Art Nouveau Etched Glass

Art Nouveau is was an international movement and style of art that was established around the turn of the 20th century. This style of art is characterized by highly stylized flowing curvature forms such as floral and plant motifs.

Art Nouveau etched glass is an art form where these stylized shapes and forms are etched into either frosted or plain glass that results in contrasting floral and plant shapes and spirals.

This Art Nouveau style of glass art was depicted by Louis Comfort Tiffany in his stained glass projects such as windows and lamps.

Emile Gallé is considered one of the most outstanding glass artists of the Art Nouveau period. Creating glass art using various techniques which included etched glass,  his glass was very elaborate.  Nature inspired many of his his designs, which were mostly floral, some with foliage. Some included landscape decorations and some even had a strong Japanese influence. He developed a technique for the production of cut and incised flashed glass and enameled designs, enhanced by bright colors and transparency of the material.

Galle made vases and lamps in two distinct qualities of glass – one that was a one of a ind art glass, and the other, an industrial design that could be replicated.

Emile Galle Art Nouveau Glass 

Collectors pay big money for Galle’s art glass masterpieces that display the marriage of art, nature, and technology.

Rembrandt Square

If you want to enjoy the flavor of some magnificent traditional Dutch food, be sure to visit the exquisite Brasserie Schiller, which is a hundred years old Art Nouveau building fantastically adorned with etched-glass panels.

Antique parlor lamp

Early models featured etched- or cut-glass fonts and shades. Your parlor lamp incorporates two design styles popular at the turn of the last century. Its scrolled, wrought-iron legs and embossed, copper-plated, brass font are indicative of arts-and-crafts-style … The opal glass globe’s hand-painted floral motif typifies lingering interest in the naturalistic Art Nouveau movement, and probably was made by the Fostoria Shade and Lamp Co. or Mt. Washington Glass Works.

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West Virginia Art Glass

When you first speak about West Virginia art glass, two reknowned glass companies come to mind – Blenko Glass and Fenton Glass.

The first Blenko Glass company was first founded in Kokomo, Indiana in 1893 by William Blenko who grew up in London and learned glassmaking there.  

However, that factory closed in 1903 and he moved to variosu places before finally settling in Milton, WV where there were low gas prices there.  At 67 years of age, William Blenko began blowing glass cylinders and then flattening them into sheets.  He developed a ruby red sheet glass that finally put his company on the map.

In the late 1920’s the company began making handblown vases and otherglass tableware.  Today Blenko produces all types of unique hand blown glass.

The Fenton Art Glass Company was founded in 1905 by Frank and John Fenton in Martins Ferry, WV.  In 1907 this company moved to Williamstown, WV.  In 1907 Fenton introduced " "Iridescent" glass which is now known as "Carnival" glass.

Fenton glass made tableware and other glass art items that were made in a wide range of colors.

There are museums at the factory locations of both Blenko and Fenton where visitors can see the artisans at work making hand blown glass objects.

Blenko Glass Company

A comfortable 35-minute drive from Charleston, the Blenko Glass Visitor Center and Museum, guests can learn about the fine art of hand blown glassware, and watch the company’s craftsmen at work. Inside the museum are the numerous award- winning … she has photos of the workers, glass, and other things daily. It is a good blog for all of west virginia. She is passionate about the state of W. Va. # 10 January 2009 at 4:30 pm. Brenda said: I love going to Blenko glass.

West Virginia’s Glassmaking Heritage

Thanks mainly to West Virginia’s abundance of natural gas and silica, more than 500 glass factories have operated in the state since the early 1800s, producing everything from art glass and marbles to pop bottles and windshields.

Fenton Glass

Fenton Glass is one of the most popular, if not the most popular make of carnival and milk glass. Collectors avidly seek it in antique shops and in on-line auctions. Among the favorite forms of many glass collectors are the hens on nests.

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Unusual Glass Art Using Copper Foil

One very unusual technique for making glass art revolves around stained glass.  At the turn of the century, L.C. Tiffany used the copper foil technique in stained glass art.  This method of stained glass is perfomed by wrapping pieces of glass with copper foil and then soldering them together along the length of the seams.

