Cased  is the name given to glass where the body of the article is made up of layers of different coloured glass; the layers can be transparent or opaque.

Cased glass can be achieved by gathering one colour on top of another colour from two different pots; the results from this method are not very reliable and seldom used. To obtain a more accurate and consistent cased blank a cupping method was used. This entailed blowing a cup of the outer layer of glass, positioning it into a heated iron mould and then placing and blowing another gather of the inside colour into it. In this way the outer layer would adhere to the inner layer and the piece could be worked in the usual manner. The following video, although only black and white, shows the manufacture of a cased blank using the cupping method:

The blanks so formed are generally a canvas for other techniques such as enamel and gilt work, cameo carving, engraving, rock crystalintaglio work, and cutting.

Stevens and Williams gave names such as “Alexandrite” and “Almondine” to combinations of coloured glass which resembled the gem stones of the same name. These were cut or had intaglio work done to reveal the hues and tints of the combined cased colours.


Cased glass was developed in Bohemia in the early 19th century and was copied in England in the 1840’s. The most common colour was opal over ruby or flint, although other colours were soon developed. This presentation chalice was made in Birmingham probably by George Bacchus, dated 1852 and utilised ruby , opal and green over flint.

A Ruby, Opal and Green cased flint presentation chalice, dated 1852.

A Ruby, Opal and Green cased flint presentation chalice, dated 1852.

Decorative casing effects

Other decorative effects can be achieved by including coloured threads in the outer layer as in Osiris, trapping air in a pattern between layers known as Air Trap, including different coloured crushed glass in the inner layer as with Moss Agate or by rolling a parison into powdered or crushed coloured glass spread on the marver, as in Vasa Murrhina.

The outer layer can also be a shaded colour which is more intense at the top and dies away to the base or vice versa; this technique was given the name Nuancé by Stevens & Williams. To create a shaded outer casing, this entailed taking a gather of coloured glass and “blowing through the bubble”, which meant that the glass near the iron would be thick and the true colour but this would get weaker as the glass thinned out prior to the bubble bursting. A gather with the inner colour would be blown into the open ended bubble on the other iron, which would be broken off, and the article finished in the usual manner.

The same effect was created by using heat sensitive glass, as with Webb’s “Peach Bloom” and Queen’s Burmese Ware and S&W’s “Rose du Barry“.

For an explanation and comparison of shaded and heat sensitive glass click here.


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