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The deep brilliant blue of cobalt comes to life when it is used to color glassware. The realization of this
fantastic connection resulted in the field of cobalt glass, which developed in Europe in the 16th
The oldest examples of cobalt glass date to the late third millennium and the days of ancient
Mesopotamia, yet the pigment disappears from glassmaking following this point for generations. Though
cobalt was used with increasingly frequency in painting ceramics from the ancient world on, it was not
until the 16th century that pioneering glassmakers in Bohemia experimented with cobalt glass once
As time progressed, glassmakers came to enjoy the richness of color, as the cobalt itself filters out the
inherent yellow cast of glass. Resulting by the 19th century was a wide variety of cobalt glass producers
both in Europe and in North America, with a particular surge in American demand following the
Cobalt, which is made from the chemical compound of potassium cobalt silicate, is also called
smalt. Its chemical relative, cobalt aluminate, or cobalt blue, proved essential in painting. So prevalent was
it in Maxfield Parrish's paintings, for example, that it became known as Parrish Blue
In painted instances where the original smalt was used, such as in "The Portrait of Sir William Butts"
by 16th-century German artist Hans Holbein the Younger, these zones of blue have typically oxidized and
discolored over time
Bristol blue glass, originating in Bristol, England, is one of the most popular and historic production
regions of cobalt glass. Their glass makers created the iconic blue bottle still used to house Bristol Cream