Here copper foil is used as an alternative to lead when soldering the pieces of glass together.  This method results in a stronger bond between peices of glass. It is much stronger than lead when soldered, it needs no putty, and is also waterproof. This technique enables the staiend glass maker to do very intricate detailed designs.  Because the seams are smaller, the thick leaded look of the standard stained glass artwork is removed.

  custom stained glass art

The copper used for this technique is of a thin, foil-like gauge. It has an adhesive on one side and is backed by protective paper. The copper foil is sold in 36-yard rolls and is available in several widths and gauges.The wider the foil, the thicker the seams.

Copper Foil Stained Glass

Copper foiled stained glass is a very versatile form of construction for making stained glass. Panels can be made with very intricate designs and detail. The possibilities are almost endless.

Copper Foil in Stained Glass

One of the styles of manufacturing stained glass cabinet inserts, is the use of copper foil. Copper foil in stained glass inserts, allows a much broader aspect of design then the use of lead came.

Stained Glass

The copper foil method is most often used in lamps and other projects requiring intricate detail. Dalle de Verre – Also known as faceted glass, dalle de verre literally means “slabs of glass” and is a very thick glass first used as an art medium by the Byzantines.

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Broken Glass Art

Mosaic Art

Have you taken a closer look at the various forms of mosaic art around you? If not, read all about the beautiful intricacies of mosaic art and how you can make one such artwork at home.

handmade stained glass art

Mosaic art, like any other form of art, has its own appeal. This technique when combined with the skills of the artist can be used to create beautiful works of art. Mosaic art is not just limited to the creation of paintings. Mosaic art forms have been used in different ways since the olden days. The beauty of mosaic patterns and designs is something that cannot be described with mere words.

What is Mosaic Art?
A look at any piece of art that involves the use of the mosaic style will indicate a different technique that is employed in this form. A mosaic artist requires ample skill and patience to create the artwork. An artist has to place together small pieces of material for the main artwork. This can be done after the design is finalized and the outlines have been drawn. The artist has the freedom to place the pieces in any way to create designs that range from the simple to the complex kinds. The materials used can be varied, from pieces of glass, pebbles to tiny pieces of tiles and colored stone. Mosaic art is versatile and can be done on a variety of surfaces.

The presence of mosaic art can be seen since the early days. Artists have used this method that dates back to as far as 2600 BC. This was the time when stone and pebbles were used to create the basic artwork. The earliest evidences thus reveal that mosaic art was used as floor coverings and even to embellish homes. The Christian basilicas stand testimony to the beauty of mosaic art. In the 4th century, these basilicas employed the use of wall and ceiling mosaic patterns.

Mosaic as an art form received due recognition only during the Byzantine period. Between 6th to 15th centuries, this art form flourished and it could be seen on major buildings that belong to the Byzantine Empire. Artists used intricate patterns that depicted plant life, animals, geometrical shapes and even humans in larger-than-life proportions. During the Roman period, it is believed that the walls of every house were decorated with mosaic art.

In the modern times, mosaic art is used not only as a decoration for the walls and floors, it is seen on pottery, furniture, medallions, windowpanes, archways, etc. Vibrant colors are employed to achieve a contrasting effect for the interiors. Today, mosaic art enjoys an important position in interior decoration. It can be used for creative as well as for religious themes.

How to use mosaic art in your interiors
The beauty of mosaic art makes it a must to include it in the interiors. However, not all of us can afford such works of art. For all lovers of the mosaic art, here are some easy steps to make one at home. Use these steps to decorate your furniture.

You will need
Colored wall tiles, mirror or glass
Mastic adhesive
Grout sealant
Safety glasses
Pieces of cloth to wrap the tiles

As all other forms of art, you will need to draw the pattern on paper. Once you decide upon the outline, draw it on the furniture with the help of a marker. Now, you need to wrap a tile or mirror in a cloth. This tile or mirror should be broken into small pieces with the help of a hammer. While breaking the tile, you need to wear the safety glasses and gloves.

Now, you have to use the pieces for the outline of the design. The pieces should fit each other slightly. Once you have decided upon the placement of the pieces, use the mastic to secure the tile.

