The first opaline glass tests were carried out in Murano around the 16th century, with the addition of calcium phosphate, resulting from the calcination of the bones. This formula remained secret and was copied from Germany, where this glass was known as bein glass. Opaline glass was produced in large quantities in northern France during the 19th century and reached the height of diffusion and popularity during napoleon III's empire; but the pieces manufactured in the period of Napoleon I, which are translucent, are the most sought after by the antiques market and collectors.
The factories were at Le Creusot, Baccarat, Saint-Louis-lès-Bitche. In England it was produced in the 18th century, in Bristol and London. From the mid-nineteenth century, however, opaque opal glass objects were fashionable. At the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, a hand-decorated white lactic glass production line was experimented with, attempting to mimic the transparency of Chinese porcelain.