You have purchased a stunning new Roman crystal gem, or perhaps you already have a piece that you have enjoyed wearing for years. Now you want to know what is the best way to take care of it. Well, to answer that question, let’s take a closer look at it.
What is Roman glass?
This material is unequivocally recognized by the luminous colors that can be seen with the naked eye inside the glass. The most common are the infinite shades of aquamarine, purple, blue and pink. This unique type of glass was first created in the early centuries of our era, in the Roman Empire, when glass making techniques were revolutionized with the introduction of glass blowing. The glass that is now created had a water-blue tint and was used primarily for bowls and vessels of all shapes and sizes.
Since glass is made of sand and sand is made of organic matter, the mineral compounds within the sand have a continuous effect on the color of the glass. The colors that can be seen in Roman glass today are the result of the glass’s reaction with climatic and geological elements (heat, water, various minerals in the earth) over hundreds of years. All of these elements came together and caused many chemical reactions that resulted in a shiny, iridescent Roman glass.
Making Roman Glass Jewelry
For nearly 2000 years, Roman glass fragments, as well as entire vessels, have been buried underground, creating beautiful colors, waiting to be discovered. In the last 100 years, archaeologists excavating areas that were under ancient Roman rule, particularly in Israel, have come across Roman glass relics. Intact vessels can be seen in museums around the world, but broken pieces are often transformed into jewelry, made primarily of gold and silver.
Caring for Roman glass jewelry
If you are lucky enough to own a historical piece of crystal on a chain, cufflinks, or a stunning pair of earrings, here are some very important guidelines for caring for your jewelry:
- Do not wet it with water. Remove jewelry before showering.
- Definitely DO NOT go swimming with your jewelry on.
- Avoid contact between jewelry and hairspray and perfume.
- Avoid contact between jewelry and any type of body lotion or hand cream.
- Try to avoid touching it with your fingers as much as possible.
If you’re wondering, “why all the restrictions?” The answer should now be simple: to keep those Roman glass colors bright and sparkling for the next 2000 years.
As we said before, glass, being composed of organic matter, continues to react with its environment. Just as water, heat, oil, and other elements affected glass in the past, they may continue to do so in the present. When you need to clean your jewelry, buff the silver or gold with a cloth, but try to avoid glass. The best thing you can do is give the jewel to a specialized jeweler and ask him to clean it for you.
In conclusion, the best way to take care of your jewelry is to always handle it with great care. After all, you are handling a piece of ancient history.