Tiffany's Agate Glass
Louis C. Tiffany often exploited the transformative potential of glass in service of imitating other materials. Working under his direction, Tiffany’s chemists pioneered new and innovative ways to make decorative glass, however the idea of using glass to imitate other materials dates back to the origins of glassmaking. Early glassmakers would commonly use coloring agents in the form of metallic oxides to mimic the rich variety of colors found in highly prized semi-precious stones. For example, the addition of cobalt to the glass batch yields a blue color similar to lapis lazuli.1 The medium of glass allowed these early glassmakers to replicate the artistic effects of expensive stones in a more cost-effective way. Additionally, they were no longer confined to the organic striations found within the natural stones themselves, but could instead create the patterns and color combinations they so desired. Among the most popular early glass facsimiles were examples that imitated agate.