The History of Tiffany Art Glass

Anyone who's watched an episode or two of Antiques Roadshow has seen someone let down when they learn that their Tiffany lamp is a reproduction or made by a different company. Tiffany & Co. actually had its start as a glassmaking company. Its founder, Louis Comfort Tiffany, was well-known for taking glassmaking and elevating it into an art form. These pieces of Tiffany Art were soon used in the construction of the famous lamps (under the name Tiffany Studios), and eventually the company would make jewellery and other delicate items. Tiffany & Co. in New York City is the descendant of the original Tiffany company, which began in the early 20th century.

What Types of Art Glass Are There?

There are many different types of Tiffany art glass that spawn over decades. Whether you're looking for sugar and creamer set or a decorative vase, there are many styles to choose from.

  • Plates: Tiffany & Co. actually manufactured quite a bit of dessert and salad plates throughout the years. These are perfect for large, holiday gatherings.
  • Objects d'art: There are several different types of vases and candlesticks offered, elegant enough to use for decoration only or to use for their intended purpose.
  • Glasses and bowls: Similarly to plates, Tiffany is also famous for wine and water goblets as well as serving and salad bowls.

What Are the Different Types of Glass?

As Louis Comfort Tiffany made glass making an art, there are many more options than simply crystal glass. A few are listed below.

  • Blown glass: One of the earliest methods of making glass, blown glass requires artisans to heat, blow, and mold glass. Tiffany vases and other art objects often used this technique.
  • Opalescent glass: Most of the glass produced at Tiffany Studios was this type and includes many variances in colour and shade.
  • Leaded glass: This type of glass was used for Tiffany stained glass windows (popular at the time) as well as being the construction for the famous Tiffany lamps.

How Do I Ensure My Purchase Is Authentic?

A consistent problem with Tiffany glass throughout the years has been authenticity. Fortunately, there are a few ways to ensure your purchase is smooth and satisfactory.

  • Imprint: Most original Tiffany pieces will have some type of imprint, whether it be "Tiffany Studios" or "Tiffany & Co. " However, keep in mind not all lamps were stamped.
  • Ask for a guarantee or certificate of authentication: This is a sound and reasonable way to ensure that you have a real product.
  • Inspect the colour: Tiffany is well-known for enganging, vibrant colour. If the colour is dull or muted, it is most likely not a Tiffany piece.

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