Glassworking/A Continuation

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Artisanal Glasses of Elanthia: A Continuation is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.

Artisanal Glasses of Elanthia: A Continuation

From the desk of Isienaka, Chief Scholar of Atan Irith

Below are additional excerpts from Isharaj Calikan's dissertation on glasswork to serve as a companion to that which was already shared. Please enjoy.

From Chapter 6: Culturally or Regionally Significant Techniques and Styles

From "Glassworking and Glassblowing: A Comprehensive Examination of Elanthian Glass Techniques Across the Ages" by Isharaj Calikan, Scholar Apprentice, Order of the Sky and Cloud


A chapter of unique artisanal glass would be incomplete without additional mention of the Wendwillows and their legendary glassworking skills. In addition to their known artistry around blowing glass, Wendwillows are famous for glimaergless, involving glassworking, clay molding, and kilns to create intricate and unusual works of art.

At its simplest, glimaergless involves grinding glass into powders, binding it to create a paste, adding binding agents, then putting it into a clay mold and kiln-firing it. Nothing artistic is limited to its simplest, however, and the Wendwillows take this process to incredible heights of craftsmanship.

The name itself originates from the standard usage of mixing in ground glimaerstones to enhance the process, and many feel it is this that elevates the art form. However, others attempting to create glimaergless using these gems do not have the success Wendwillow artisans do. They claim it is not just the presence of glimaerstones, but also the type of clay used in the mold and the natural binding agents they prefer to use.

Regardless of exact methodology, the resulting items are displayed in museums worldwide and highly coveted. Glimaergless possesses translucency and a unique pale glow when the light hits, as tiny bubbles created during the firing process permeate the piece.

Glimaergless works include vases, bowls, and other practical yet beautiful items as well as smaller pieces for jewelry and household adornments. Older trends experiencing a revival in popularity include working a piece in gradient hues and working in earth tones. Modern trends tend toward vibrant colors, especially for jewelry.

True to Wendwillow tradition, glimaergless objects are often buried in the sand of a riverbank. Archaeologists have discovered several ancient bits of glimaergless over the years. However, some artisans are reluctant to destroy their art, and many fine pieces persist by gifting to friends, relatives, or even traveling strangers; this allows the artisan to be true to the cultural traditions of impermanence while allowing the work to live on through someone else.


Another forest gnome creation is glaesineth, which is often mistranslated as glaesine, causing confusion for many. The term glaesine is technically an adjective form of glaes and should be used to indicate an item is made from glaes, much as crystalline indicates something made from crystal glass. A glaesine tabletop would, therefore, be a tabletop made of glaes, but due to the mistranslation, it was sometimes used to describe one made of glaesineth.

It is easy to differentiate between the two at a glance. While glaes is a hardened volcanic glass with a slight translucency, it lets little light through. Making windows or lanterns out of glaes would do little more than let dancing shadows through, perfect for a haunted abode, but less effective for illumination. Glaesineth, however, is transparent with an ivy green tinge to the glass.

The glass itself has an unusual creation process, with the vast majority of steps kept secret by glaesineth glassworkers. It involves working very small amounts of molten glaes into the heated glass, along with several other natural and alchemical compounds. The end result is a hardened glass, often used for windows, skylights, and even greenhouses, that is resistant to breakage. Indeed, some glassworkers claim that the term greenhouse was coined because of the signature ivy green tinge to glaesineth. Linguistic historians disagree, believing that the "green" in greenhouse most likely originates with the greenery being grown inside. Another argument for scholars in taverns to ponder.

Glaesineth has been heavily adopted in elven architecture at different periods in history, and it is believed elves were the primary source in perpetuating the misuse of the term 'glaesine' to the point of the true name being forgotten by many. Recent years have made a push for accuracy and a return to the proper name, and this awareness has also spurred an increase in requests for glaesineth items.

Glaesineth is excellent for large panes of breakage-resistant glass, such as windows, ceilings, or tabletops. It takes a dye, but the colors are always underscored by the ivy green tinge permeating the glass. It requires skilled craftsmanship, but the forest gnomes have several large contingencies of glassworkers specializing in glaesineth to meet the renewed popular demand.


The Tehir closely guard deposits of zhiqietz in the Sea of Fire. This glass, known colloquially as desert glass, is created when a large impact generates enough heat to melt the desert's sand.

Tehir folklore tells the story of two lovers, separated by time and circumstance, who each wished upon a star on the same night. A single falling star streaked across the sky in return, inspiring them to seek out the final resting location of their heavenly invocation. Embarking on a days' long journey, they arrived at the impact site within minutes of one another and were joyfully reunited. It is said they were the first to gather desert glass and work it into jewelry, first as remembrance for their journey and later to share its beauty with others. Hence, the naming of it as zhiqietz, from the Tehir words for heavens and wish.

