Artist: American
Title: Vase, about 1886

Hobbs Brockunier & Co.
Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.


Romans were the first to use gold to create beautiful, ruby-colored glass. In the late 1670s, the German alchemist Johann Kunckel rediscovered that by adding a small amount of gold chloride (AuCl3) to the glass batch could produce a striking red color. The gold color, however, would appear only after the glass vessel was reheated. This added energy converts AuCl3 to metallic gold and disperses gold particles throughout the glass.

American glassmakers exploited this phenomenon to create a color combination called Amberina. By reheating only the top portion of a vessel, they were able to shade their colors from vivid red to warm cream.