Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Art Glass and Vintage Lighting

By Gretchen Sawatzki

To understand the value and allure of antique lighting you have to understand art glass. Art glass refers to the brilliantly colored, hand-blown, glass shades that add a touch of sparkle and whimsy to antique lighting. Some of the most notable art glass studios of the period produced rare one-of-a-kind antique light shades that can be found in your everyday antiques store, if you know what to look for.

Tiffany - Queens, New York
Tiffany developed favrile glass in the 1890s. Favrile glass has a shiny, iridescent quality to it that reflects light for a brilliant glow. Tiffany shades are often glossy with asymmetrical or natural forms, and use a copper foiled lead when blending slag glass shades.

Steuben - Corning, New York
Favrile’s competitor, Steuben, developed the gold aurene art glass shade. Aurene antique light shades are best identified by their opaque pearl exteriors and shiny gold interiors. Steuben art glass can also be identified by its deeply etched decorative details.

Quezal - New York

Precise in every way, Quezal antique light shades resemble natural, free-flowing, floral forms symmetrical in design with iridescent interiors. The studio is best-recognized by its vine and pulled feather forms. 

 Authentic Loetz art glass shade
Loetz - Austro-Hungarian Bohemia

Historic, Loetz antique light shades are highly sought for their brilliant use of color, texture, and types of art glass decoration including:

  • Chiné decor - thin glass threads spun around the body 
  • Papillon decor - applied silver spots 
  • Phänomen - glass that is pulled to resemble a feather or leaf pattern
Antique lighting and art glass doesn’t have to be difficult. Just remember these few makers and details, and you will able to spot these antique light shades like a pro!

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