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How To Look For Antique Glass

Tuesday, April 26th, 2022
antique glass bottle stoppers

Antique glassware provides a unique decorative accent that recalls workmanship from bygone ages with its eye-catching hues and appealing diversity of forms and patterns. Many vintage glass collectors buy these items to exhibit, while many others preserve them for everyday use.

Glassware made during the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth century is considered the peak of glassmaking and is consequently one of the most popular eras to collect. Glasses, plates, vases, and bowls are among the many beautiful and useful items found in vintage glassware.

They range from modest and low-cost to ornate and extravagant. For both novice collectors and seasoned fans, this guide compiles the most significant styles as a starting point.

Antique glass has a different feel than modern glass. It’s usually much heavier. You can see certain signs that a glass item is at decades-old if you look closely:

  • Pontil marks – Unlike molded glass, blown glass usually has a pontil mark on the bottom. This is circular in shape.
  • Bubbles and irregularities – Many antique glass pieces have tiny bubbles or other flaws. You may need to look very closely to notice these.
  • Patina – The patina of time and use is common in the older glass. There could be minor flaws, missing gilt areas, or minor chips and scratches.

Before you start looking at the pattern of your glassware and other aspects, make sure you know whether you have antique glass or crystal. Crystal is a type of glass made from lead oxide that has a higher brilliance, weight, and luster. There are a couple of easy ways to tell if an antique artifact is made of glass or crystal:

  • Gently tap it. If it makes a bell-like chime, it is most likely crystal.
  • Examine the patterns or cuts. It could be crystal if they are very sharp and fine.
  • Place it near a window or light fixture. It is most likely crystal if it produces a prism effect.

Even if a piece isn’t made of crystal, it could have a lovely textured arrangement of crystal fragments. Manufacturers could make these patterns by imprinting them on a mold or cutting the glass into shapes. It’s possible to tell if a piece is cut or pressed by looking at the pattern points. If they are distinct and sharp, it was most likely sliced. They have been most likely pressed in a mold if they are slightly rounded.

Antique glassware is available in a wide range of sizes and colors, some of which are rather unusual. Vases and plates are on exhibit, as are flower frogs, enormous punch bowls, and footed compotes. There is unlimited diversity, and collecting one type of object in multiple designs, colors, and patterns can be fun. Here are a few samples of antique glassware you might come across in an antique shop:

  • Depression glass – This type of glass was popular during the Great Depression and comes in a variety of colors, including pink, green, clear, amber, blue, and many others.
  • Milk glass – Milk glass is opaque and comes in a classic white color. It’s also available in blue, pink, and other colors.
  • Carnival glass – Originally given away as prizes at carnivals beginning in the early 1900s, this collectible glassware can also be found in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.
  • Art glass – Consisting of one-of-a-kind pieces created by artisans, this type of glassware can be extremely valuable if the artist can be identified.

Looking for antique glass pieces?

High Plains Auctioneers had many unique antiques at every auction. Whatever you’re looking for, we have something for everyone. Check out all of our upcoming auctions here and get ready to find something amazing.