Cut Victorian Glass

In England during the second half of the 18th Century cut glass/lead crystal decanters and wine glasses were becoming increasingly popular. The desire to have lead crystal on one’s dining table projected a sign affluence and was also an opportunity to exhibit your latest acquisitions to your dinner guests. With candelabras on the table the crystal glasses looked amazing. They sparkled like diamonds against a backdrop of candlelight and this really exhibited the crystal off to their best advantage.

The English lead flint glass was introduced by George Ravenscroft in the late 17th Century. At the early stage of their development the glasses would often bristle with jagged points meaning they couldn’t be handled how they were intended to be. Export in glass grew and buyers from further afield wanted to share in the profits from the market.

Waterford Crystal Glasshouse was set up in 1783. George Gatchell who took over Waterford in 1848 decided to exhibit his wares in an exhibition. The ostentatious centre stand was a banqueting table with forty cut dishes and elaborate pieces. However, before the exhibition closed its doors for the last time George Gatchell had been declared bankrupt and the glasshouse sadly closed down.

Glassware was tax-free between the years 1780 and 1825 enabling a large proportion to be sold competitively on the far side of the Atlantic and other countries. Around 1676, Ravenscroft found a way to make the glass more brilliant in appearance by adding lead oxide (red lead). Glass containing lead oxide is noticeably heavier in the hand than other varieties. Unfortunately, those that worked in these glasshouses before the advent of health and safety were handling materials such as red lead and tin oxide. These were detrimental to their health and the average life expectancy was no more than 55 years.

During the Mid-19th Century the pressed-glass process was used to manufacture glassware. This resembled cut glass but at a fraction of the cost leading to a decline in the demand for the original glass. Today much of the cut glass is partially moulded and then finished at the wheel. This eliminates the expensive work of marking out the design and making the rough cut. I am pleased to say that cut glass is making its come back and we are seeing more people polishing their cut glass for dinner parties.

There are few ways you can tell if you have lead glass. These are the age and weight of the glass. A little trick of the trade is to get a spoon and tap the rim of the glass. If it rings like a bell then it has lead crystal content. However, if the sound is dull then it does not contain any crystal.

The inclusion of at least 24% lead oxide in the composition is required by law for crystal to be called full lead crystal. The lead lends brilliance and weight to the product.


Reproduction of machine made dovetail joints

dovetail-jointsAn interesting fact that many people would not know.

Dovetail joints, named due to their resemblance to the bird’s tail.

The drawing below shows joints that are machine made found in vintage/modern furniture. If dovetail joints are on antique furniture they would not be so precise and a lot thinner. This is one method of identifying antique furniture.

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Torquay Devon Mottoware

Vintage Torquay Devon Mottoware Cornish PastyThis is a very rare piece of Aller Vale pottery made in the early part of the 1900s. These pieces are highly collectable and were made for the Cornish tourist market and most never survived as once given to a family member or friend they were tossed to one side, got chipped or put in a cupboard and forgotten. Now we have a Torquay Society that is both a collectors club and a reference site, great site for someone who wants to start collecting. This is exactly what I referred to, now I have one of the biggest collections of motto ware, and im still collecting but I now look out for the rarer pieces.

The design of this piece is called “Scandy” which is the name given for the swirls and the colours its made from cornish clay. If anyone has any Torquay ware let me know and ill tell you something about it.

The cornish pasty is the most collectable, so if you do ever come across one at a car boot ‘going for a song’ snap it up  🙂 

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Bringing the shine back to glass Glass Vaseobjects

Today I’d like to bring you a tip on how to clean antique and modern glass.  As you will often find, over time glass becomes cloudy and water stained and very dull looking.

Immerse your glass in warm water with a (yes) Steradent tablet and leave overnight to soak.  The next day rinse and dry with a very soft cloth and it will sparkle as new; great for cut and crystal glass!  Steradent tube

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Launch of new website

Hi all

Studio valuations logoI have just rebranded my company from Jantiquities to Studio Valuations which has a very contemporary look with lots more features. 

As well as antique/collectable experts, we are very lucky to have amongst our team a militaria valuer/historian whose in-depth knowledge spans over 30 years. Not only will he be able tell you what your military item is worth, you will also find out the history behind it.  That’s what I love about my profession, you get to hear why an item has sentimental attachment. There is always a story to be told, and with our knowledge of antiques, your antique/collectable will live on through generations to come.  You may also have found something at a car boot or fair and want to know its true value and something about it.  

I will also be doing a regular blog on how to care for antiques and also what is currently in vogue, so do look out for further blogs.