My Weekly Score: Murano Marlin

Murano is an island off the coast of Italy, but it’s also a type of glass that is made through a different and more complex process than most other glass. Because of this, it’s highly collectible and sought after.

We came across the above piece of Murano at an auction and paid $9 for it. It’s in the shape of a swordfish. The colors are cobalt blue, yellow, and clear. It’s a fairly large piece, standing at 14” tall.

It had one flaw – that the tip of the tail on the fish had broken off. It could be sanded down and maybe even slightly reshaped if someone had the time and tools to invest in it.

Despite the obvious damage, this ended up inciting a mini-bidding war. It sold for $43.99 and although Murano can go for much more than that, it was still a great sale. There are a lot of factors that must be considered when buying or selling Murano – something I hope we can get into at a later date here on the blog.

Have you come across any Murano before? Would you like a swordfish statue, or do you prefer a different kind of animal?


Word of the Week: American Brilliant

We’ve gotten another request from a reader, this time to discuss the term “American Brilliant.” This has to do with cut glass, and was actually an era that was in existence between 1876 and 1917.

This term is in reference to what is known as the Brilliant Period. Prior to the 1870s, Europeans owned the glass making industry. Many American craftsmen were immigrants, so the American style was practically identical to those across the pond.

Over the years, and as the generations moved on and away from the home country, they started gaining their own techniques and developing their own style. By the time the mid-1870s rolled around, the Americans owned the glassmaking industry and even the Europeans couldn’t compare.

This is what is known as the American Brilliant era.

I don’t have any pictures to show you guys because we haven’t come across any of these pieces before. However, there is an incredible site dedicated to cut glass and this era in American glassmaking. Please be sure to check it out for pictures and additional information!

Word of the Week: Cut Glass

Cut glass is glass that has been decorated with a pattern that was cut by hand using rotating wheels. The wheels can either be made of metal or made of stone.

Identifying cut glass can be a little tricky sometimes, but the more you deal in it, the better off you’ll be. My go-to indicator is to feel the edges of the pattern – if they’re a little sharper than usual, then you’ve probably got cut glass on your hands. Cut glass also won’t have a seam anywhere on it like pressed glass does.

Although it doesn’t do much good to show you pictures of cut glass, since both cut and pressed glass can essentially have the same pattern, here are some examples anyway:

Do you collect cut glass? Have you ever come across any awesome pieces before?

Word of the Week: Cranberry Glass

We’ve gotten our first request – cranberry glass!

After mentioning that cobalt glass was one of my favorite colors of vintage glassware, one of our readers heartily agreed. When I mentioned that I loved cranberry glass too, she mentioned that I should share some pictures of it. Great idea!

First off, let’s do a little background information:

Cranberry glass is also called “gold ruby” because of how it’s made. Basically (without getting technical and flubbing up some of the details that I really don’t understand) it’s made when you add gold oxide to molten glass, which you get by adding gold to acid.

Pretty cool right? I had no idea you needed gold to make this type of glass! This glass is typically hand blown or hand molded, so that just adds to the value.

Here are some pictures of cranberry glass that we’ve had around here:

This is a gorgeous hanging lamp with cranberry glass along the top that fades into clear glass.

This is an orchid-shaped vase of a deep cranberry color. Beautiful!

Here’s another vase with a brighter color of cranberry. This was hand-blown.

Word of the Week: Vaseline Glass

Believe it or not, there is a (somewhat vague) connection between Vaseline (petroleum jelly) and the glassware.

First off, let’s just say that the real name for Vaseline glass is Uranium glass. This type of glassware has had uranium added into the mix before melting, which glows bright green under ultraviolet light. The normal color of this glass (ie. under regular light) is a light yellowish-green, which was said to resemble that of Vaseline and picked up the nickname somewhere in the 1920s.

(And for the traditionalists out there, “Vaseline glass” is normally considered to be the pieces that are greener. All others are generally referred to as “Uranium glass.”)

Vaseline glass has about 2% Uranium in it, though older pieces have more. Production of Vaseline glass was popular during the late 1800s through to the early 1920s. Manufacturing of it had to pause during WWII while the government confiscated all the Uranium they could find. It resumed again in 1958 but popularity for newer pieces has decreased significantly.

(Thanks to this Wikipedia article for the stats and dates!)

Here are some really neat pictures:

This is a beautiful Vaseline glass water set.

Here’s a closeup of one of the tumblers. You can usually tell Vaseline glass by its bright green coloring that is mostly apparent around the edges.

This is one of the more yellow pieces of Vaseline glass that we’ve come across.

Here’s that same piece glowing under black light!

Here’s a typical piece of Vaseline glass.

And here’s the same piece under the black light!

What about you? Do you like Vaseline glass? Do you own any?

My Weekly Score: Moderntone Soup Bowls

We had a little surprise waiting for us this week: one of our older listings sold for a nice amount of money. It was a great lesson in patience and how having a little bit of it can really make all the difference in the world.

What you see below is a set of four cream soup bowls from the Hazel Atlas Glass Company. They are made of a gorgeous cobalt blue colored glass and have a handle on each side, plus a ribbed pattern across the outside of the bowl. The pattern name is “Moderntone.”

This pattern was produced in West Virginia and Ohio between 1934 and 1942. It was also produced in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

We got a whole set of these dishes for around $75. We haven’t sold them all yet, but we’ve more than doubled our money already. These four bowls alone brought in $60. Yay!

I love anything in this beautiful cobalt color. What about you? Do you have a favorite color of glassware?

Word of the Week: Applied Handle

Applied glass is a technique in which decorative parts were applied to the main body of a piece of glassware while both were still hot. Therefore, an applied handle is a handle which has been applied to a glass piece using this technique. Not too hard of a concept, eh?

I’m not sure why collectors like to know if the handles are applied or not, but I’ve got a good guess. Pressed glass is an assembly line procedure in which molds are used. There isn’t a whole lot of skill involved. However, when a glass blower creates each piece individually, there is a lot more talent and time that goes into it. The same thing goes for an applied handle – it takes time and talent to apply it. Therefore, pieces with this “accessory” are much more valuable.

Here are two different examples of pieces that have applied handles. In the second example, I provide close-ups of the handle so you’ll be able to recognize it if you ever see it on your own!

This is a gorgeous amethyst colored glass ewer that has an applied handle.

Here is a green, hand-blown, glass jug with an applied handle.

Here's a close-up of the same jug. You can see that the handle looks separate from the jug, and appears to have been added in addition to it.

Same handle, different angle. This one is neat in that it is the handle is folded in on itself.