Every collector started somewhere. Me, I started at home. My mother loved her Fenton glass. When I was younger I didn’t understand it, a vase is a vase, I thought. But as I got older and started noticing the difference in color brilliance and how the cut of a design brought out different features I found myself wanting more. My love developed over time. As I started picking up pieces here and there I started questioning…who made this, I want more or I wonder how old this peice is and how many different people had it sitting on their entry table? Researching glass is not as difficult as you would think but there is one rule that I have always stood by, if I LOVE it, then it’s worth it! The purpose of decorative glass was to make people happy, brighten their day and their homes. It started in the 20’s with, what we call, depression glass. Depression glass was cheap and found everywhere, it was produced with the purpose of giving the home a colorful way to brighten their day. Depression glass was not made elegantly, it was made quickly and with the intent of high production. The seams were not sanded, the edges are rough and it is common to find bubbles in the glass. With that information it makes it a bit easier to identify real depression glass from replicas.
Looking at a piece of depression glass you will find many flaws, which today would make you beleive it is fake, but in the glass world it is exactly oposite. I have some sherbert dishes that really tested my faith, not only could you see and feel the seam but the cut design is very rough. After showing them to someone with more education than myself, it turns out that they were very authentic and in fact had probably just not been used. Over years of use the roughness smooths out from handling and washing, not completely, but it does make a difference. Needless to say, I was very surprised to see a true piece of depression glass in its original state. True depression glass may also have ripples, most commonly found on plates and the bottom of bowls. And finally, depression glass was used daily so scratches and divots are common.
For beginer collectors I offer only 2 pieces of advice: 1. get a book of glass that has good pictures, no book has every pattern of every maker but even 1 book will get you familiar with designs, colors, styles and names; 2. Don’t worry so much about the maker and the age or the value of what you find, spend more thought on where will you put it and how will it look with your other pieces. If it is perfect for you, then it is perfect no matter who made it or what it’s monetary value is. The true value of any collectible item is in the happiness it brings you.