Glass Colours

Glass chemistry is a complex subject, and as such the following descriptions are merely a guide based on descriptions and photos. Colours can vary wildly depending on conditions of manufacture, contamination and even heating/cooling of the glass.

It is also worth noting that there are a few mechanisms by which these metals give glass colour. Some ions are simple doping of the glass, as is the case with many modern glass colors, while some are colloidal particles, such as red gold glass. Some colours are brought about by simple absorption, while others are from light scattering, producing colours unrelated to the metal’s absorption spectra.

Many more great photos can be seen in the catalogue.

Metal Glass Color 1 2 3 Image
Boron + Sulphur Blue tint, seen in many common glass objects.  
Carbon Oxides Amber-brown  
Sodium Nitrate A decolourising agent.  
Titanium Yellow-brown  
Vanadium Green  
Chromium Dark green.  
Manganese Compounds Purple/violet.
A decolourising agent in low concentrations. Some varieties can fluoresce red under UV light.
Iron Bluish-greens and browns
Cobalt Deep blue/purple. 4
Nickel Blue to Violet to Black.
Used to decolourise lead glass.
Copper Dark opaque red, blue, greens  
Niobium Deep to light blue  
Selenium Reddish.
Decolourises in low concentrations.
Molybdenum Brown/ Purple through blue/cyan, depending on oxidation state  
Rhodium Red-brown  
Silver (Nitrate, Halides) Red-orange to yellow.
Heavily affected by heating and cooling of glass.
Cadmium-Sulphur Compounds Yellow to orange to brown-red 5
Antimony White, red-yellow  
Tin Compounds Milky white.  
Tungsten Deep blue  
Iridium Amber  
Gold Red (‘Ruby Gold’, often from lead glass), red-pinkish (‘cranberry’) in low concentrations) 6
Bismuth Orange  
Cerium Colourless. Fluoresces blue under UV light  
Praseodymium Yellow  
Samarium Blueish-green. Fluoresces orange under UV light  
Europium Pink/orange tint. Fluoresces red under UV light  
Terbium Colourless. Fluoresces yellow under UV light  
Thulium Yellow-green  
Dysprosium Colourless. Fluoresces green under UV light  
Thulium Yellow-green  
Uranium (‘Vaseline’ glass) Yellow-green. Glows under UV light 7
Neodymium Reds/purples.
Used in high power lasers.
Praseodymium Greens  
Didymium (Praseodymium & Neodymium mixture) Green, or lilac-red.
Used in safety glasses and optical filters, blocking yellowish light