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Mysterious And Exotic Red Glassware

Red glassware has long had an air of mystique. It has been produced for many centuries, since the times of ancient Egypt and Rome. The Egyptians crafted this fine glass in 1550 BC by adding copper to it to produce the dense dark red coloring.


Another type of red glassware produced by the Romans in the fourth century was the Lycurgus Cup which is present in the British Museum. In reflected light the cup appears to be green in color, and then it turns to translucent red when the light is transmitted through it. It was through recent studies it was discovered that the transfer of color is mainly due to light refraction from the nanoparticles of silver and gold. It therefore also serves to be an example of 3500 year old nanotechnology.

There are exclusive pieces of similar Roman glass and it is entirely different from other types even till now the exact composition is not known. Many have thought that it was accidentally created and perhaps the glassmaker was unable to make duplicate copies of these pieces of glass.

The secret of making opaque red glass was lost for centuries even though the Egyptians and the Romans knew well how to create it. In 1670, Johann Kunckel who was a Bohemian chemist, rediscovered the secret of making this exotic glass. He was the one who discovered that gold chloride when added to glass produced a transparent beautiful red color.

Modern Red glassware

Even now Kunckelís composition is used for making red glassware. The quantity of gold chloride determines the depth of the color. The color ranges from delicate pink to deep ruby red and the depth of the color determines the price. As the color gets deeper the price also increases.

But even low cost red glassware can be made by adding selenium and other chemicals to the glass. This is because the red color becomes deeper by the addition of selenium and also is more affordable. Copper is another metal which is used in the production of red glassware, but usually it is preferred for stain coating made inside. But the most difficult part is adding copper to glass which is quite expensive and there are better methods for this process.

Of all the glassware and other decorative pieces, red glassware stands out to be the most desired and unique pieces found world wide. Collectors search for one of a kind pieces made by artisans of centuries past. But contemporary red glassware is also highly desired for collection and general household use. While setting up a dinner table it is the fun to have red glassware on it which would surely impart a mystery, drama and beauty to the dinner!


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