How old is the glass used to make Roman glass jewelry?
The awe inspiring history and mysterious beauty of Ancient Roman Glass jewelry is undeniably captivating. The delicate glass fragments used to create Roman glass jewelry date back to the Ancient Roman Empire and have been unearthed from modern-day archaeological excavation sites near Jerusalem in Israel. With the pioneering invention of glass blowing around 50 BC, the people of the Roman Empire became highly skilled glass-makers and produced more glass than any other ancient civilization. Centuries later, we are thankful that this glass has stood the test of time!
What are the origins of Roman glass?
The iridescent glass fragments used to create Roman Glass jewelry likely originated from common objects such as goblets, plates, bowls, vases, or jugs. By combining 2000 years of nature and skilled artistic craftsmanship, these everyday remnants of history have been brought to new life. Ancient Roman Glass fragments have been transformed into treasured works of opalescent art allowing you to wear a uniquely crafted piece of Biblical history.
How are the colors of Roman glass created?
Due to its strategic location along the Mediterranean Coast, Ancient Israel was one of the largest glass producers of the Roman Empire and is the epicenter of where most of the ancient glass is now found. The presence of large stretches of sandy beaches and dunes provided a plentiful source of materials. These same silicon sands helped preserve, shape, and temper the lustrous glass used in Roman glass jewelry. Each fragment has been textured and colored by centuries of soil, pressure, wind and weather resulting in pigmented deposits on the surface of the glass. Roman Glass is similar to bronze or copper in terms of how it develops a patina as it ages. Through weathering and oxidation, the pigment has developed into beautiful patinas of blues and greens creating shimmering iridescence, or the rainbow-like colors and light, that are present in Roman glass jewelry.
Small fragments of raw glass as they were found at a Roman-era site in northern Israel in 2015. (Shmuel Magal, courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority)
Is the surface of Roman glass smooth like modern glass?
Roman glass jewelry is quite delicate and should be worn as special occasion pieces. The surface texture of the Roman Glass is not smooth as one might expect, but rather has a rough "mica-like" finish. The glass used to create each pendant is over 2000 years old, so be sure to treat it due respect and with gentle care.
How should I care for Roman glass jewelry?
Roman glass itself should not be cleaned, but you may gently polish the sterling silver elements with a gentle polishing cloth designed especially for sterling silver. It is important to avoid allowing the Roman glass to come in contact with water or other liquids as this can create a chemical reaction that can cause discoloration and disintegration of the patina. Avoid touching the glass as our fingers often have a layer of surface oil which can change the chemical elements of the glass and cause its colors to change and turn murky.