Antique Paste Jewellery

Paste is a very transparent, heavy glass which has very high refraction and dispersion and is used to simulate the fire and brilliance of gemstones. The practice of trying to imitate gemstones dates back thousands of years and was particularly seen as far back as the Roman period.


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Antique Paste Jewellery
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Antique Paste Jewellery

Paste is a very transparent, heavy glass which has very high refraction and dispersion and is used to simulate the fire and brilliance of gemstones. The practice of trying to imitate gemstones dates back thousands of years and was particularly seen as far back as the Roman period.

As high-class jewellery became more popular throughout time, so did the demand for imitations, and in 1758, Viennese goldsmith Joseph Strasser invented the colourless glass paste which successfully imitates the sparkle of a genuine diamond.

The glass is called paste because the components were mixed wet, to ensure an even distribution, before pigments were added to create the colour, such as chromium for red or green and cobalt for blue.

While paste glass is softer than ordinary glass, their excellent refraction and dispersion make them incredibly vibrant and fiery.

There are a couple of other noticeable differences between paste glass and natural stones. For example, you may see air bubbles with paste jewellery, and paste pieces are usually moulded or pressed as opposed to being cut and polished.