National Geographic : 1964 Sep
Sayre has made a major contribution to ar ;y in establishing that antimony was the rd decolorant in a great segment of the glass ry in antiquity. This magic substance re tint and light obstruction by counteract iron omnipresent in sand. The antimony d the iron, eliminating the "bottle-green" familiar in cheap glass. dled differently, antimony had the amazing )f producing opaqueness in glass. For about years, starting in the middle of the second aium B.C., antimony was the prime additive luce opacity in white, yellow, blue, and green . Not until the sixth century B.C. was it used ler pieces colorless. ing glass melting with antimony present, a rise in temperature would convert an opaque glass into a crystal-clear one. It was inevita erefore, that glassmakers would stumble on ,rifying power of antimony. What a magical ie for the artisan who first saw the color dis *from the molten mix, leaving glass as pellu mountain spring water! ian use of antimony as a clarifier reached a n the second century A.D., particularly in Eu itarting in the first century A.D., manganese creasingly used as a clarifier. After the fourth y, when antimony dropped rapidly out of i as a decolorant, manganese fulfilled this mn on through the Islamic centuries. Glasses Reflect Culture Peaks first real flowering of the ancient glassmak took place in the 15th century B.C., and such igures as Thutmose I, Akhenaten, Tutankh * and Nefertiti enjoyed the creations of Egyptian glass artisans. Mesopotamia, My in Greece, and Persia also provided a few of lest specimens. New Kingdom in Egypt spanned centuries it vigor in politics and the arts; it was then ie great temples of Karnak and Luxor were rhe cosmetic tables of royal ladies of the time yed perfume jars, frequently of dark-blue decorated with white and yellow geometric is. imony-rich glass ass standard in Greece, linor, and Persia during the periods of high ilization in those ancient lands. Many of the s were extraordinarily beautiful, for these lays that achieved a notable style and ele in living. It was the era when men like "Tutankhamun's Golden Trove," by Christiane Des Noblecourt, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, October, 1963.