URANIUM GLASS

clydeandrascal
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URANIUM GLASS  is a speciality amongst glass collectors.    The 

uninitiated might be interested to know that yes, it really is uranium 

but no, it isn't dangerous.  There is a lot of information from uranium 

glass collectors on the web:  try Googling it. Uranium was used as a 

glass pigment in the 19th & early 20th centuries - & even then there 

were alternatives & it was expensive.  Nowadays, except for 

reproductions (primarily Czech) & occasional artisans, alternatives are 

used.  


Uranium glass is usually superficially yellow or green glass but can be 

other colours.  What identifies it beyond dispute is its VIVID GREEN 

FLUORESCENCE when illuminated by UV.  It is easy to buy cheap UV lights 

& torches on eBay nowadays.


This tazza (copyright reserved) is shown with & without UV illumination, 

to give you an idea of what it should look like:


The problem is that  other  minerals produce fluorescence under UV, too: 

 orange, blue & dull insipid green, for instance.   The difficulties 

from the buyer's point of view are these:


A seller describes untested glass as uranium  because they can tell 'by 

eye'.  Reject such opportunities!   This approach involves guesswork & 

the only way to be certain is to test it.


A seller produces photos showing fabulous bright blue (or dull green) 

fluorescence & calls it uranium:  it is NOT.  In most cases this is a 

genuine misunderstanding but some sellers persist in promoting these 

colours as Uranium Glass, despite ample information to the contrary.


A seller imagines that because much, for example,  Bagley green glass 

contains uranium, all glass of that pattern is uranium glass:  it ain't 

necessarily so!   WW2 resulted in government appropriation of uranium 

from Bagley (& others, presumably)  & alternative, almost identical, 

glass was then produced using different colourants.  The English Bagley 

glass company is notorious for lengthy runs of particular designs (a 

policy which was ultimately to prove its downfall) & their ranges can be 

uranium - or not.  A UV test is essential  &, in fact, can be used to 

pretty well determine time of manufacture as pre- or post-war glass.


So beware & be informed.  Uranium glass can display fantastically on a 

sunny windowsill, where the UV of natural sunlight can induce the 

uranium to  fluoresce that astonishing green - but it can't if there is 

no uranium present. 

 
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