Glass is probably one of the most important, and yet one of the most overlooked materials used in everyday life. From very early times, glass has been used for various kinds of vessels such as bowls, vases, bottles, jars, and drinking glasses. Archaeological evidence suggests glass making dates back to at least 3600 BC in Mesopotamia, Egypt, or Syria. It’s unclear which of these was the first to start making glass, but glass objects have been found in all three regions. The earliest glass objects were beads.
The main component of glass is a mineral compound known as silica (also called silicon dioxide or quartz). To make glass, silica is combined with a range of different ingredients and then fired. The most common type of glass used today – and throughout its long history – is known as soda-lime glass, the type of glass that is clear and colorless to the naked eye. Soda-lime glass production involves mixing together silica with ‘soda’ or sodium carbonate, and ‘lime’ or calcium oxide, before heating them together in a furnace at temperatures of around 1320 degrees Celsius. The molten mixture produced as a result is then worked into a shape and left to cool, producing solid glass.
Decorative and functional glass items have been made for thousands of years and make a very exciting area in which to collect: each piece gives an impression of the social, political, and economic climate in which it was made. We have a very diverse selection of antique glassware ranging from lovely English, striking Irish, and exquisite Art Nouveau pieces.