Object of the Week: Aventurine Cruet Set with Silver-Gilt Mounts, possibly Venice or Rome, Italy, about 1750. 2017.3.9.
Formal dinners in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries moved from being held in the afternoon to being held in the evening. Dining in the hours of darkness meant that the materials from which dishes were made were exploited to sparkling effect. Aventurine glass gets its dazzling appearance from copper crystals dissolved uniformly in the glass batch. Until the 19th century, technical challenges prevented aventurine glass from being blown. Instead, blocks of glass were processed like hardstones: cut, ground, and carved or transformed into plaques.