Opaline Glass is arguably one of the most synonymous styles when we think of antique vintage lighting and it’s origins come from a mixture of European influences…Glass Of The PastOpaline Glass was produced in France during the 1800s and was highly fashionable around the world during this period. One of its main influences was Venetian Lattimo or ‘milk glass’ produced in the 1500s which, as the name suggests has a milky semi-opaque appearance. Although opaline doesn’t specifically refer to a colour it’s most commonly seen in white or light coloured objects and this is in part due to its other key influence – ‘white glass’ which was produced predominantly in Bristol, a century earlier in the 1700s.Example of early Venetian Lattimo or Milk GlassExample of early Bristol White GlassExample of early French Opaline GlassOpaline Glass LightingTowards the later half of the 19th century a small number of elite French artists had recognised opaline glass as a viable artistic medium and began experimenting with it, adding colour, delicate illustrations and fine etchings to decorate opaline objects like vases and tableware. However the use of opaline glass specifically in lighting can really only be attributed to one person, René Lalique.Lalique, an artist himself, was producing his most eponymous pieces in the early to mid 1900s, using moulds or pressing techniques to produce relief patterns in glass. He heavily advocated the use of glass in architecture and much of his work from this period was in the form of lighting.Lalique Opaline VaseRené LaliqueLalique Opaline Ceiling LightOpaline Glass In The MakingOne way of creating opalescent glass is the slow cooling of the thicker areas of the glass, resulting in crystallisation. Another method is used in hand blown glass, using two layers of glass, with the outer layer containing chemicals which react to heat to cause opalescence. Opalescent glass can also be created by reheating certain areas as they begin to cool, again with the use of heat sensitive chemicals.Trainspotters’ Globe, Tulip, Beehive and Deco light models are all hand-blown Opaline Glass, made by highly-skilled and experienced glass makers in Europe. In particular the 50cm diameter Opaline Glass Globe pendant light can only be blown by a select few staff at the foundry and in very small batches, such is the specific skill set, effort and patience required. The Opaline Glass Globe’s large moon-like sphere is right on the edge of what’s possible in hand blowing techniques and this unique attribute is well demonstrated by the beautifully diffused light that it omits.50cm Trainspotters Opaline Glass Globe PendantsTrainspotters Opaline Deco PendantTrainspotters Opaline Tulip Pendant LightFeatures & BenefitsUnlike clear glass, the semi opaque qualities of opaline glass lighting provide the perfect solution to the need for strong radiant light without glare – the semi opaque qualities perfectly hide the specific light source of the bulbs used inside. The uniformed panoramic glow of an opaline glass light, particularly when installed with dimmable bulbs, provides a broad brush solution to lighting a space – it is as much suited to tasks as it is to creating ambience, radiating enough light to be ‘bright’ while low-lighting details like ridges, ripples and curves.Buy Once. Buy Well.Choosing an opaline glass light supports artisan skills like glass blowing and helps keep a dwindling industry alive. In buying glass, you are inherently avoiding plastics and over-automated mass manufacturing processes and of course from an environmental factor, it ticks the sustainability box since glass is inherently recyclable.