How Antique Appraisals Spot the Original Glassware from Reproductions

Glass has been used since 3500BC. Since the time of the Mesopotamians and Egyptians, glassware has been a fashionable curiosity regardless of whether its holder was at a meager scullery countertop or a lavish ruler’s table. One of the challenging issues now with glassware collecting is spotting the originals from reproductions, so here is how our antique appraisals can help you authenticate it before you buy it.

Who First Molded Glass?

Since 1200 BC, Egyptians have molded glass. This exquisitely molded glass is often found in collections today. We know of its enormous value because it was documented in the Old Testament’s Book of Job. The first stained glass imported to France was in 675AD by Abbot Benedict Biscop for St. Peter Monastery. Later, the colonists transported it to America until the Jamestown Glassworks opened in 1609.

Because of the complexity of glassmaking, design and aesthetics vary. It can be daunting to try to assess it yourself because there are plenty of styles and each has nuances that either add value or detract from it in the marketplace. There are also different kinds, so it is crucial to assess size, color, design, and pattern. Antique glassmakers also had exclusive styles and techniques that created unique colors and patterns.

Antique Appraisals and Glassware Categories

Cut glass was produced between the early 19th century up to around 1910. One of the more popular types is Early American Pattern Glass (EAPG) as it is heavily cut and charming. The EAPG table sets vary in value, but it’s a great starter for a new collector as they run from a few dollars to thousands of dollars.

Artistic glass was usually created between the late 19th-century and the mid-twentieth century. Each piece is unique because it is handcrafted, and makers like Durand, Quezal, and Tiffany are sure to offer ROI. Favrile glass is highly collectible as it was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and patented in 1892.

Carnival glass was created between 1905 and 1920. It was pressed with salinities and refired to finish it. As its namesake infers, it was usually given as prizes at carnivals and local festivals. It was reinvented in the 1960s, so contemporary carnival glass pieces produced after its earlier era are what collectors want.

The most common glass is kitchenware glass. Depression glass was all the rage during the 1920s and 30s. You’ll still find glass collectibles like canisters, dish sets, and bowls in the market, but it rarely has much value. For a collection, invest in glassmakers like Hazel-Atlas Glass Company and bet on the Royal Lace.

Collectible glass was produced mainly by depression glass makers during the mid-twentieth century. As it was produced by machinery, it tends to not be as valuable today as other glassmaker eras. By the 1950s, elegant glass became all the rage by high-end clients as it was machine crafted and then hand finished.

Contemporary glass was produced with an artistic flare after the 1960s and 70s. Artisans preferred to handcraft it, so it took on an earlier impression of blown glass. One of the premier glassblowers during this period was Lino Tagliapietra who helped to standardize the industry and create many techniques.

Crystal has become the go-to for glass aficionados. Produced in the 20th-century, glass was mixed with lead to produce lovely, acoustic ringing glassware. Their value can be astronomical when they are decorated with gold or diamonds or have exquisite stemming, distinctive designs, or exceptional cuts.

Color can also be a factor, which is one of the ways collectors tell makers apart. You can also learn about glass colors to determine if the glass is possibly valuable. Rare colors like orange, ruby, or opaque green are collectible, but before you invest, we recommend calling to consult with us about antique appraisals.

If you would like to learn more about glass eras, call our office at 617-948-2577 or visit us on Facebook at We will gladly consult or advise you on your purchases.