In the First Century AD a major technological breakthrough occurred in the production of glass. Glassblowing, a technique that involves inflating molten glass into a bubble and shaping it, allowed for the mass production of glass products. Now glass workers could produce glass objects faster and with less raw material than ever before. Because of this increase in the amount of glass objects produced in the First Century, today Roman Glass is found in abundance throughout the Mediterranean and Near East.
Israel has large stretches of sandy dunes and beaches. As a result it was one of the largest producers of Roman glass in the Ancient Roman Empire. It was produced in a large range of colors and forms such as goblets, pitchers, vases, jars and bowls. Most of these vessels did not survive the past 2 millennia, however, shards are found in archaeological sites all over the Holy Land. Each piece of ancient Roman Glass endured the wind, soil and pressure to form the beautiful colors and textures you see today.
Roman Glass Today
In Israel occasionally a Roman Glass vessel is found intact or nearly so. These vessels are placed in museum collections and belong to the people of Israel. However, much of the ancient glass found has no provenance and while still beautiful and meaningful, has little scientific value. These pieces are those that are used in Roman Glass jewelry. The antiquities industry in Israel is very well regulated and all Roman Glass pieces used in jewelry are purchased from a government licensed antiquities dealer.
The beautiful fragment that was once part of the lip of a vase or base of goblet from a household in Ancient Israel is created by a designer into a stunning piece of Roman Glass jewelry. These pendants, earrings and bracelets are designed to highlight the beauty of the Roman Glass and honor its journey though time. Typically found in shades of blue and aqua, Roman Glass is set in sterling silver or 14k gold settings which accentuate its beauty. Roman Glass earrings hang delicately from the ears catching the light as the wearer moves. Roman Glass pendants look beautiful against any skin tone in lovely Judaic, Christian and Messianic jewelry designs.
Caring for Roman Glass Jewelry
Do not get Roman Glass jewelry wet. The weathering of the glass over time and the glass composition create the beautiful iridescence (the shimmering rainbow-like colors) and light encrustation of the surface of the glass. If the glass gets wet, the encrustation on the surface of the glass will deteriorate and it will no longer have the beautiful iridescence which makes it so desirable as a striking piece of jewelry.
The Roman Glass itself does not need cleaning. Any change that may occur to the piece of Roman Glass is a natural reaction to the environment. It is a natural process that cannot be reversed.
Sterling Silver settings need to be cleaned. The sterling silver pendants should be cleaned using a dry silver cloth. No chemicals or detergents should be used as it might get on the ancient glass. Roman Glass earrings and Roman Glass pendants should be cleaned more often than other Roman Glass Jewelry. If the sterling silver setting gets too oxidized (turns black) it will be difficult to clean without the use of silver cleaner.
Like an individual’s spiritually journey, each piece of Roman Glass is shaped by its own passage through the Holy Land. This makes each piece of Roman Glass Jewelry a very special one-of-a-kind piece, just like the individual who wears it.