Smalti is the queen of tesserae; it is the traditional hand-cut glass used in the mosaics of medieval and Renaissance Europe.
It is made by mixing sand and minerals according to traditional recipes and melting the mixture in a furnace. The molten glass is then poured onto a slab for cooling and afterward cut by hand into rectangular pieces. The small handmade batches result in natural variations in shape and colour, which allow the artist to create beautiful life-like images. The rich colours reflect light and provide a lustrous and durable, non-fading finish.
Smalti has an irregular and highly reflective surface that catches the light beautifully. Because of the uneven surface smalti mosaics are left ungrouted so that the pits and recesses do not become filled with grout.
100 gm of Smalti is about 35 pieces. One kg of Smalti covers approximately 750 sq cm, that is, an area 27cm x 27cm. This figure allows for 10% wastage. Another way to calculate it is 14 kgs per sq metre.
Sold in 100gm packs - approx. 35 pieces