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  • Writer's pictureNeeta

Why is Stained Glass so expensive?

Updated: Aug 30, 2021

Stained Glass has been enjoyed from time immemorial because of its aesthetics, charm and time-tested durability.


But people often ask, “Why is stained glass so expensive?”


Anything in stained glass, ranging from glass sheets, tools, equipments, books, or even joining learning workshops is a bit expensive.


Let me explain some of the factors which contribute to the expense:


Raw material

Glass colors are produced by adding expensive metallic oxides to the raw materials during molten state. These coloring ingredients make stained glass exotic and costly.


Manufacturing Stained Glass Sheets

Every sheet of stained glass is made by skilled artisans by hand and produced in small batches. The intricate manufacturing processes of producing stained glass sheets adds to the cost. Stained glass is hand blown (or mouth blown) into a cylindrical form, then cut, flattened and annealed to get into sheet forms. Each sheet produced from this artisanal process is unique.


Some Common Types of Stained Glass

Artisans do experimentations in the basic process of manufacturing to produce different types of effects in glass sheets. Some of these types are - Cathedral glass, Streamer glass, Ripple glass, Opalescent glass, Flashed glass, Fracture glass, Drapery glass, iridescent glass and many more.


Tools Required

A range of equipments and hand tools are required for making the stained glass products. Oil filled glass cutters fitted with tungsten carbide wheels are very expensive. Glass grinder and also hand tools like running, grozing and nipper pliers are needed to snap and shape the pieces. Copper foils, temperature controlled soldering station, solder wire with specific composition and related accessories for joining the cut pieces together add up to the value.


Glass Cutting

Glass cutting is another factor affecting the cost of finished project. Glass cutting requires enduring patience and practice working on different types of hardness and textures in stained glass sheets. Intricacy of design may result in huge cutting wastage. But this is the unavoidable cost of beauty, appeal and aesthetics of design.


Pricing the End Products

Actual price of the stained glass product can vary widely depending on the intricacy of design, size and shape (2 or 3 Dimensional). The full process of making small stained glass project, from design to polishing, usually takes around 2-3 days. A large project like a stained glass lamp or panel may take up to 25 days to complete. All steps are to be undertaken by the artist meticulously. Therefore, the selling price of product is calculated based on the time and labor invested by the artist, cost of raw materials and wastage, intricacy of design, size, shape and the logistics involved.


Quality Control

Maintaining a strict quality inspection code is inherent booster of price as poor quality of finishing, cheap quality of soldering material or flimsy construction will reduce the price and durability of products.


*I am sure I have explained many important factors which answer the general question often raised about why stained glass products are so expensive.


*Stained glass art, being a labor intensive process, is an example of exquisite workmanship and the artist involved should be paid well for his/her time, labor and all other processes.


*Finally, the finished stained glass products are always worthy of the cost invested when their sparkling glow against light keeps fascinating us.

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