What Gives Stained Glass Its Color?


Stained glass is such a versatile medium that has been used for centuries around the world, offering beauty, art, symbolism, and function. The colorful nature of stained glass has enabled these multi-faceted abilities, creating stunning results. No wonder stained glass is still highly valued in modern art and society. Have you ever stopped to wonder what gives stained glass its color? All the different styles, textures, and colors found in stained glass are manufactured that way utilizing a certain process.

The Process of Creating Colorful Stained Glass

Colorful glass is actually achieved by adding certain metals during the development process. When glass is initially formed, it starts out as a very fine mixture of scraps of waste or broken glass as well as sand. These waste or broken glass fragments are referred to as cullet. Cullet means recycled glass. The mixture is sifted and put into a furnace with additional various materials depending on the type of glass it is intended to make. The cullet and sand have to be heated to their melting point in order to produce glass. Therefore, the kiln temperatures are usually over 2,900 degrees. Adding certain substances to this molten glass mixture produces different colors. Metal oxides are the secret ingredient for producing colored glass.

Metal Oxides that Produce Colorful Stained Glass

  • Cobalt oxide creates violet and blue
  • Cadmium sulfide creates yellow
  • Antimony oxide creates white
  • Gold chloride creates red
  • Sulfur creates yellow amber
  • Chromic oxide creates emerald green
  • Uranium oxide creates fluorescent green and yellow

Metal oxides are responsible for all the extensive colors made possible in stained glass. We’re proud to have the most comprehensive inventory of colorful stained glass options for developing any vision that our clients have in mind. For more information regarding the stained glass process or our custom services, please contact us!

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