The rest of the broken tile or glass pieces can be used to fill up the insides of the design. The way you place the pieces is important. For this you need to use contrasting colors. You can break the pieces to create interesting shapes as well.

Once you decide upon the placing, use the mastic to fix every piece. Press the piece gently to secure it further. Now, you need to grout the pattern. (Grout is a material that is used to fill voids and connect sections particularly between tiles.) Gently remove any excess grout. Allow it to dry for 24 hours. Apply grout sealant over the entire design. (Grout sealant is used over dried grout because it protects it from water and acid-based solutions.)

The captivating beauty of mosaic art still continues to mesmerize art lovers all over. Truly, this is an eternal art form!

By Kashmira Lad
Published: 12/30/2008

Mosaic Art

Something I’ve always fancied having a go at but never got round to is Mosaic Art. It seems to be a niche that has a lot of economic advantages, in that you can apply your art to an everyday object like a table or a mirror then resell it.

Broken Art Exhibition (Australia)

Bundaberg Arts Centre invites you and your friends to the official opening of About Face, Broken Art and Seeing the Light. A fantastic opportunity to view contemporary portraiture, explore colour and texture through mosaics and an exploration of societal life.

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Art Glass Christmas Ornaments

As the Christmas tradition has grow, so has the influence of  in the displays that are hung on the tree and placed on tables and mantlepieces around the home.

In days past the Christmas tree was hung with every type of decoration someone thought would look good. There were crocheted pieces, paper chains, icicles, and glass bulbs. They came in so many different colors the tree would look like a rainbow.

Then people started getting more select in their choices. Styles were changing. The traditional Christmas tree became a work of art. New glass ornaments became available. This started taking on a new look. People could choose from hand painted designs, specialized ornaments, and personalized ones. The range of colors grew as well. Now the tree could be color coordinated with the decor of the house. The evolution of the glass bulb has grown even further today.

hand blown glass christmas tree ornaments

Glass Christmas ornaments grouped into themes. There are stained glass ones, etched ones, and so many more. You can walk into any store and find Currier and Ives or Thomas McCain on the more traditional globes. There are fantasy creatures like fairies and dragons for the younger crowd. Specialty ornaments are available which represent lines of work like teachers, firefighters, and police men. Hobby enthusiasts can find ornaments which reflect their favorite pastime from fishing to photography. Some of the most exquisite ones are from overseas. These unique bulbs are usually hand blown glass. They come in all different shapes and sizes. There are animals, snowflakes, and teardrops. Some are more traditional with hand painted detailing. They are spectacular to behold.

Tradition is strong when it comes to decorating the tree. Some people choose an ornament each year to commemorate the year. There are glass Christmas ornaments designed for this group. The ornaments can be custom ordered with names and dates. Some craftsmen will hand paint the ornament with specific instructions. Wedding and anniversary ornaments are gaining popularity as well. The etched glass ornaments are popular for this tradition.

Fun and whimsical ones are a pleasure to look at. These can range from a pretzel twist to cartoon characters. There are so many to choose from it is sometimes hard to decide. Many people can not and just choose what ever strikes their fancy. These are the people who’s trees can tell a story. Everywhere on the tree will be something that tells about the family who decorated it.

Glass Christmas ornaments are extremely fragile. Special care must be given each year to preserve the collection of color and tradition. There are specially designed storage boxes for keeping the keepsakes safe during storage or transport. It would be wise to invest in some of these storage boxes if the collection is large.

As each year passes, the collection of them grows. There are new ones available all the time. There are times when someone will stumble upon a forgotten box in the attic. The contents can be amazing. The old time craftsmanship used to create some of the traditional globes has been forgotten. The care and precision of the painting is a true work of art. These are the globes which should be given a place of honor on the tree. These are the glass Christmas decorations which delighted the eyes of children in the family from generations ago. The beauty should never be forgotten.

Author: Hal Lewis

Visit for a great selection of Christmas Decorations, Glass Christmas Ornaments, and even Christopher Radko Ornaments.

