Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Antique Stained Glass

One of the most beautiful additions you could make to your period home is with antique stained glass. Although beautiful stained glass pieces are commonly found in churches and other religious buildings, antique stain glass and leaded glass is also commonly found in vintage homes. Antique stained glass may be used in windows or skylights, and panels of it can be hung as a decorative element from windows or used in and around doors.

Antique stained glass panels are made of small-cut pieces of colored glass that are held together by lead strips and supported in a frame. The glass is carefully arranged to form unique and intricate patterns. Leaded glass uses lead instead of the traditional calcium in its composition, and the result is a very brilliant glass that reflects light very well. Leaded glass is what certain types of crystal is made from.

Antique stained glass windows come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Square and rectangular shapes are common, but stained glass pieces are also available in round and oval shapes as well. Antique stained glass panels may be used to adorn the upper portion of ribbon windows, which are often featured in Prairie, Craftsman and Modernistic-style homes. Antique leaded stained glass was also popular in use with Victorian-era architecture, including the Queen Anne style. In this type of home the glass might be featured in smaller panes surrounding a large pane of glass, or a patterned piece could be placed over a blank lower pane of glass.

Antique doors featuring panels in them, or sidelights around the main door could also be useful as an accent spot for some lovely antique stained glass panels. As you can imagine, stained glass from a vintage era is fairly rare because of its delicate nature, but pieces are available today for use in period homes.

The designs found in antique leaded stained glass pieces are as varied as the artists who made them. You might find beautiful geometric patterns, or floral garden motifs. Diamond-shapes are also used. A pattern might feature a coat of arms, or other symbol significant to its country of origin or period of time. Animals are often depicted in antique stain glass. The colors of glass available are wide ranging; you will experience brilliant reds and golds, vibrant greens and blues, all typically outlined carefully in black or dark-colored edging to make the piece as a whole read as the final complete design.

One of the best ways to experience the range of antique stained glass currently available is to look at online antique salvage stained glass merchants' websites, which usually feature color images of the pieces for sale.

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