Roman Glass Jewelry From Israel

Roman Glass.  photo
"It is called glass (vitrum) because it is, with its clearness,
transparent to the vision (visus). For in other materials,
whatever is contained inside is hidden, whereas in glass,
whatever clearness or appearance is manifested
on the outside, it is the same on the inside…"

Etymologies XVI.16

The Story of Roman Glass Jewelry

The Roman Empire is credited with building a great civilization renowned for its artistic and technological achievements. At the peak of its power nearly 2000 years ago, Rome controlled the entire Mediterranean Sea area. The industrialization of glass production is considered one of its most significant technological accomplishments.

The pioneering of new glass-blowing techniques brought about a revolutionary change in the lives of common people, and the use of everyday household items such as plates, bowls and jars was no longer the privilege only of the wealthy.  SCROLL DOWN to learn about the artisans who make our jewelry.

Necklace.  - Click to enlarge.   Necklace, silver chain w/triple double shaped eye & Roman glass.  - Click to enlarge.

Earring.  - Click to enlarge.Earring.  - Click to enlarge.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Roman Glass:

Where does the glass come from?

The glass is excavated in Israel, in archeological sites dating back to the period of the Romans, who refined glass-making nearly 2000 years ago. During this time, Israel became a major glass-making center. It was an industrial revolution and glass, once a rarity found only in the homes of royalty and the very wealthy, became commonly used.

Isn't there a limited supply of this glass?

It's true, the supply is not infinite and the glass cannot be duplicated artificially. Israel is one of the few locations in the world where a series of geological and climatic phenomena coupled with 2000 years of contact with the mineral-rich, damp soil enabled the formation and preservation of the strikingly colorful patina.

Why is each piece colored differently?

The glass has been exposed to oxide-rich damp soil for nearly 2000 years. This exposure has resulted in the formation of the colorful outer layer called patina. Colors vary depending on the minerals and the conditions to which the glass has been exposed. Every piece of glass is unique.

Why is each piece shaped differently?

The fragment of glass inlaid in each piece of jewelry was originally part of a plate, vase, jar or other glass object used in the 2nd to 4th century AD. Each object was hand blown. This accounts for the varying shapes and thicknesses of the glass fragments.

Is there any special treatment needed to preserve Roman glass jewelry in top condition?

Jewelry made with Roman glass should be treated the same as any other fine jewelry. Creations with inlaid glass fragments can be cleaned easily with reliable silver jewelry cleansers. The fragments of glass themselves should not come into contact with water or liquid polish - immersion in liquid may harm the natural patina. A bit of rain won't hurt, but it is best to remove your jewelry before bathing or swimming.

Original Jewelry by Israeli Artisans from Kibbutz Beit-Nir

The work of two very talented Israeli jewelers working in their studio in Kibbutz Beit-Nir, in the Judean hills of the northern Negev Desert, these pieces are inspired by the beautiful surrounding countryside and by Israeli history and culture.


Ziva Goren was born in Israel and studied art, crafts and interior design at the Bezalel School of Arts in Jerusalem. Known for her traditional jewelry, she is considered one of Israel’s foremost jewelry artisans and designers. She designs our Roman glass jewelry and works with inlaid mother of pearl, pearls and precious stones.

Sarah Salomon was born in Israel and studied art, sculpture, painting and jewelry design for 3 years in Memad, one of the finest art institutes in Israel. Many years of dedication and hard work to overcome a hearing and speech disability has allowed her to develop a unique visual perception and to create products of unusual beauty. She creates our more modern jewelry pieces.  She has three children.  

Sarah Salomon

Both artisans live in Kibbutz Beit-Nir with their husbands and children. Jewelry is fairly traded. Each artisan creates unique, hand crafted jewelry (individual cut out pieces versus mass stamped or molded components) and works in sterling silver (.925) and on occasion gold and precious stones (garnet, pearl, turquoise) as well as fragments of ancient Roman glass.

The Roman glass was uncovered at an archaeological excavation in the Holy Land. The "patina" (the excuisite surface coloring of the glass) was created by a chemical reaction with the mineral rich soil over the course of 2,000 years. Note: To preserve the patina on pieces with Roman glass, ensure that the jewelry doesn’t come into contact with water. To clean all jewelry, use a soft silver cleaning cloth.


Beit Nir (Hebrew: בֵּית נִיר‎, lit. House of Nir) is a kibbutz near Lakhish in Israel. It is under the jurisdiction of Yoav Regional Council and is a member of the Kibbutz Movement. It has about 115 members.

Beit Nir was constructed in August 1957 by a nucleus of settlers from Hashomer Hatzair, in land that was a pasture for cattle ranchers at that time. The name "Beit Nir" is a translation of the name of Dr. Bundheimer, a leader of Zionism in Germany.

The economy of the kibbutz depends on agriculture, manufacture of soft drinks, and jewelry.  The kibbutz merged with Gat to form the corporate entity "Ganir", which manufactures juices for export and sale in Israel. In Israel the juices are sold under the brand name Primor (פרימור).

Vegetables such as wheat, watermelons and cotton are grown. The kibbutz also produces olive oil. The members of Beit Nir cultivate large numbers of cattle. The kibbutz has a factory for refining jewelry to be sold in Europe and the United States.








Zanzibar Trading Company - Sacramento's Fair Trade Store & Gallery