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Murano Art Glass Jewelry

The Beauty of Murano Glass Jewelry by Marion Chamberlain

European women have more personality when it comes to their style – they own their look. Both French and Italian women believe that less is more; they rather mix than match and also play with accessories. I firmly subscribe to this philosophy as well. Accessorizing is everything! One of my favorite jewelry collections is made of beautiful Murano glass.

You might ask what makes it so special. The jewelry combines traditional murano techniques with today’s fashion to create stunning, beautiful pieces. Murano glass jewelry is made using centuries-old methods, each piece is a one-of-a-kind, handmade work of art and beauty. The pieces are designed with everyone in mind, from the hot trendsetters to those with more classic chic styles. Murano glass collections have something for everyone at every price point. What I also love is that Murano glass jewelry pieces are designed to appeal to today’s modern woman while retaining the beauty and traditions of Italy’s romantic past.

For me, Murano glass jewelry captures the essence of a woman who combines art and fashion to pay attention to herself and loves doing so! So, let’s look at the art side of Murano glass.

Murano glass is beautiful hand-blown glass available in rich colorations, each one infused with unexpected color. You will turn heads with the beauty of Murano glass! A dazzling array of styles is offered and each jewelry piece is a work of art. Murano glass inherits its name from the master glass artisans of Murano from way back in the 13th century. Back then, glassmakers were highly regarded, and were the most prominent people in society because of the monopoly in quality glass art, jewelry, and other accessories. This trend went on for centuries, but despite the efforts of Venice to contain the technology of Murano’s glass artistry, other glassmakers started to emerge in some parts of Italy.


Today, glass-working technologies are already widespread, but the finest glass works still come from Murano. Throughout the centuries, Murano’s glass masters have refined their techniques and were able to develop crystalline glass, enameled glass, glass with threads of gold, multicolored glass (millefiori), milk glass, and imitation gemstones made of glass. Make no mistake about it, the intricately-designed pendants, beads, and gems that are very common nowadays take a lot of work to make.

Murano glass is very much desired. Today, there are about 50 companies and 2,000 artisans making Murano glass. Currently, among the less informed, there remains a misconception that Murano is a composite regional source for art glass, rather than the site of many unique companies, each with its own specialty. Murano glass is completely handmade. It can pricey. However, Murano glass jewelry is a terrific investment in wonderful art! The art of you and your uniqueness. So, express your sense of style with very chic Murano glass necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

Copyright (c) 2007 MMC Lifestyles, LLC, dba MMC Style

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Art and Glass – How It Is Made

How Glass Is Made

Windows, vases, car windshields, computer screens and picture frames – everywhere you look it is almost a guarantee that something in your line of vision will be made of glass. However, the only time we seem to notice it is if the windows need cleaning or we drop a wine glass and have to clean up the shards. Take a minute to think about what life would be like without this material and then learn a little bit more about where it comes from and how its made.

When Was Glass First Made?

It is very difficult to pinpoint exactly when the first piece of glass was manufactured, but archaeological evidence suggests that it was as far back as the second millennium BC. The belief is that it was the Mesopotamians who first discovered the art of glass making and the substance was considered to be incredibly precious, even comparable to gold. When this art reached the Egyptians, a method called core-forming was developed. A core made of clay and dung was moulded into a particular shape and the molten glass was wrapped around it and then shaped by being rolled on a flat surface.

It was only by the first century BC that a new method of glass making was developed and would change the face of glass production for ever more. Originating somewhere on the eastern Mediterranean, possibly Syria, a hollow tube was blown through allowing intricate shapes to be created out of the molten glass gathered at the end. This method soon became the favoured one amongst the Romans and its ease made glass products much more accessible to the common people. After the Roman Empire fell, the art of glass making lost its momentum in Europe until the popularity of stained glass arose in the 12th century. It was from the 17th century onwards that glass making progressed the most steadily and the use of furnaces eventually progressed to the float glass method that we still use today.

What is Glass Made From?

At its most basic level, glass is a brittle, transparent solid substance, while more technically, it is an inorganic product of a fusion process which cools to rigidity without crystallising. The materials used in making glass vary depending on the desired function of the end result, for instance thicker glass or coloured glass requires slightly different materials to be used in the initial process. Most glass products are however made up of a core set of basic materials, namely being sand, soda ash (sodium carbonate), dolomite, limestone and salt cake (sodium sulfate). The basic aim of any glass maker is to get the maximum amount of quality glass from the ingredients at the lowest cost possible.


