In ancient times, the Roman Empire stretched across much of Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. As the most advanced civilization up until that time, the Romans began experimenting with and perfecting the manufacture of glass. We know this as Roman Glass, Jerusalem Glass, and ancient Israeli Glass. At first, glass making was extremely expensive and the finished pieces were used only by the wealthy as jars, vases, glasses, and various types of receptacles such as the ones seen here on our website. During this era, both BCE and CE, they were able to gradually improve the quality and quantity of what was produced, and it evolved to more common items that many people could afford. The discovery of advanced silica (where the glass comes from) extraction methods, chemical agents such as natron and lime, and the identification of the best sand sources all created a large industry 2000 years ago. By the 2nd and 3rd centuries, modern-day Israel became the center of glassmaking throughout the Roman Empire because of the high-quality sand that was found there in the Negev Desert. For this reason, Israel is the source of most of the quality Roman Glass shards found today for jewelry making. Both the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the Eretz Israel Museum-Glass Pavilion at the Eretz Museum in Tel Aviv have outstanding collections of Roman Glass and are world-renowned for their exhibits.