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Our Lady of Grace, Dearborn Heights, Michigan

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Glossary Terms

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Antique: Transparent glass, hand-blown with irregularities of "medieval" glass. Refers to the technique, not the age. Variations include streaky, flashed, seedy, crackle.


Cathedral: Transparent, machine-rolled stained glass. Can have different surface patterns which may make the glass translucent.

Copper Foil: (1) Mil-thickness copper foil backed with adhesive; (2) The technique of joining pieces of glass where the foil is centered on edge of each glass piece, wrapped around to cover small portion of back and front faces of glass. Pieces are abutted, solder melted over exposed foil surfaces so that pieces become joined. Often used with small pieces, lamps.


Drapery: Opalescent type of glass formed into ridges to resemble drapery folds.


Enamels: Colored ground glass which, when applied with a brush, fuses to the base glass when fired in kiln; transparent or opaque; not used for tracing; generally of a color, such as blue, green, carmine, magenta; not as weather resistant as vitreous paints.

Etching: Processes that alter the surface of the glass, as in acid etching or abrasive etching (with sand or modern abrasives such as aluminum oxide, silicon carbide). Often a layer of another color or clear glass is revealed, as in "flashed glass."


Jewels: Glass nuggets inserted into windows for a decorative effect.


Lead Came: Most common form of connecting individual pieces of glass. Usually of an "H" profile, the heart (or central bar) rests between the segments of glass, and the flanges (side bars) are pressed down to hold the glass in place.


Opalescent: Semi-opaque machine-rolled glass, often with two or more colors streaked together; often has a milky appearance; made popular by Tiffany and La Farge.


Plating: The use of one or more pieces of glass on top of another of a different texture or color and leading them together for a special effect. Often used during the Opalescent era.


Silver Stain: A nitrate applied to the exterior of glass, popular since the 14th century. When fired, it produces a variety of yellow shades.

Slab (Dalle de Verre): Thick slab of cast stained glass that is cut or broken and held together by a matrix of poured epoxy. Concrete matrix is no longer used.


Vitreous Paint: Usually black, brown and flesh red; used primarily for tracing and matting; fired for weather resistance; very opaque.