Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on December 8, 2020

It is with great pleasure that we dedicate these three posts to our daughter-in-law Tori Randall. Due to her interest and vast knowledge of rocks and minerals she has been our inspiration for writing these posts.

Aventurine Glass (active link)

Ancient Agate Patterned Glass (active link)

Ancient Glass That Imitates Rock Crystal

Ancient Glass that Imitates Rock Crystal

Hellenistic cast glass Kantharos First half of 1st C. AD in The Louvre

Rock Crystal is a colorless and transparent or translucent variety of quartz (SiO2). It is colorless because it practically has no other trace minerals. The cryptocrystalline (extremely small crystals) varieties are either translucent or mostly opaque, while the transparent variety tend to be macrocrystalline (small crystals).  The crystallinity is caused by rate of cooling as the quartz is formed.

In ancient times rock crystal was used to make beads, amulets and other types of jewelry for its transparency and beautiful clarity. Occasionally it was cut into small vessels. Because it was rare to find a clear crystal large enough to make a vessel, production was limited.  Glassmakers in antiquity were able to imitate rock crystal with glass. Glass, which at the time was a relatively new material is made with quartz and could be cast into vessels and cold worked.  But most important production was limited. For additional information on the chemistry of ancient glass click on this link.

Below are examples of objects carved from Rock Crystal, followed by containers made of glass to imitate it. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Rock Crystal Objects


Glass Vessels Imitate Rock Crystal


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