Tiffany glass has remained some of the finest glass available for many years now. Understanding the quality and how to confirm authenticity are important for the collector of one piece or many. There are various Tiffany signatures which prove the authenticity of the glass, as does the distinctive quality of the pieces themselves.
The glass must be seen to be truly identified. Some pieces are signed L.C.T. (for Louis Comfort Tiffany) while others are signed L.C. Tiffany Favrile. “Favrile” is a trade name for Tiffany glass. Conversely, Tiffany Lamps are usually signed Tiffany Studios, N.Y. with a number, sometimes on a bronze plaque (on the rim of the shade) and usually on the bottom of the bronze base of the lamp. In many cases the number can be looked up in books such as “Tiffany, Bronzes and Lamps” by Robert Koch, and “Tiffany in Auction,” by Alastair Duncan. Tiffany also had a paper label, which was pasted on to the glass. However, many of these have been removed, and placed on to other objects, so buyer beware. Tiffany modeled his art nouveau glass after forms found in nature. The best examples of his glass are the Tiffany Flowerform vases. There is a wonderful selection of them in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The value and rarity of the glass objects (vases and bowls) depends on their color and the type of glass. The following colors are listed in order of rarity, starting with the rarest to the most common color: red, black, brown, blue and gold. As for the type of glass, decorated pieces have more value than the plain iridescent pieces.
The following types illustrate the variety of Tiffany glass:
|Cypriote Glass (rare)
Tiffany tried to capture ancient forms and decorations. Cypriote Tiffany glass has a finely pitted surface in imitation of ancient glass.
|Cameo or Carved Glass (rare)
Design created in cameo relief, glass is carved from two different colored glass layers.
Lustre Ware Iridescent glass
This is the rarest of his glass. It was Tiffany’s attempt to simulate the effects of volcanic forces on glass. The vases are free form, sometimes grotesque. They represent Tiffany’s conception of the energy and violence in nature and such embody early expressionism in glass.
|Paperweight Vases (rare)
Made by encasing a thick layer of decorated glass within a smooth outer layer.
|Aquamarine Glass (very rare)
Produced around 1913, made by embedding representations of aquatic plants or marine life such as fish, seaweed and sea urchins into an inner layer of glass, to give the illusion of sea water. The vases appear to have fish swimming in water, covering about two thirds of the vase.
|Agate Glass (rare)
This glass imitates striated stones such as agate itself. It was made by putting a number of variously colored opaque glasses into the same melting pot and heating them together. When the glass cooled it was polished or carved to reveal the colors and laminated patterns within.
|Tel El Amarna Glass
This was inspired by ancient Egyptian vessels from archaeological sites. They have bold symmetrical shapes with a matt lustre decoration, with a simple pattern at the neck.
Used for lamp bases, candlesticks and inkstands. Reticulated glass was made by blowing colored glass at high pressure into a cast metal or twisted wire framework, so that the glass bulged out through openings in the frame.
The term “common” simply refers to how many pieces are on the market. All Tiffany glass is, of course, valuable and stunning.
Linda Feuer specializes in Tiffany glass, unusual and rare vases and small Tiffany Lamps. All items that she carries are signed with an authentic Tiffany signature, and guaranteed as represented with a seven-day return policy. Her Web site is at WWW.uniquetiffany.com, e-mail is Lctiffany@icloud.com, phone: 914-693-4245. She can be seen by appointment in Westchester or Manhattan.