The Allure of Uranium Glass: A Guide to Collecting and Caring for These Unique Antiques

Dec 22nd, 2022

Gabby Cooper

With a grandfather who owned an antique shop and a love for upcycling furniture, Gabby has a passion for secondhand shopping and giving old pieces new life.
antique uranium glass dish

What is Uranium Glass

Uranium glass, also known as vaseline glass, is a type of antique glassware that was popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It gets its name from the fact that it contains small amounts of uranium oxide, which gives the glass its characteristic yellow-green colour.

The History of Uranium Glass

The history of uranium glass dates back to the early 1800s when the element uranium was first discovered. Glassmakers quickly realized that adding small amounts of uranium to the glass-making process resulted in a beautiful, glowing yellow-green colour. Uranium glass became especially popular during the Victorian era, when it was used to create a wide range of decorative objects, including vases, figurines, and jewellery.

The Unique Qualities of Uranium Glass

While uranium glass is beautiful and highly collectible, it does require some special care and maintenance. One of the most important things to remember is that uranium glass is radioactive, although the levels of radiation are generally very low and not considered dangerous. However, it is important to handle uranium glass with care and to avoid exposing it to high temperatures, as this can cause the glass to become more radioactive.

Caring for Uranium Glass

To clean uranium glass, it is best to use a soft, dry cloth or a gentle glass cleaner. Avoid using abrasive cleaning products or scouring pads, as these can scratch the surface of the glass. If you do need to remove any stains or dirt, it is best to use a soft, wet cloth or a mild detergent solution. Be sure to rinse the glass thoroughly and dry it completely to prevent water spots.

Storing Uranium Glass

Another important consideration when caring for uranium glass is storage. It is best to store uranium glass away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat, as this can cause the glass to fade or become more radioactive. It is also a good idea to wrap the glass in soft tissue paper or a protective cloth to prevent it from being scratched or damaged.

Overall, uranium glass is a beautiful and highly collectible antique that can add a touch of glamour and history to any home. With proper care and maintenance, these unique and fragile pieces can be enjoyed for generations to come.


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