The mosaic is an expression of art for designing patterns through insetting the wall or floor with colorful pebbles, shells, tiles, or glass slices. The Sumerian mosaic wall of the temple is the earliest mosaic architecture that has been found.

In the early periods, the Greek used the marble mosaic very often in black and white to match well each other. Only the powerful ruler and the very rich man can afford the craftsmen and buy the material to express this kind of luxurious art. In the later period, the Greek artists have enriched their mosaic work through smaller stones slices and incised the gravel stone into slices manually.

The Mosaic has already developed very popular in the Rome period. The civilian houses and the public constructions usually used mosaic in decoration. If you have seen the movie "Gladiator", you'll know obviously the Rome were so rich at that period, and the architectures of the ancient Rome were incredibly luxurious.

The golden age of the mosaic stemmed from the growth of Christianity. At that time the Rome persecuted the Christian, whom could only get together in underground passages or crypts for meetings. Most of them were illiterates; therefore the mosaic murals were inset for describing the stories of their Lord on the wall.

Constantine the Great is the person who has legalized the Christianity and advocated it strongly. The churches in Istanbul (Byzantine) were usually decorated in a great deal of mosaic. More and more colors were used in decoration, and even the gold foil was fired and inset into the transparent glass pieces. The Sicilian Mosaics were the most representative of the gold background. The Byzantine era almost equals to the Mosaics

Varieties of Mosaic Materials

Glass mosaic tiles come in a variety of sizes and thickness, but one common industry standard is the 3/4 inch x 3/4 inch tile with a thickness of approximately 1/8 inch.  This means that tile of various types and even from different manufacturers can be used in custom mosaics. 

The most common type of glass mosaic tile is vitreous glass mosaic tile.  It is said to be stone-like (vitreous) in that it is opaque, has a grainy stone-like texture and cuts easily.  This variety of glass mosaic tile is often called "Venetian."

Smalti is the original variety of mosaic glass that was used in the mosaics of medieval churches.  Smalti is made according to traditional recipes in small batches, poured in slabs and hand cut into irregular rectangles.  Understandably, this material is slightly more expensive than modern molded tiles, but the surface and shape of each piece is unique, and this makes smalti more appropriate for fine art mosaics.