|Shards of Roman
glass with patina
Beginning approximately 2000 years ago, Roman glass was very popular
in the region of Eretz Israel. The ability to make attractive, useful, inexpensive
vessels, in this region enabled people to have “clean tableware” Advertisements
might have read something like: “Made-to-order glass, will suit all your household
needs. The easy-to-shape natural materials can be blended into a variety
of colors. The sky is the limit when it comes to shapes and sizes.”
The Romans had a glass factory in
Eretz Israel during the reign of Herod. The area is literally littered with
glass shards and sometimes whole pieces too. Whereas it is illegal for any
body besides the Antiquity Authority to keep glass objects, it is finders-keepers
where glass shards are concerned. Buried in the earth
for two millennia,
the Roman glass now has a green-gray patina. Using authentic Roman
glass shards purchased from antiquity collectors, jewelry designers at the
Roman Glass Company, located at Kibbutz Revadim, create jewelry combining
ancient Roman glass with silver. With conceptual support from Ruth Dayan
the company opened in 1976. Today the company’s products are sold domestically
as well as in the U.S., Japan and Europe.
|Wax mold for
“You have to like
glass. If it doesn’t speak to you, you simply cannot work with it,” said Stella,
who has been with the company for nine years. “For each piece, we have to
decide the right color and shape of the glass,” she explained.
The people who work in the factory
speak many different languages, as there are native Israelis as well as immigrants
from the Former Soviet Union and South America. According to export manager,
Ronnie, about half of the employees are members of Kibbutz Revadim, and
the rest live in surrounding communities.
Stella herself immigrated from Argentina
15 years ago with her family. She took a class in stained glass-making in
Tel Aviv long before she considered a career in jewelry making. “Working
with silver and glass, you have to start form the bottom and move up. Wherever
you look in lifethere is art. With each piece one has to imagine how it
will look in thefuture. You have to have vision.”
The Roman Glass Company produces three
lines of jewelry: Classic, Roman glass with silver, and Textural Design, which
is all silver. The company employs approximately five designers three of
whom live on the kibbutz. All of the pieces with Roman glass come with a
certificate of authenticity and the historical story behind the glass.
Text and photos by M. Kaplan-Green.
To preserve the patina, do not
let Roman glass come into contact with water.