate, artisan look created by the organic leaf motifs and hammered silver.

Flower patch pendant

Because of the delicate nature of these historical artifacts, please make sure to treat your Roman Glass jewelry as you would any other fine jewel. Although Efrat seals the glass with lacquer to preserve it, water could, over time, dissolve the seal which could cause damage to the glass. A bit of rain will never hurt it but we do recommend remove the jewel before washing or swimming.

– Lee

One thought on “Learn about Roman glass”

  1. Just amazing. I myself create jewelry but nothing to the quality of design offered by your designers.
    What a gift Silpada is offering his clients to introduce the creators of this fabulous jewelry.

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