With the proper tools, desert glass can be artificially recreated by the Tehir glassworker, but it involves machinery and preparation unsuited for most. In addition, naturally occurring desert glass is seen as far superior for craftsmanship. While there is not a shortage of zhiqietz availability, the Tehir let no one else use the raw material, exporting and trading only finished pieces.

Several Tehir artisans prefer to work with zhiqietz in its solid, unfinished state, buffing and carving and polishing to "find the art within the glass," much like some sculptors claim they saw their subject within their stone and merely "let it out." Most, however, will use forges to heat the glass to malleability and create their items. It takes high temperatures to manipulate and will never become fully molten, at least not with forges as they exist today.

Zhiqietz naturally is a bit rough and cloudy with a citrine hue to the glass. It polishes up readily, and when heated, the cloudiness dissipates and dyes can be injected into the mix. It may come as no surprise, but ahmdir blue is a favorite shade for zhiqietz trinkets.

The glass also travels well, as it is a hard glass, impervious to shattering without a great deal of effort and blunt force. Until recently, finding zhiqietz objects was rare, but Tehir have begun more openly trading and selling their artisanal glass, to the delight of collectors everywhere.


Faendryl sorcery is known for pushing the limits and boundaries of known magic, but it has another often overlooked usage - fine art. In the realm of artisanal glassworking, the Faendryl offer the unique entry of vaelfyren. Vaelfyren, also known as baleglass, was originally created by reducing found lightning glass into its molten form with balefire, then manipulating it into something extraordinary. Baleglazing uses balefire to liquefy glass, its extreme heat and the patterning of the balefire flame lending an almost liquefied swirl to the work. Maintaining precision control of the flame, the sorcerer can add glass of different colors for various effects, such as swirling and splashing various bits for artistic effect, and the most skilled sorcerer artisans wrap glass about a bit of balefire itself, working the flame into the final piece.

Experimentation with baleglazing, like most artwork, continues to this day, and a newer technique includes floating other items within the vaelfyren piece. One such example can be found in a museum in New Ta'Faendryl; a large sphere of ocean blue glass, the balefire swirls reminiscent of waves, houses a tiny seascape, mostly comprised of glass worked into the actual product, but floating in the center is a tiny, preserved, blue-ringed octopus.

Vaelfyren ranges from small pieces of jewelry to large museum displays, from simple single-hued works to massive polychromatic presentations. Displaying vaelfyren works is best done in dark rooms lit only by balefire to highlight and illuminate the work. However, this is not prudent or practical outside of most museums and would not work at all for worn pieces.

Historical Note: Found art is important to Faendryl culture, as artistic materials and outlets were sparse within the caves of Maelshyve; Faendryl ingenuity found a way, however, and several contemporary artistic expressions developed out of these early years and using materials at hand or collected. Vaelfyren is but one of many examples.

Lyshaelyn and Ithaenil

Sylvan glassworkers, most frequently of the Fresiawn D'ahranal, have perfected the art of dichroic glass, glass which displays different colors depending on the lighting conditions.

Known as lyshaelyn, the glass is used both for decorative and artistic purposes as well as for special lenses in glasses and goggles. A subset of lyshaelyn, ithaenil, varies its colors at night as well, dependent on the phases of the moons and positioning of the constellations.

Both lyshaelyn and ithaenil are more suited to smaller pieces and not large sculptures, with ithaenil limited to small (palm-sized) pieces and jewelry. Lyshaelyn can be larger and is often made in conjunction with an expert metalsmith or woodworker for accenting. For example, a famous piece from Yuriqen is a large goblet wreathed in an ornate silver leaf-and-veil pattern. The glass shines bright forest green when lit from the front and sky blue with silvery sparks when lit from behind. The Veiled Goblet is currently housed with members of the Lassaran D'ahranal.

Other uses for lyshaelyn include jewelry, figurines, vases, and dishes. Setting a table with lyshaelyn platters and goblets and changing the light throughout the meal is a favorite pastime for many sylvans.

Trade has been minimal for years, but recent decades have seen an increase in lyshaelyn availability for both sylvans and non-sylvans alike. Ithaenil remains rare, as the creation has been said to be much more difficult than its sister-glass.

Other Info

  • Created by GM Xynwen
  • Released 15 September 2022
  • Baleglass was originally unofficially created by Missoni's player and her lecture on baleglass/baleglazing. She kindly gave permission for us to take it and tweak it and make it official. Kudos to her inspiration!
  • Glimaergless is derived from "pate de verre," and Dendum's player was the one who suggested Wendwillows might work in pate de verre.