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tall cut glass vase hobstars and fans
CUT CRYSTAL or CUT GLASS are terms that are often used interchangeably with collectors. However, "Glass" and "Crystal" actually denote different ingredients in their material and certain variations in their production. For example, in addition to Silicon Oxide (SiO), the main ingredient in both, "Glass" contains Soda Ash (CaO) whereas "Crystal" incorporates Lead Oxide (PbO) to give it its brilliance and shiny properties. The term LEAD GLASS is frequently also used to refer to "Crystal". One of the most well-known companies that produced high-end Crystal is WATERFORD CRYSTAL, still in business and highly desirable with collectors and well-to-do clients alike. As known, the use of Lead is now quite controversial since it is associated with certain health issues and it is important to note that older Crystal had more of this ingredient present in the mix (at least 24%) while in more recently manufactured Crystal, Lead Oxide has been replaced with Barium, Potassium or Zinc Oxide. In general, almost all "Crystal" made after 1960s contains no Lead and should be safe to use with food or drink, but you should always check its chemical composition, if labelled, as many countries did not adopt these new safety standards until somewhat later, for example in some of the former Eastern Block European countries. Very old Lead Crystal was often mixed with as much as 30 - 35% Lead Oxide as in the case of BRISTOL GLASS.

In general, simple Glass was used for mostly utilitarian items such as Glass Bottles or ordinary household objects. In contrast, Crystal was reserved for higher-end items such as fancy tableware or goblets & stemware. One exception is BLOWN GLASS, which was also used in the form of Art Glass, Glass Paperweights, Glass Figurines and other similar decorative items. The main reason for the preference of using Crystal for fancier and more expensive items stems from the fact that the crystalline nature of Crystal, hence its name, especially if it has been cut correctly along its so-called "facets", reflects and refracts light in all sorts of beautiful ways with distinct rainbow colors and brilliance.

Over the years, there were several other types of Glass & Crystal that became popular, mostly due to specific historical circumstances when certain economic conditions dictated the use of recycled or less expensive ingredients for the manufacturing of glass. These include CARNIVAL GLASS and DEPRESSION GLASS.

PRESSED or MOLDED GLASS was used primarily for everyday use and was mass produced extensively, especially in America, as for example at FOSTORIA GLASS Co established in Fostoria, Ohio, around 1887 and who produced elegant Glassware & Glass Tableware until its final closing in the mid-1980s.

Similarly, Crystal or Glass was also mixed with other chemicals or minerals to provide for a very colorful representation of crystalline items, especially as used in Jewelry and fancy Tableware, for example AMETHYST GLASS, AMBER GLASS, CRANBERRY GLASS etc.

Glass & Crystal was also frequently adorned with metallic materials, especially silver or enamels. These produced stunning examples of artistic objects that had a quasi-utilitarian nature as well, a most important example being CUT OVERLAY GLASS or CRYSTAL. In the majority of cases, it was Sterling Silver that was overlaid on Glass or Crystal, and the overall composition spelled affluence for those that had them, usually on display. Cut Overlay Glass or Crystal nowadays fetches high prices at auction since the intrinsic value of the silver mountings adds significantly to the worth of each item. Additionally, the presence of any silver overlay on Glass or Crystal enhances its structural integrity and these items generally suffered less damage over the years.

For useful instructions on how to clean and preserve Glass or Crystal antiques, please see one of our free articles here.

Many examples of CUT CRYSTAL are shown below. These are from our Antiques Price Guides and can help in appraising your own antique Glass or Crystal treasures or collectibles.

