A beveled window is a window which is made with glass that has been beveled, or given an angled edge which creates a prism. Since the prism changes the way light refracts as it passes through the windows, it creates a rainbow of colors and splits light into unusual patterns. Beveled windows are installed to add more dynamic lighting to a room. Many people install beveled windows on their doors to make their entryways more colorful and inviting.
Often, a beveled window is divided into panes with small bars known as cames. Cames were originally made from lead, which is why you hear people refer to “leaded glass” or “leaded windows.” Lead is still sometimes used, but other soft metals such as copper and brass may be used as well. The division into smaller panes creates even more light refraction, because each pane is beveled so that the window is filled with a multitude of prisms.
Using leading also allows for the integration of stained glass, or for the creation of a design or pattern. Some beveled windows are simply designed in basic abstract patterns, while others may be used to create floral designs, family coats of arms, and so forth. The integration of stained glass into an otherwise clear window can also create interesting plays of light and color, keeping an area well lit while adding some variety.
Many glass companies will custom build beveled windows for clients who want a specific design or who may be struggling with an unusual space. Beveled windows can also be purchased in standardized patterns and designs, much like other windows. In this case, the beveled window may include a casing so that it can be immediately installed, or it may be left unfinished so that the purchaser can create a custom casing for it.
The possibilities for design variation with beveled windows are essentially endless. Part of the window can be designed to open for ventilation, or the entire window may be mounted on a hinge or sash for easy opening. A beveled window can also be used to create privacy while admitting light, if it is divided into multiple irregularly sized panes so that someone outside sees a distorted image of what is inside. Likewise, a beveled window can be used to admit light while obscuring a lackluster view, as might be the case in an apartment building with a central courtyard which is not terribly exciting to look at.