Now many of you know I have various things I collect. Entering my house you are, of course, struck by the vast turquoise accents. Many of my collections were inspired by my Grandmother Alice. One such collection is Opaline Glass and it started with these lamps that I adore- my family is so afraid to break them that they make me put them in a place where they rarely go (whatever- as long as they stay intact).
Opaline is a semi opaque, hand blown, hand polished French glass that began in production in the early 1800’s. White and blue are the most popular colors but the other colors pink, green, yellow, red, black and lavender are more expensive due to rarity. Although Italy and England have produced glass similar to Opaline, real Opaline was only produced in France.
Below see some examples of the blue color which can range from an intense medium blue to turquoise and aqua. The picture of the lamps shows a particularly translucent variety.
White Opaline was the first color Opaline, and is created with bone ash which gives it the white color. Opaline has a very high lead content and with oxides of anatomy and arsenic the other colors can be achieved. When you hold the white Opaline up to the light you will see a red color radiating from where the light shows through.
Even though the glass looks so translucent you would think it’s paper thin, it’s not and actually has some heft to it. It is much thicker than you would imagine. Here are some green and yellow examples:
And of course red, lavender and black:
Information gathered from House Beautiful article on Opaline Boxes, January 2001.