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  • SWEDISH ART GLASS GROUP: 1) Edvin Ohrstrom
    Orrefors Ariel votive, etched ''Orrefors Ariel 213 ? Edvin Ohrstrom'', 2 7/8''. 2) Orrefors pedestal bowl, 4 1/4'' tall. 3) Palmquist Fuga bowl, made using centrifugal force, ... [more like this]
  • A Tiffany & Co crystal handled ice bucket
    along with a Orrefors art crystal bowl. Tiffany & Company ice bucket is etched on base ''Tiffany & Co'' and Orrefors bowl is signed on base ''Orrefors''. Condition: small ... [more like this]
  • A group of Orrefors and Steuben art glass
    animals Second half 20th century, comprising: two Orrefors, Sweden clear crystal rabbits, the first with ''Orrefors / Sweden'' seal sticker and etched to underside ''Orrefors ... [more like this]
  • Orrefors bowl, flaring form in clear glass
    with horizontal blue lines and rolled rim, engraved mark, 8"w x 3"h; with an Orrefors vase, cylindrical form in clear glass with etched design of anchor and rope, signed "Kustflottan, ... [more like this]
  • Orrefors glass vase, oval paneled form in
    clear glass with etched design of woman with birds, 5"w x 5.5"h; with an Orrefors vase, small flatted form in clear glass with etched design of child gazing at moon, signed, ... [more like this]
    WITH ORREFORS GRAAL VASE bowl signed - together with an Orrefors Graal Vase by Edward Hald of ovoid with internal fish and aquatic grasses signed ''Orrefors Sweden Graal Ari ... [more like this]
  • Two cut crystal bowls including Orrefors
    and Kosta. Orrefors has a blocked petal border design and is signed on base ''Orrefors LH 4384-12''. Kosta bowl has a traditional flower petal design and is signed on base ... [more like this]
    'TULPANGLAS' GOBLET VASES, CIRCA 1957 one in blue and clear glass, engraved ORREFORS/ EXPO/ N 310-57, 39cm high; one in ruby and clear glass, engraved ORREFORS/ EXPO/ N 312-57, ... [more like this]
  • Erika Lagerbielke (b. 1960) Vase for Orrefors
    Glass and a Book on Orrefors Art glass Sweden, dated 1998 Narrow-mouth vase in clear glass with cobalt and green underlays, a deeply cut band circles the circumference, ... [more like this]
  • (lot of 4) Associated Verlys and Orrefors
    crystal, consisting of a signed and dated Art Deco Verlys vase, executed in clear and fro... crystal, consisting of a signed and dated Art Deco Verlys vase, executed in ... [more like this]
  • Five box lots of crystal to include Orrefors
    crystal monkey, Brierley vase, Orrefors bowl and vases, Kosta vases, etched glas crystal monkey, Brierley vase, Orrefors bowl and vases, Kosta vases, etched glass vases ... [more like this]
  • Orrefors Crystal Decanters Pair: Pair of
    Orrefors crystal decanters with stoppers; measure approximately 11" high, 6-1/8" wide, and 2-1/4" deep, each. One with green Orrefors label, and one engraved Orrefors H 2495-121 ... [more like this]
  • Orrefors & Hadeland Crystal Grouping: 3
    pieces of moden Scandinavian crystal. Hadeland Atlantic vase, 10 1/4"H; Orrefors cut crystal bowl, 3 1/2"H x 4 1/4"-diameter; Orrefors Orion bowl, 5 1/4"H x 8 1/4"-diameter. ... [more like this]
  • ORREFORS Two glass pieces: Ariel bowl by
    Ingeborg Lundin, and Kraka vase by Sven Palmqvist. First engraved ORREFORS/Ariel No. 113H/Ingeborg Lundin; second engraved ORREFORS/KRAKA Pn. 349/Sven Palmqvist. 5" x 8 1/4" ... [more like this]
  • EDVIN OHRSTROM/ORREFORS Ariel glass bowl
    and vase. Both engraved ORREFORS/Ariel/Edvin Ohrstrom; bowl No. 1711E and with Orrefors paper label, vase No. 122A. 3 1/2" x 8" and 8 1/4" x 3 1/2" ... [more like this]
  • ORREFORS ARIEL VASE. Spectacular heavy Orrefors
    crystal vase has internal design of blue bubbles in consecutive and various sized rows. Bubbles are done in cobalt blue with clear outline. Signed on the bottom “Orrefors ... [more like this]
    blown glass charger by Olle Alberius (Swedish, b. 1926); with bold yellow oval and black stripe bands, engraved with a male nude figure and dots in the form of arrows; set ... [more like this]
  • 1144. An Orrefors Bowl An Orrefors, Sweden
    glass bowl in a contemporary abstract shape, etched on the underside "Orrefors 4552-13", measuring approx. 5-1/2"H x 7" x 7". 100/200 Sold: $46.00 ... [more like this]
  • 959. A Lot of Signed 20th Century Glass Items A
    lot of two modern pieces of art glass, consisting of a signed Steuben glass flaring shape bowl on pedestal with two applied side ornaments, measuring approx. 5-1/4"H x 7-1/4" ... [more like this]
    1) Signed Orrefors jadeite ruffle rim bowl, 6 3/4'' dia. 3 1/2''h. 2) Victorian Amerind pitcher, 5''h. 3) Signed Orrefors ? Rubin low cranberry glass bowl, 6'' dia. 4) Orange ... [more like this]

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