Although most examples seen by people are made in recent times, the history of the art goes a long way back. There are a handful of pre-Roman items that point to an earlier development of the art. However, the most convincing examples are Roman era. In fact the Romans developed the use of gold with glass to an advanced level of expertise.
It re-appears around the 12th century and comes into regular use in pre-renaissance Italy.
Later, the art is used in different parts of continental Europe. It is combined with reverse painting and becomes incorporated into furniture and other objects.
There are also later periods of use that include examples of glassware from Bohemia, Landscape paintings in Holland, mirrors in England, folk art paintings in India and Eastern Europe, reverse paintings from China and clock faces in USA.
Eventually, the same techniques find a place in the highly decorated glass signs of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
It fell out of favour with the modernism that followed the art deco era, but remained an important part of the sign trade and is now being re-discovered by a new generation of artists.