Photo Above: Portion of Gothic Influence stained glass window featuring areas of silver stain (gold tones). The black painted detail is pigmented glass paint.
Painted narrative windows such as pictured above are generically referred to as “painted stained glass”. The paint is a specially formulated pigment designed to fire permanently into the surface of the glass. Once properly fired, the paint will not peel or fade… it is very much permanent. This process and terminology is a bit confusing when you consider the namesake “stained” glass. The term “stained” actually refers to another process of adding color to glass called “silver staining”.
Silver stain is applied to glass in the same way as glass paints. However, when silver stain is fired it actually changes the surface of the glass and therefore the color. Silver stain adds a gold tone to the glass and was widely used in the production of medieval stained glass. Unlike glass paints which impart a pigment onto the glass, silver stain actually does stain the glass… there is no pigment in silver stain. We selectively use silver stain today for similar result… to add a beautiful gold tone to the window.