Different Glass Making Methods Used Today

Float Glass – This is the glass making process that is still used today and was pioneered by the British Pilkington brothers in the 1950s. This method is the most cost-effective way to make large sheets of glass for windows and doors. It involves floating the molten glass on a bed of molten tin and as the glass is left to float unhindered, it is essentially flattened by gravity and its own weight, leaving the surface smooth and polished.

Plate Glass – This used to be the main method for making large sheets of glass to be used in windows, doors and windshields before the float glass method was developed. A complicated twin grinding and polishing process is involved that is costly as well as wasteful. The long polishing process needed to give the glass its sheen is time consuming and creates excess glass shards that can’t be reused.

Recycled Glass – Making recycled glass is a great energy saver as its uses 40% less energy than the process needed to make new glass. This is because the crushed glass used in the process melts at a much lower temperature than the ordinary raw materials usually used to make glass. Another benefit of recycled glass is that the materials can be used over and over again – the glass does not ever wear out.

Container Glass – This is the type of glass used to make bottles and jars and is usually made up of soda-lime raw materials. Created through blowing and pressing techniques, this is a fairly clean and natural glass making process, meaning that this type of glass is easily recyclable. This process involves three steps, the batch house, hot end and cold end. In the batch house step the raw materials are prepared and mixed, while the hot end involves the melting of the materials and their manipulation into the desired shape as well as the cooling procedures. The cold end involves inspecting the container glass for any defects, packaging them and labelling them for shipping.

Fibreglass – This is the other main type of glass besides sheet glass and container glass and is used mainly for thermal insulation and optical communication. This glass is made from exceptionally fine fibres of glass and is often used as a reinforcing agent. The process to make fibreglass is fairly complicated and usually starts with the raw materials in solid form that are then melted and sheared into fibres. The fibres are then wound into a bobbin and turned into the desired fibreglass shape.

By: Kelly Wheeler

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Dr Mark Voloshin is an international entrepreneur with business interests as diverse as wine farms, museums and glass manufacturing. His company, The Marvol Group is committed to establishing a successful glass manufacturing industry in Dr Voloshin’s home country of Russia through their holding company Marvol Trading GmbH.

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Hand Blown Glass Chandelier

Hand Blown Glass Chandeliers

You customized Glass Chandeliers

What make them unique is that each chandelier is expertly hand crafted and every piece of glass is individually hand blown. It ensures that two chandeliers will never be the same and you will have something exclusive in your home that reflects your personal taste. This also becomes a topic of conversation and admiration among your friends and family.

artisans custom art glass

These hand blown glass chandeliers have stunning glass sculptures as well as lighting fixtures. The lovely light produced by these chandeliers creates a subtle glow and an awesome ambience around your room. Moreover, they emit fabulous artistic shadows on your walls and ceilings.

Types of hand blown glass chandeliers:

Considering its popularity, many light design manufacturers are now offering various hand blown chandeliers. Though some of these are more expensive, they are very popular as they offer exclusive pieces. The large variety of hand blown chandeliers includes:

Hand Blown Glass Pendant with One Light: These exquisite lights prove to be star of any room in your house. They are most suitable for focusing lights on specific work areas. They come in a large variety as per shapes, design and shades are concerned and the frame and matched ceiling canopy are mostly finished in nickel. You can even cut the cord in order to suit your desired hanging height.

Hand Blown Glass Pendant Chandelier with Multi Lights: The multi pendant lights feature nickel finished frame and matched ceiling canopy. They are simply perfect to shed ample light over your dining space. Most of these types of hand blown glass chandeliers have deep and rich colors as well as a heavier customized look and feel.

Hand Blown Glass Wall Sconce: These types of hand blown chandeliers come in a variety of colors and shapes. The frame and matched mount of a wall sconce is usually finished in chrome and give a refined look. They provide refraction or a bending of a wave path of light that seem to reflect off an immobile object and bounce into various routes, giving life to that object. You can find these hand blown glass wall sconces in single, double and triple lights.

