You’ve bought a new piece of dazzling Roman glass jewelry, or perhaps you already have a piece you’ve enjoyed wearing for years. Now you want to know what the best way to care for it is. Well, in order to answer that question let’s take a closer look at it.
What is Roman Glass?
This materiel is unmistakably recognized by the luminous colors that can be seen with the naked eye within the glass. Most common are endless shades of aqua, purples, blues, and pinks. This unique type of glass was first created in the first centuries CE, in the Roman Empire, when glass-making techniques were revolutionized by the introduction of glass blowing. The glass now created had a bluish-aqua tint to it and was used mainly for bowls and vessels in all shapes and sizes.
Since glass is made from sand and sand is made up of organic matter, the mineral composites within the sand have an ongoing effect on the color of the glass. The colors that can be seen in Roman glass today are a result of the glass reacting with climactic and geological elements – heat, water, various minerals in the earth – for hundreds of years. All these elements came together and caused many chemical reactions that resulted in brilliant, iridescent, Roman Glass.
Making Roman Glass Jewelry
For almost 2000 years, Roman glass shreds – as well as whole vessels – have been buried underground, creating beautiful colors, waiting to be discovered. In the past 100 years or so, archeologists excavating areas that were under ancient Roman rule – particularly in Israel – have been coming across Roman glass relics. Intact vessels can bee seen in museums around the world, but broken pieces are often transformed into jewelry, made mostly out of gold and silver.
Caring for Roman Glass Jewelry
If you are lucky enough to own a piece of historic-glass-on-a-chain, cufflinks, or a pair of stunning earrings, here are a few very important guidelines to caring for your Jewelry:
- Do not get the it wet with water. Remove your jewelry before you shower.
- Definitely do NOT go swimming with the jewelry on
- Avoid contact between the Jewelry and hairspray and perfume
- Avoid contact between the jewelry and any type of body lotion or hand cream
- Try to avoid touching it with your fingers as much as possible.
If you’re asking yourself, “why all the restrictions?,” the answer should now be simple: in order to keep those Roman glass colors shining and glistening for the next 2000 years.
Like we said before, the glass – being made up of organic matter – continues to react with its environment. Just as water, heat, oil, and other elements affected the glass in the past, they may continue to do so in the present. When you need to clean your jewelry, polish the silver or gold with a cloth but try to avoid the glass. The best thing to do is to give the jewel to a specialized jeweler and have him clean it for you.
In conclusion, the best way to care for your jewelry is to always handle it with the utmost care. After all, you’re handling a piece of ancient history.