Glossary of Glass Terms

33 words about glass art are defined to help collectors browse more knowledgeably

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Summa perfume

Photograph courtesy of
Henry Summa

Detail of
Tall Geometric Perfume Bottle
Blown Glass 14" Ht

Ancient Glass Generally refers to glass made before the Venetian era of glass making.

Anneal To cool glass by reintroducing a completed object into an auxiliary part of the glass furnace and slowly cooling the object so that any strain created in the glass during the forming process may be released. The critical area for cooling is 1000-800 degrees.

Antique glass A trade term for glass more than 25 years old.

Blown glass The shaping of glass by blowing air through a hollow rod into the center of a molten glass gather.

Cane Any string or rod of glass.

Cold shop A glassworking studio that does not have furnace or glory hole (see Hot shop).

Cut glass Grinding stones that are worked wet to cut designs onto glass.

Direct carvingGlass chunks may be carved, ground, chiseled or otherwise shaped like other sculpture materials.

Enameled glass Opaque glass colors melted onto glass surface. The colors are actually glass powders.

Engraving Design cut or scratched on glass with diamond point, stone, metal or copper wheel. Usually more complex and flexible than cut glass work.

Etching Glass may be etched by hydroflouric acid, HF1, which likes silica. Dangerous.

Fire polish The reintroduction of an object into the furnace in order to smooth an irregularity. A technique used to retain a shiny surface to glass after it has been ground on a grinder or sandblasted.

Flashing Very thin layer of colored glass fired or vaporized on base glass.

Gather A ball of molten glass taken from a pot or furnace on the end of a hollow blow rod.

Gilded Metals, such as gold, fired onto glass.

Glory Hole A high-temperature chamber used for reshaping glass either on a punty rod or blow pipe.

Hot shop A glassworking studio containing a furnace and glory hole--especially a glass blowing studio.

Incalmo Joining two or more blown sections while hot.

Iridescence Thin laminated flakes of glass showing decomposition with age. Also artificial, as done by Tiffany.

Iridized glass Glass whose surface is chemically treated to have a rainbow or iridescent appearance.

Kiln Insulated chamber for heating and cooling glass or ceramics.

Kiln-formed Glass that is altered, fused, shaped,or textured by the heat of a kiln.

Latticinio Threads of white or colored glass within clear glass, sometimes lace-like in pattern.

Lamp work Any glass-working technique done with the direct flame of a torch; work with pre-formed glass rods and tubes.

Leaded glass Stained glass window held in place by lead cames.

Lost wax casting The object is modeled in wax and cased in a ceramic or plaster mold. The mold is heated and the wax flows out; powdered or molten glass is poured into the mold.

Millefiori The Italian term, "thousand flowers," used to describe mosaic glass objects.

Mosaic glass Vessels or objects are built up of preformed elements of glass placed around or in a mold and slowly heated until the glasses fuse together.

Overlay Blowing a bubble with color on the inside, the bottom is attached to a solid core and then the bubble is turned inside out, leaving a thin color "flash" on the outside.

Punty rod A solid metal rod used to transfer and hold glass when working with a glory hole.

Sandblasting High-pressure air mixed with sand applied to the surface of glass to carve texture.

Slump A technique used to form glass using a mold, heat and gravity.

Thermal Shock Glass breakage caused by rapid or uneven heating or cooling.

Originally appeared in
The Collector’s Guide to Santa Fe and Taos - Volume 9

Related Pages

Fused and Slumped Glass article

Glass Art in Northern New Mexico article

Collector’s Resources


Purple Sage Gallery | 505-450-4059
Weyrich Gallery | 505-883-7410
Wright's Indian Art | 505-266-0120

Santa Fe

LewAllen Galleries | 505-988-3250
Liquid Light Glass 926 Baca St #3 | 505-820-2222
Tesuque Glassworks pic Bishop's Lodge Road | 505-988-2165
Wiford Gallery 403 Canyon Road | 505-982-2403


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