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by Ruby Lane

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Have you ever been out treasure hunting at an estate or garage sale and picked up a piece of clear glass and wondered if it was cut glass or pressed glass? Maybe it never occurred to you that there was a difference? Cut glass is almost always more valuable than pressed glass, and these tips will help you decipher between the two.

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Let your senses guide you when looking at a piece of glass.  Feel the glass to get an idea of its quality. Cut glass will have sharper detail with a more defined pattern, whereas pressed glass will be smoother and more worn down. Look for mold marks. Cut glass will not have any mold marks and most pressed pieces do unless they are upper-end pieces and someone took the time to remove them.

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What is the overall weight of the piece of glass? The Higher quality glass is very heavy and not lightweight. Again, you have to get used to feeling the quality of glass to recognize the differences. Cut glass contains lead. The extra mineral content from the lead makes it much heavier. The lead gives cut glass a clearer and more “brilliant” appearance. When holding these pieces up to the light, there is a vast difference in clarity and brilliance between the cut glass and pressed glass. The facets on the cut glass will sparkle in the light. The higher the clarity and the more brilliant the piece, the higher the lead content, and many times the more valuable.

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If possible, listen to the glass.  When you gently thump a piece of cut glass, it will ring if it is truly cut glass.  However, do this very carefully, as antique glass is very delicate and can crack or even shatter if tapped too hard. I would never recommend this test in an antique shop unless the owner has agreed to do it for you.

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Finally, if you have found a piece of glass you are interested in purchasing always look at it with outdoor (daylight) lighting. I don’t know how many times I have decided to buy a piece of glass and it is not until I take it outside or to a shop window to look at it in the daylight that I find a crack or chip that I did not see under indoor lighting. I cannot stress this tip enough.

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Using your senses goes a long way in determining the value of many types of glass. With these tips, you are well on your way to looking at glass like one of the pros!

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About the Author: Jennifer Hickey is an antiques blogger and vintage and antique enthusiast. You can read Jennifer’s blog for new pieces every month from ‘How to Care for Your Antiques’, to ‘What is Limoges’ to ‘How to Spot a Repro’. Contact: jennifer@cityfarmhouseantiques.com | 575-636-8630

 

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We would love to hear from you Write us at blogarticles@rubylane.com

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