Collecting Vintage Crackle Glass

Hi everyone! Today I’ll be talking about one of the most cheerful  collectibles I know: vintage crackle glass. I think it’s hard to frown around these pretty jewel-toned pieces, don’t you?

Related post: Vintage Crackle Glass Price Guide

a cool collectible vintage crackle glassVenetians developed the glass crackling method during the 17th century, but the crackle glass you see pictured in this post dates to about 1920-1960, and was made in America.

Crackle glass pitchers and other similar items–especially in the rarer colors, like red, cobalt blue, and amethyst–are quite collectible. Glass blowers make these vessels “crack” by dipping them in cold water, causing the crackle effect, and then submitting the piece to heat again, to seal the cracks.

collection of green crackle glassI have a collection of green glass lining my kitchen window. The three smaller pieces belong to that collection. The taller one will be part of the “instant” collection (as shown above), that I will list in my Etsy shop soon. (SOLD)

vintage amberina crackle glass vaseThe most popular colors include amberina (above), cobalt blue, amethyst, cranberry, ruby red, tangerine, and gray–some because they cost more to manufacture (ruby), others because they made less of that color (gray). Available.

Pair of beautiful vintage ruby red crackle vase vases/pitchers
Here are two examples of ruby crackle glass, both with applied handles. Right SOLD. Left available.

Handles on Vintage Crackle Glass Pitchers

close up of applied handle on vintage amethyst crackle glassAfter the body of the piece is blown and crackled, the glass maker blows a handle and then applies it to the side of the pitcher. This one has nice striations, which makes for a very decorative handle.

close up of vintage turquoise crackle glassHere’s an example of a simpler applied handle.

vintage blue crackle glass close up of handleI call this a “blob” handle.

Vintage green crackle glass with applied decorationIn addition to applying the handle, the glass maker has piped some decoration around the neck of this piece.

Pontil Marks on Vintage Crackle Glass

pontil mark on bottom of vintage crackle glassOne of the ways that you can determine if a piece is hand blown is to look for a pontil mark on the bottom. A pontil is a long metal rod upon which the glass is blown and shaped by the glass blower.

After the shaping is complete, the artisan breaks the piece off the pontil, leaving a kind of jagged circle of glass on the bottom. You can see it in the above photo.

vintage crackle glass pontil markAnother angle to see the pontil mark.

ground bottom of vintage crackle glassOn this green piece, no pontil mark remains. The glass blower polished is off.

ground bottom of vintage crackle glassPolishing sometimes leaves a circular indentation, which you can see better in this photo. This is called a ground pontil.

vintage crackle glass collectionSome of the best known crackle glass makers include Blenko, Pilgrim, and Mt. Washington Glass Companies. Some, like Blenko, continue to make crackle glass today.

I have fairly good luck finding these colorful collectibles at yard sales and like to pay no more than a dollar or two for the small-sized pieces I’ve shown you here today.

Pieces like this typically sell for $15 to $30. For a few years, Blenko sandblasted their name on the bottom of their pieces with a hand underneath; these are sought after and more valuable.

Vintage Crackle Glass vs. Reproductions

Keep in mind that China and Taiwan produce a huge amount of new crackle glass. How can you tell the difference?

The easiest way to tell is by the rim. The rim of genuine crackle is smooth to the touch (look back at the photos), while the rim of fake crackle has been cut and then ground a bit, so the edge is sharper and it is cloudy.

Some pieces of vintage crackle glass have pontil marks, as discussed above, while reproduction examples will not, since they are not hand blown, but rather made in molds. Furthermore, the color on reproductions is often painted or “flashed” on, which is not the case for true vintage pieces.

Most real crackle also gives a nice ring when flicked with your finger nail and positively glows in the light. Fake crackle is generally much less beautiful and does not ring when flicked.

Thanks so much for joining me for a closer look at these truly beautiful collectibles. There is nothing quite so delightful as a display of crackle glass arranged on a window sill, glowing like stained glass with the sun streaming through it. Have a great day!
 
 
Other posts you might enjoy:
A Cool Collectible: Enamelware
 

A Cool Collectible: Wade Whimsies

Bye for now,
scan of Diana signature

Would you pin me
for future reference πŸ™‚

Vintage blue and purple crackle glass pitchers with text: find out more about your vintage crackle glass right now!

Sources:

Treasure Chest 39
The Glass Museum: On Crackle Glass
Guide to Crackle Glass

 

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28 Comments

  1. Diana, These are lovely! Too bad we don't live near by–I think we'd have great fun thrifting together πŸ™‚ Blessings, Cecilia

  2. So pretty! I have not seen this while out picking….will have to keep an eye out for it now!

  3. Your collection is beautiful. I see this type of glass here and there, but never knew how to spot the fake imports. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.

  4. These are gorgeous – what a wonderful collection you have. Thanks for the tip on how to recognize the real beauties over the fakes!
    Marie@The Interior Frugalista

  5. I love crackle glass and have several pieces I've found at thrifts and yard sales. Fun info you shared.

    LInda

  6. These are just beautiful, Diana. I remember that my mother had a few blue pieces, one a footed bowl. Wish I had them!

  7. Hello from Thursday Favorite Things. Lovely collection. I love vintage items and it was great to learn more about how to identify authentic pieces.

  8. Diana, this wonderful post brings back memories of the crackled glass collection my late mother had for years…sweet memories. Each of siblings and myself took a piece for ourselves and children…donated the remainder for someone else to enjoy.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  9. Just found your blog yesterday and you are already my favorite! I love how you share what you paid for your vintage items and the price you got when you sold. I wish Etsy would give the price of sold items. I'm enjoying "this weeks vintage finds" and have read through #20 so far. Am looking forward to reading EVERYTHING! I also shared your site with my sister.

  10. Nice post! I have several pieces similar to yours that were my mother's. She must have bought them around 1960 or late 50s.

  11. Diana, this is all new info to me! Very interesting…and my son is a glass artist, so I will share this with him. Thanks for the history and tips…love learning something new! Thanks for sharing with RLTLT this week, too. : )

  12. Do you buy collections? We are transferring overseas and need to sell our collection of aproximently 175pcs we have been collecting over the last twenty years. Currently we are in Michigan.

  13. I love it too and I didn’t used to πŸ˜‰. Until I found a ruby red crackle. It is mounted to a cast metal base with floral relief on the mount. I just am mesmerized by the effervescent glow in the light. It’s a β€œshow stopper”. I really have to stop and marvel.

    I was a little disappointed to hear of the Asian productions that are out there. I have to say, this is too gorgeous to be an import. I’m thinking continental. It does, in fact, have an unfinished rim. It was not polished. It is ground. However the glass is somewhat thin. Is there an option to send images on your blog? Love to know what I truly have. Thanks in advance.

    1. It’s so nice to meet a fellow crackle glass lover, Judy! Your piece sounds beautiful. Please know that I am not a crackle glass expert πŸ™‚ So I would say that my comment about ground rims is just a “general rule.”

      If you would like more information about your piece, feel free to join my Facebook group, Your Vintage Headquarters. It is filled with fellow vintage-lovers and you can post photos of your items and get help identifying and/or valuing them. Hope to see you over there!

  14. You know that I LOVE me some glasses. your ideas and creativity are always inspiring me. Thanks for sharing.

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