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Glass & Glass-Making
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Page 2

Glass Egyptian Beads
Twelfth dynasty--about 2,000 years
before Christ
    At all times silica has been derived from solid quartz, either in the form of rock-crystal, or of white pebbles from the beds of rivers, and more frequently from sand obtained from the seashore, or by excavation.
    Soda was obtained by the Mediterranean people from the ashes of certain plants growing in salt marshes, or from seaweed. Inland people got their alkali by dissolving with lye the ashes of various trees and plants. In Germany and Bohemia this potash was obtained from beechwood; in France, from the bracken fern. The quality of the glass depended upon the preparation of this soda, or potash.
    In all cases there is need of a second base; and this, generally speaking, is lime, or oxide of lead. The soda family embraces the beautiful glass of the Romans and of Mediterranean countries; the enameled ware of the Saracens; and all the artistic productions of the Renaissance, including the Venetian, or Murano, glass. The potash family includes the German, Bohemian and French "forest glass." English flint glass, in which oxide of lead was used with the potash instead of lime, also belongs to the potash group.

Egyptian Glass

    Egypt was famous for its glass. Ruins of glass-works of the highest antiquity have been found near the Lakes of Nitre in the desert, where the priests of Ptah produced imitations of jewels brought from India, besides making every kind of glass article. Museums are full of bottles, ewers, scarabei (sacred beetles), mystic eyes, beads and fragments that show how ancient was the art and how varied the uses of glass. Beads and the little bottles or vases in which the fair women of Egypt kept
Glass Egyptian Vases
18th-20th dynasties
their cosmetics, unguents, scents, and kohl for darkening their eyes, are the most characteristics products of the best period of Egyptian glass-making.
    Regarding color, the Egyptians preferred blue. The scale ran from blue-black to the palest turquoise; but the favorite was the "Nile blue." Next to blue, came yellow: mustard and pale buff were the best-loved tints. Yellow