By: Ketan Kulkarni

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The best part of these Hand blown glass chandeliers is that they are perfectly suitable for both contemporary and traditional interiors.

Atlantis Blown Glass Chandelier

The leopard colored Atlantis chandelier from Bear Creek Glass is made from hundreds of hand blown and shaped pieces. At 30 inches wide and 22 inches high (for the “small” version shown here), this light is going to be noticed! 

Studio Art Chandelier

Who doesn’t love a fabulous chandelier? I have seen the next fixture at a friend’s house and had to feel it. It is one of the most gorgeous pieces of artwork I have ever seen. The globes are amber colored hand-blown glass.

Auburn University’s Chandelier

In the rotunda of the museum hangs a three-tiered, hand-blown glass chandelier created by internationally-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly.

Blown Glass

Perhaps one of the more mysterious media used to create domestic adornments, hand-blown glass has a timeless allure. From conception through execution, these objects embody an aesthetic of potential destruction and risk. … Designed by Ian Worling of Blown Glass. Vortex. Designed by Ian Worling of Blown Glass. Worling’s aesthetic seems to be midway between Bergmans’ randomized and ultra-thin forms and the careful refinements of a Murano Chandelier.

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Glass Art Studios

Cut Crystal And Hand Blown Glass Of European Quality Insures A Cherished Gift

Quality cut crystal from Europe can be a treasure trove for the discerning buyer. Exquisite hand blown glass and cut crystal manufactured by master craftsmen in the Slovak and the Czech Republic is now becoming more available to the western market. Today, cut crystal of anniversary gift and heirloom quality is just one of the many glass products to choose from.

Although the Czechs and Slovaks are not the only skilled glass producers in Central Europe, few rival them in artistic range and expertise. Hardly a street in Prague is without a shop window that displays luxury cut crystal or fine hand blown glass. Visitors and tourists find breath-taking works of art exemplified in hand cut crystal and mouth blown glass.

In Bohemia, the craft and art of glassmaking goes back over 600 years. Often a family tradition, the craftsmanship of glass is highly specialized from artwork to glassworks production. Today, Czech glass is still one of the European heirloom treasures to look for and select that "perfect unique gift."

After the collapse of the Communist Socialist system in 1989, state ran
glass factories in Czechoslovakia started down the path of privatization. More and more, they became free to make their own business decisions on which kind of glass they wished to produce and offer to market. Importers from the West also have more choices on goods and glass manufacturers as they are no longer required to go through state specified channels. The result has made world-class custom glass products from Bohemia, readily available to the world economy.

Collecting glass is an obsession to some. Locating and acquiring antique glass collectibles can be as exciting as finding new heirloom cut crystal from the shops of master craftsmen. From crystal chandeliers to colored decorative glass, Czech and Slovak pieces have become more sought after as centuries pass.

Heirloom crystal pieces can be cut to look like a faceted diamond in appearance. Leaded crystal is not the only top grade cut glass, some of the most elegant and expensive cut glass, in the world, contains no lead in it at all. Quality is reliant on the manufacturer and skill of the craftsmen rather than the type of glass produced.

Glass gifts are part of the civilized culture. Royalty often designated custom decorative glass pieces be made for occasions. Today, cut crystal has not lost its allure. Anniversary glass gifts can be cut crystal pieces or hand blown items. Cut crystal is selected for any anniversary year, but very often the 25th Anniversary gift and again for the 50th Anniversary present. Culinary and kitchen items have become popular for glass gifts of distinction. Gourmet kitchens often show off imported olive oil and aged vinegar, in  decanters and cruets. Recently in vogue are glass-within-glass decanters of oil and vinegar. Their unique quality lends them to be an exceptional gift of European style and design.

By: James Zeller –

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James Zeller writes for gift shopping blogs sites. Here is a selection of elegant cut crystal that he found and a unique & creative collection hand blown glass.

Glass with class

There are, it seems, two very distinct classes of Mary Gregory glass: that made from about 1870 to 1939, when manufacture was almost entirely by hand and pieces were blown either freehand or into a mould in glassworks both in this country and in Bohemia, now the Czech Republic.

