Stained Glass vs. Leaded Glass – Is there a Difference?

Here at Scottish Stained Glass, we frequently hear the terms stained glass and leaded glass used interchangeably. Most people assume that the lead in “leaded” glass refers to the metal caming which holds the pieces of stained glass together. However, this isn’t an accurate assumption.

When we use the term leaded glass, we are specifically describing patterns of clear glass, with various textures, finishes, and beveling. These panels can be completely clear, or combine different glass with various degrees of transparency. But it is called leaded glass because there is indeed lead in the chemical composition of the glass itself. Ordinary glass contains a percentage of calcium, but in the making of leaded glass that calcium is replaced with lead oxide while still molten. This gives it certain properties that make it perfect for stained glass window panels. It has a lower working temperature, and a greater refractivity.

What does all this mean? Basically, it means that our leaded glass windows create some of the most timeless and beautiful windows and doors you have ever seen. The way they catch the light and refract it into complex and delightful patterns of light and shadow in your home will enchant you.

What do people prefer?

Many clients prefer clear windows to colored, because they know the lack of color makes it easy to decorate around. You can decide to redecorate at any time and your clear leaded glass windows will not clash with your new color scheme. And if you decide to sell your home (and don’t want to take your stained glass windows with you) then you can feel confident that the clear glass will not conflict with a prospective buyer’s idea for a color scheme either.

The Dangers of Leaded Glass

Although lead is indeed toxic and leaded drinking glasses are no longer manufactured, there is no danger to enhancing the beauty of your home with leaded glass windows. You don’t have to worry about lead poisoning. Unless of course, you plan on eating off them…!

Our clear leaded glass panels are used for kitchen cabinets, skylights, entryways, transom windows and just about anywhere you need some privacy but still want to let in the sun.

So how do you decide – colored stained glass, or clear leaded glass?

We recommend looking at our extensive online galleries, to see not just different glass patterns but examples of rooms we have installed them in as well. As with everything Scottish Stained Glass does, your pieces will be custom made to your exact specifications. You can choose from an existing design, or work with one of our design techs to create your own.

Scottish Stained Glass Last a Life Time

Whether you decided on colored or clear, you can be sure that your stained glass windows or door panels will give your home a classy, unique look that will delight you for many years to come. Many of our clients have asked us to assist them in moving their stained glass windows when they move, and many have reported that these timeless beauties have become highly coveted family heirlooms!

Want to learn more? Give us a call today and make an appointment for an in home consult with one of our stained glass design pros!


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