Uranium Glass

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In traditional Thai households, green glassware, known for its unique ability to glow, was a common sight. These glass items are crafted from uranium minerals and are often referred to as “Uranium Glass” or “Vaseline Glass.”

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Uranium glass, (a.k.a; Vaseline glass), contains uranium oxide, imparting a distinct yellow or greenish luminescence when exposed to UV light. This glassware enjoyed popularity during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and has become a sought-after collectible due to its unique visual effect. It’s worth noting that the radioactivity in uranium glass is extremely low and is not considered harmful during regular use.

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Antique green glassware, well-recognized among antique collectors, boasts an eye-catching and vibrant appearance. Its color falls somewhere between green and yellow, reminiscent of the shade of a banana leaf. These glass items enjoyed immense popularity during the reign of King Rama V, primarily serving as accessories on dressing tables or near mirrors. They were used for various purposes, including holding scented water in bottles, storing powder in jars, and containing Tani (blackened coconut) oil. Additionally, they were utilized as utensils, such as food containers, bowls, plates, and even water bottles.

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The inclusion of uranium minerals in the production process gives rise to the distinct greenish-yellow hue in the glass, which interacts with light in fascinating ways. This glass exhibits a play of colors, with some areas appearing light green, while others display an iridescent yellow sheen, creating a captivating visual effect. These unique qualities make antique glass items with uranium content highly sought after by collectors. They are now considered prized possessions in the realm of antique collecting, with their value determined by their condition. In pristine condition, these glass items command significantly higher prices in the collector’s market.

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At present, there have been no imitations discovered that successfully replicate the appearance of antique glassware containing uranium. This unique quality of the glass, derived from uranium content, sets it apart from other colored glass items. This distinctiveness, coupled with its historical rarity, makes it challenging to find, and it often commands a high price. If you, as a reader, are interested in acquiring such pieces, you may try your luck by visiting antique shops, as there could be some available for sale.

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An author assistant Nonthawat Ningjaiyen


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