Making cloth in antiquity was not an easy process. The round ring of glass formed at the bottom of this piece allowed the weaver to hold the distaff for long periods of time, her little-finger looping through the ring. The cylindrical spindle whorl also attached would also have been used for support, to rest the top of the finger, also allowing fibres to be drafted over.
Numerous examples of distaffs have been found in a wide range of materials, including glass, bronze, ivory and precious metals. Glass distaffs are more rare due to the fragility of the material, compared with their bronze counterparts.