Why Identify Antique Glassware?
Knowing how to identify antique glassware is an important part of being a collector. When you can identify the real thing you are less likely to make costly mistakes.
Get a Price Guide
The first thing that you will want to do is to invest in a good price and identification guide for antique glassware. This should be small enough to carry with you when you shop. Before you ever set foot in an antique store you should peruse the guide and familiarize yourself with the manufacturer you are collecting.
Be Aware of Color
Various manufacturers used colors in their glassware but rarely did a company use every color in every pattern. Some patterns may come in two colors plus clear glass while others may be available in seven or eight colors.
Be Aware of Rarity
Some of the colors are rarer, and therefore more valuable, than others. List the rarest colors in the patterns that you collect. This way if you see something in your pattern you won't accidentally pass it up.
If you collect Vaseline glass it is a good idea to take a battery operated black light with you when you shop. The black light will cause the glass to glow if it is real Vaseline glass.
Be Aware of Dates
Manufacturers usually one created a pattern for a certain number of years. The Moonstone pattern seen here was made from 1941 through 1946. Sometimes the manufacturers will redistribute a pattern decades later. If you know a pattern was made in the 1920s for example, and then again in the 1980s you will know that you could be getting a newer piece than you thought.
Check for Reproductions
Always check carefully for reproductions. There are some telltale signs that a piece in new. A vintage piece of glass will have some signs of wear. The edges will be softer and more rounded than a new piece. The glass will look different. Older items tend to have a rimmed base while the newer ones tend to be smooth. Antique cut glass has sharper and cleaner edges than the newer cut glass.
The more experience you have learning to identify antique glassware the easier it is to spot.
Some items are noted as being a particular size or depth in the identification guides. It is a good idea to bring along a tape measure to confirm that your find is actually what you think it is. All measurements should be the same as what is noted in the book.
You can be sure if an item has a Made in China tag on it it isn't 100 years old. You might be surprised at how many people miss that detail.
Several sites on the Internet specialize in vintage glassware. You can study the patterns on these sites to help yourself identify almost any pattern.
You may also be interested in the slideshow, Identify Antique China Patterns.