How Glass Gets Its Color

We’ve shared the history of glass and the reasons why glass ‘sparkles’, but one of the other common questions we get is how glass gets its color.  When Laurel creates a stained glass window or you buy a beautiful purple glass vase, the glass gets its color from simple chemistry.  By adding in certain minerals, pigments (which are mineral salts) or chemicals to the base of silica (SiO2) we can create the color, add to its intensity or combine it for unusual results.  When working with glass, not only do you need to be an artist, but you also need some basic chemistry knowledge. So for every 5th grader wondering if they’ll ever ‘need that stuff’, here’s proof that science can create beauty:

Color You Want                Chemical You Add

White                                     Antimony Oxides or Tin Compounds

Black                                      Manganese, Cobalt and Iron

Brown                                    Iron Oxides

Deep Blue                              Cobalt Oxide

Light Blue                              Copper Compounds

Green                                     Iron Oxides

Yellow Green                        Uranium Oxides (this one glows!)

Yellow                                    Lead with Antimony

Ruby Red                              Gold Chloride

Red                                         Selenium Compounds

Amber                                    Manganese Oxides

If you’ve got questions on how we get to a certain color, feel free to email us info(at)bottlesupglass(dot)com or come on by the studios on Bluffton.  We’d love to meet you.

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