“Glass needs light to live. Stuffed away in a curio cabinet it tends to look flat and boring. When lit, either by sun or artificially, it blossoms and gains a vibrancy that leaves objects formed in other materials, such as ceramics, wood and metal, looking as unattractive as… well, unlit glass.”
These are the words of antiques guru Judith Miller and I have to say that I agree – especially when I look at the effect of the sun on one of my glass vases in the picture above.
Although my home is primarily furnished with antiques from the late 19th and early 20th century I have a passion for glass – regardless of the era. I love the way the crystal prisms on my mantle lustres reflect their sparkle in the sideboard mirror behind them and the rainbow of colours that show up when my ‘American Brilliant’ crystal vases are bathed in sunlight but in the last year I have come to prefer glass from the 1950’s and 1960’s.
I bought the vase above this spring at the Wild Rose Antique sale. In the midst of a huge room filled with table upon table of all sorts of goods, this vase grabbed me just as I was about to leave the sale empty-handed. It weighs eight pounds and is almost completely solid glass. It has no identifying marks and I haven’t researched it yet but it looks Swedish to me. The free-form blue bottle looks dark next to the orange vase but that’s only because it’s in shadow – it looks beautiful lit up too.
I don’t just collect old glass. This vase is made by the New-Small Glass studios in Vancouver. Although they have a shop on Granville Island, I bought it from an older couple who were down-sizing. I love the way the colours flow into each other. I have a couple of examples of Robert Held glass in my collection as well.
The last photo shows one of the vases I keep on the window ledge on our 1912 Foursquare house. The base goes from amber to clear to a rich teal green colour. I love the shape. I also have a couple of pieces of “Chalet” glass which was popular in Canada in the 60’s and early 70’s.
Interested in collecting glass? Here are some tips:
- Buy what you love – be it by colour, shape, texture, or age.
- If you want to amass a more substantial collection in monetary terms you will have to familiarize yourself with the styles, companies and values of different types of glass in this fascinating field of collecting.
- Collectors will often gravitate towards the deeper, richer colours of glass. I have found, in my experience, that glass in colours such as deep red, blue, green and purple outsell their paler or more muted counterparts.
- Find a sunny window to show off your collection and wait for the sunshine!