What is Stained Glass?

What is Stained Glass?

Windows have enhanced the look and function of buildings for thousands of years. As new technology emerged artisans found new ways to make structures interesting to the eye. While there are many ways to customize your windows and make them special, using stained glass is one way to make them stand out from the rest. 

Stained glass is one of many decorative glass options. The glass can be tinted in countless colors to create stunning works of art. They're not just limited to use in places of worship either. Homes and businesses also use stained glass to achieve beautiful visual effects. Stained glass windows and doors can bring interesting designs and privacy to bathrooms while softening the lighting in office spaces. 

Compared to regular glass, stained glass has a few differences that are worth noting. It's important to compare these variations to determine what type of glass you should use in building and decorating. Here are the features that separate regular glass from stained glass.

What is the Difference Between Stained Glass and Regular Glass?

The difference between stained glass and regular glass is mainly in the color of the glass. Stained glass is tinted with various hues. These panels of tinted glass are often arranged into patterns to create an image, such as a geometric shape. When light passes through the glass, the colored tint passes through and creates a beautiful lighting effect in the room. 

Stained glass often depicts patterns and images, many of which are considered works of art. You can find stained glass practically anywhere: in furniture, decorations, windows, and jewelry. The allure of luminescent color transcends many mediums as artisans have found many ways to use stained glass to make elements interesting and beautiful. 

Regular glass is transparent without any colorful tinting. It's the typical clear glass you see in homes that don't have any tint of color. You’ll find regular glass everywhere: from commercial buildings to homes in your neighborhood. Regular glass can also be treated with privacy textures and tints to add privacy and UV protection to interior spaces.

What Products Use Stained Glass?

There are many products used in stained glass. Among the most common products are windows, doors, mirrors, and tabletop glass.

  • Windows: Windows can use stained glass to depict patterns and images that add to the aesthetic of the room. Cathedrals have historically commissioned elaborate stained glass windows to depict religious art.
  • Doors: Stained glass is also used in glass panels on the top and side of doors. This grants a touch of privacy and extra style to a home.
  • Mirrors: Stained glass can also be placed in mosaic designs to frame a mirror. These panels can also be placed within a mirror to integrate extra visual details.  
  • Tabletop Glass: Mosaic stained glass tabletops have been a mainstay in both indoor and outdoor decoration. Resilient and easy to clean, stained glass tabletops keep their color and shine for years with proper care.


A Brief History of Stained Glass

The history of stained glass goes back to Ancient Rome in which remains of stained glass used in homes could be dated back to the 1st-century BCE. However, there is evidence of stained glass beads from Ancient Egypt that date back to 2,700 BCE. In the middle ages and renaissance, stained glass reached elaborate heights when it was used in sacred art in cathedrals. 

Stained glass was also widely used in palaces, mosques, and many structures in the middle east. Throughout history, stained glass has fallen in and out of favor as architectural and design trends changed. However, stained glass has always been in use since its inception and appreciated by many. Today, you can find stained glass in churches, mosques, decorative furniture, mirrors, and modern windows. 

Examples of Stained Glass Window Patterns

Collecting all the examples of stained glass window patterns would require an encyclopedia with countless subcategories. To keep things simple, these are the basic designs that are seen in window patterns.

  • Geometric 
  • Floral
  • Sacred Art
  • Scenes of Nature
  • Beveled Glass
  • Tiffany Lamp Designs

Stained glass can be used in many ways to embellish and enhance the look of windows, decor, and furniture. It has been used for thousands of years and continues to grace various exterior and interior elements in need of some extra character and style.


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