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Contents / The myriad varieties of glass

It speaks the language of light. In the hands of a master it can become a work of art, a thing of beauty. Glass...

Glass is a substance that has beautified and made our lives easier for thousands of years. In its natural form, obsidian, it came about when the lava spewing out of volcanoes millions of years ago under tremendous heat and pressure rapidly cooled. Black, red and green, natural glass was used in the ancient civilizations of Anatolia for the first mirrors as well as for numerous tools. Said to have been an accidental discovery, glass was first produced by humans in the region around Anatolia and Mesopotamia in 3500 B.C. Roman historians describe how they woke up one morning and encountered the world's first glass, formed when sand came into contact with the fires lit next to the natron (natural sodium carbonate) ingots unloaded from trading ships by Phoenician sailors moored on the coast of Egypt.
The story of glass, which began in the Eastern Mediterranean and Southern Anatolia and

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