Uranium glass, a once-popular type of glassware known for the lurid green glow it exudes under UV light, contains from 2% to 25% uranium by weight.
Atoms For Pieces
Uranium glass is negligibly radioactive, which is not to say it doesn’t emit atomic radiation at some level. The material was often used in the manufacture of decorative home and tableware items from the mid-nineteenth century through the end of the Second World War. The popularity of these pale yellow to jade green pieces faded as the Cold War era began, for some reason. Flickr member GorissM snapped the above pair of pieces from the Netherlands in May of 2015.
Contrary to your probable first assumption, uranium glass (also known as “vaseline glass”) glows green when viewed under ultraviolet light, not as a function of its innate radioactivity. Under normal lighting conditions, uranium glass objects can range from pale yellow to medium green in tint, and their translucency can vary from almost opaque to transparent. Flickr member Ricki’s Refuge of Fredericksberg, VA showed off the sherbet dishes and dessert plates above in March of 2015.
Dishin’ Out Some Fission
You may be wondering… just how radioactive is “negligibly radioactive”, anyway? Check out the images above and you may choose to stay clear of any green “depression glass” you might come across at a garage sale or flea market. Flickr member Michael Kappel gave his portable radiation detector (and possibly his chromosomes) a workout back in December of 2014.