Choosing your antique glass carefully

During the 18th century, manufacturing methods allowed great numbers of drinking glasses to be made.

The ease in making them increased with time and the most valuable varieties of antique glass were often replicated. Even more than the most antique collectibles antique glass should be authenticated by an antique glass experts.

Nowadays, modern glassware is extremely affordable. Nobody wants to pay antique glass prices for glasses that look modern. Shape and decoration can add to the value of each glass.

Decorated antique glass is usually one of four types. Two types involved cutting the design into the glass and two have the design applied to the surface.

Cut glass catches the light, often creating prisms. Over time, the cuts became deeper and more elaborated. Do not be fooled by modern imitations which are molded into shapes instead of cuts. Engraving offers a shallower but sometimes more interesting array of patterns. Antique glass also comes in four kinds of engraving.

Acid etching uses hydrofluoric acid to etch designs that were scratched into the surface by a sharp implement. It was drastically used in the 19th century.

Stipple engraving uses a diamond-tipped stylus to tap and scratch dots and lines into the surface, making a design. This was a popular way to decorate glasses in the Netherlands and England of the 18th century.

Wheel engraving uses wheels of different diameters rotating against the glass to make designs. Antique glasses with this type of designing might be from 17th century Germany or 18th century England. Diamond point engraving, like stipple engraving, uses a diamond tipped tool to make the design. England and Venice made these glasses during the 16th century.

Venetian glass was painted with enamel since the 15th century. Enameled glass became popular in mid-18th century England. Antique glass might be gilded. Several techniques were used to apply gold, gold leaf or paint containing gold to glass for an elegant look.

Because of imitations and outright fakes in the antique glass market, it is a good idea to study the subject before beginning to invest in antique glass. Replicas are less expensive. If you are only looking for the beauty of an era gone by and are not interested in its resale value, then there is no reason to bypass glasses that have more appeal than authenticity. Just be sure that you are getting what you really want.

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