Ancient Roman Glass Jewelry Q&A

April 19, 2017 2 Comments

Ancient Roman Glass Jewelry Q&A

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.
Ancient Roman Glass Jewelry Available at Clothed with Truth

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. 

Roman Glass Fragments
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.

Roman Glass Jewelry Available at Clothed with Truth

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.

Click or tap here to view our entire collection of Roman Glass jewelry available for purchase from Clothed with Truth.

Roman Glass




2 Responses

Deborah & Rhett @ Clothed with Truth
Deborah & Rhett @ Clothed with Truth

July 15, 2019

Hi Robert,
Thanks for your question! Roman glass jewelry is created from layers of small shards of ancient glass. Upon excavation these shards are owned by the Israeli government. As the government is primarily interested in full/large fragments, these tiny glass shards are turned over to licensed antiquities dealers, who then sell them to jewelry makers. Our Roman glass jewelry is created by the Roman Glass Company (est. 1976) located in southern Israel (Kibbutz Revadim, M.P. Shikmim 79820, Israel). Each design includes a certificate of authenticity directly from the jeweler which details the historical significance of the glass. We hope this helps to answer your question. The direct contact information for the Israel Antiquities Authority may be found at http://www.antiquities.org.il. They would be able to provide further details should you desire to learn more about this process. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if we can be of further service. We’re here for you should you need us.
Kind Regards,
Deborah & Rhett @ Clothed with Truth

Robert G. Harris
Robert G. Harris

July 15, 2019

Do Israel Antiquities Authority rules and regulations require that contemporary pieces of jewelry with Roman glass settings have a government-issued certificate of authenticity to accompany each sale? Thank you.

Leave a comment

Back to the top