This supposedly genuine Roman cast  glass bowl or patella cup was sold on the antiquities section of eBay for a fair amount of money!


What's wrong with it....apart from appearing on eBay at all!? 


  • The base ring is too heavy and the finish on the rim is wrong.  The spiral sort of trailing effect is not right.
  • The blue colour is very odd for Roman glass and in this type of object the colour would be more dense.
  • Most importantly the pattern of the red rosettes is unknown in Roman glass and are from modern commercially obtainable pre-made glass canes.

  • These are the main forms seen in cast mosaic glass of this type.
  • The pieces are between 9cm and 15cm across the rims.


And these are the main known patterns created in these forms.



COMMENT: by portland


I bought this some 12 years ago and it came from a very respectable collection in the Midlands.


It was sold to me as a Roman mosaic bowl. I didn't know so much about ancient glass at that stage. 


One day I showed my collection to one of the best judges of ancient glass that I have ever known, a guy called Gawain McKinley who sadly is no longer with us. He looked at my collection and said .... everything is fine except for one piece.


He was reluctant to tell me which piece as he didn't want to depress me particularly as he guessed rightly that it was the most expensive piece in the collection.  Anyway I persuaded him to be frank and he commented that the mosaic bowl for sure was not Roman.


  • The weight of it was much too heavy, compared with all the known examples from excavations,
  • the blue colour when see against the light had a purple tinge which wouldn't be right, the shape was too much of a lens shape for the type which normally have a more pronounced curve at the rim
  • and finally it had very strange stretching marks  to the mosaics where it curves over towards the rim. It fitted very well with mosaic bowls made in Venice during the 19th century



6th September 07

I haven't especially looked at the items offered by the seller of the fake mosaic glass at the top of this page but my attention was drawn to this seller again today and lo and behold, another of these....sold for over $1000.

Which is a stunning bargain ........if it were genuine!

I wonder how many more have sold in the interval?



Next page: mosaic glass 2