The Alchemy of Glass

Un libro in lingua di Marco Beretta edito da Watson Pub Intl, 2009

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Beautifully illustrated, this study of the ancient art of glass making and the way in which it joined with the art of alchemy, is a fascinating exploration of another way of looking at nature that has resonance today. Beretta (history of science, University of Bologna) has combined document sources with artistic and archaeological evidence to piece together the history of glass production. He details the debate on whether glass copies of precious stones were really counterfeit, since color was considered to be a prime ingredient in genuine stones. The economic problems of a market flooded by glass replicas of emeralds and lapis lazuli are reported, as well. But the perplexity among philosophers about how sand and other elements became glass was a factor in the belief in the transmutation of metals, including lead into gold. Glass not only became an inspiration to alchemists but the basis for the furtherance of the art as glass alembics became integral to alchemical processes. This work is well and clearly written and would find a wide audience of lay readers. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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