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NOVA-Antiques is the Mid Atlantic website for all things antique and collectible. Our website features antique & collectibles dealers, shops & malls; Flea Market Directory & Reviews; Monthly Antiques Show Calendar; Estate & Tag Sales Page; and our NOVA-Antiques Newsletter, which contains news, articles and information about the antiques & collectibles market. NOVA-Antiques Blog is an extension of our Newsletters.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Vintage Collectible - Beautiful but Inexpensive Opalescent Glass

Although many people credit Rene Lalique and Louis Comfort Tiffany for inventing opalescent glass it was actually developed and patented by John Lafarge in about 1879. Lafarge was an American artist, decorator and stained glass maker that was born in New York City on March 31, 1835. He studied and then experimented with stained glass and eventually discovered opalescent glass. Some of his stunning successes can be found in the “Battle Window” at Harvard University and the Unity Church in Easton, Massachusetts. Later during the Art Nouveau period of the early 1900’s, many designers and manufacturers started producing their own versions of opalescent glass.

Opalescent glass is a semi-opaque pressed or hand blown colored glass that has a milky haze to it. Adding arsenic to the glass in its molten state makes it opalescent, although not poisonous. Opalescent glass became very popular and many companies, including Fenton, Northwood, and Hobbs, started producing a lot of merchandise in different styles and patterns. Other companies in different parts of the world also started producing the glass including Davidson and Sowerby Glass in England.

It is easy to collect opalescent glass because it can range in price from inexpensive to moderately priced. The blue opalescent glass bowl pictured at
the top of this page was made by the Jefferson Glass Company in the many loops pattern and usually sells at antiques and collectibles shows for between $30 and $40. The blue opalescent vase pictured on the here was made at the turn of the century by Sowerby Glass of England in the Piasa Bird pattern and retails for about $120 to $160. In either case, both are very beautiful pieces of antique and vintage collectible art glass that would be attractive in any home or office.

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