The term "stained glass" is used for both glass that is painted, like the glass found in many windows from medieval eras, as well as glass that is tinted during its creation process. While painted "stained" glass may still be used in modern art projects, much of the today's glass art uses tinted, "truly stained," glass.
Stained glass is created all over the world with both machine-made and traditional hand-made techniques. Colors are applied by adding pigments and precious metals to the molten glass before it hardens. The type and amount of pigments used generate three different types of stained glass:
- Translucent, or "cathedral," glass, which allows light to pass through easily,
- Opalescent, or "opal," glass, which has denser colors and is more opaque,
- Wispy glass, which is a mix of cathedral and opal glass.
Other characteristics that make different glasses unique are texture, and extra treatments such as iridescent coatings.
Stained glass is purchased in sheets of various sizes, and is typically stored vertically in narrow racks. For more information about glass, visit these sites: