Antique, vintage and retro glass art and glassware are smart choices for today’s home or office décor and for special gift giving.
The well-made and innovative beautiful glass of yesteryear far outshines anything available in retail stores today. It comes from the time when products were designed to please the consumer with beauty, quality and innovations.
From the beginnings of civilization to the mid-20th century, glass objects were made by artists and craftsmen at great glass houses or infamous studios. The designs were carefully engineered with style, quality, form and function in mind. The multitudes of décor styles found on vintage glass is exceptional. Most glass objects before 1970 were made with real glass, from a complex recipe, and heated to an extreme high degree in on-site furnaces, then blown or molded into shape by hand.
This very interesting glass from the 1920’s to 1970’s can accentuate all contemporary home and office décor styles of today. Made when ingenuity, talent, creativity and quality was thought to be the key to success. The last gasp of studio craft artistry produced a wide range of fabulous shapes, styles, forms and colors of glass objects. Decorating with retro, vintage and/or antique glass is fun, colorful, distinctive, creative, and provides for statement making focal points.
Most new glass found on the shelves of retail stores today is imported. Ninety nine percent of the glass objects come from China where it is mass produced by machines and human handlers.
China is reproducing vintage and antique styles by the bejillions. The reproductions are very poor in shape, décor and quality. The décor on glass imports is brash and messy. Mass produced glass objects are made of a pre-mixed glass of poor quality which is lacquered with a substance that makes it look shiny. This ‘lacquer’ washes off. It’s probable that the temporary reflective lacquer is not good for our health if ingested. Water can easily penetrate this cheap glass and leave calcium deposits that do not wash off. Imported glass weighs considerably less than what well-made glass should weigh. It’s cheap…and disposable.
Keeping the Art of Glass Alive
A few real glass houses still remain in the world today. Steuben (American), Salviati (Italian), Iittala, Kosta Boda (Scandinavian), and a few more, have all survived the 20th Century. Fine glass house items can be found at the upper-crust retail stores and boutiques. Expect to pay a fortune…and it is usually worth it.
The Pilchuck glass art school, created by Dale Chihuly, is renovating the studio art glass industry of the 1920s – 1970s and producing fabulous new artists. New studio glass artist’s work is made with quality and ingenuity (it’s made the old fashioned way) and can be seen in galleries around the world. Contemporary studio glass is very expensive due to today’s high energy costs and other high costs of living. The new innovations resulting from the new era studio glass movement is mind-popping and well worth the investment…if you have thousands to spend.
Save Money and Energy on Quality Products
Buying old beautiful glass for décor or gifts saves money and energy. Antique (glass over 70 year old), vintage (40 to 70), and retro (20 to 40) glass objects can be purchased at a fraction of what the same glass would cost if it were made today.
Old glass is of better quality and less expensive. And as a plus for everyone, there’s big savings in energy whenever you buy vintage glass instead of new. The incredible amount of energy needed to make the glass of days gone by has already been spent. New studio glass must be heated and worked by hot furnaces in today’s energy strapped world. Buying new glass means you are buying products made with new energy, 99% of it produced by China, a country that already uses far too much energy and produces a massive amount of pollution.
Buy distinctive and beautiful old glass. You’ll be happier. Your item will be very unique, will gain in value, can be passed down to your children and will cost less and be of better quality than retail glass of today. To top it off, you’ll be doing a bit to conserve new energy…and every little bit helps.