Glass by Michal Stanek

Michal followed In the family’s footsteps by attending University of Hartford school of arts where he developed an interest in hand blown glass. Realizing this was his love, he moved back to the Czech Republic to attend the Kaminicky.

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Art Glass Comes From Different Types Of Glass

Hand blown glass art and other types of art glass are made using different types of glass and techniques.

Pressed glass, Depression glass and crystal this month we’ll review the basics of these different types of glass and some tips on telling the difference.


Glass was first recorded being made in ancient Rome, Egypt and Syria. It was made by heating and fusing sand, potash or soda with lime.

Types of Glass

Soda glass, potash glass and lead glass are the three main types of glass.

art glass

Soda glass

Starting in the 13th century, soda glass was made in Venice. Glassmakers were able to form molten glass into elaborate shapes because it contained burned seaweed, making the glass very malleable.

Potash glass

Potash glass came from northern Europe. Potash was made from a combination of burned wood and bracken making the glass well suited for engraving and cutting.

Lead glass (crystal, lead crystal)

Starting in Europe in the 17th century, lead glass was developed. It was derived from adding lead oxide to potash glass. The words lead glass, lead crystal and crystal all mean the same thing. Crystal is simply a type of glass. It is the addition of lead to mix that makes crystal harder than regular glass. Crystal is less likely to have bubbles, which is helpful when cutting

Pressed glass

Popularized during the Victoria era, pressed glass is made from a mould and is less valuable than cut glass. You can identify pressed glass from the mould line that is visible and the less sharply faceted decoration.

Depression glass

Popularized during the Great Depression, companies such as Hocking Glass, Federal and MacBeth-Evans mass-produced this form of pressed glassware. It was often given away free as a gift with purchase. There are many colours and patterns available.

Decoration on glass

There are four types of decorations used to adorn glass: cutting, enamelling, gilding and engraving.


Facets cut into glass reflect light and create sparkle. One tip to help date a piece of glass is to look for shallow surface cuts which were used in the earliest days of glass cutting.


In the 15th century, the Venetians popularized the enamelling of glass that is a process of painting on glass.


It is a technique of adding gold decoration to glass that was often done by firing the gold onto a glass surface.


It was done by diamond point engraving (scratching the design onto the surface of the glass using a diamond nib), wheel engraving (scratching the design on the surface of the glass using small copper wheels rotating against the surface) stipple engraving (scratching the design onto the surface of the glass using fine diamond needle that taps out the design in a series of dots and lines) or acid etching (scratching the design on the surface of glass using a sharp tool then subjecting the glass to hydrofluoric acid which etched the design onto the glass).

How to tell crystal from cut glass

Weight is the number one tip-off that something is crystal rather than glass. The lead in crystal makes it is heavier than cut glass. The telltale ping when you flick your fingernail against crystal is another way to tell crystal from glass.

Why is modern-day crystal less brilliant than antique crystal

Crystal made in the early 1900s contains about 25 to 28 percent lead. Modern crystal contains only 10 to 12 percent lead. This reduction in the lead content makes modern crystal less brilliant than antique crystal.

How to tell if it is early glass

Old engraving will look dark and grey against a white background. New glass engraving will not look grey against a white background.

Spotting reproductions

There are many reproductions circulating because modern glassmakers made imitations of 18th century glass. There is nothing wrong with reproductions as long as you know that is what you are buying. You can spot reproductions three ways:


Reproductions may not have the distinctive tint caused by natural occurring impurities. Use the white background test; if the engraving looks grey against the white, the item is likely to be old.

Manufacturing signs

Machine-made glass will not have the rough bump under the stem that hand-blown glass will have. This bump results from the item being removed from the glassblower’s rod. Also, hand-blown glass might have imperfections such as uneven thickness, ripples or striations that machine-made glass does not have.


Styles and proportions have varied over the years. One thing to look for is that the foot on antique glass is often as wide as the bowl.


Glass and crystal are one collectible where the secondary market is more affordable than the primary market. The reason is supply and demand. Plenty of crystal was made over the years, plenty of people took good care of it, and, as a result plenty of it is still around.

Author: Martin Swinton

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