While cut glass has been produced for thousands of years, it reached a peak of popularity during the late 19th century in the so-called "Brilliant" period, which lasted until the early 1900s. Brilliant period cut glass, a popular wedding gift at the time, was heavy leaded glass, intricately cut with geometric patterns and prisms.

Cut glass became desirable because it reflected the light across the dinner table. During the American Brilliant period, it was referred to as "rich cut glass." It was very expensive and showed the social standing of the owners.

Most companies specialized in either making or cutting glass, and only a few did both. Some of the most prominent cut glass companies of the time were the Dorflinger Glass Company, Hawkes, the Libby Glass Company, H. C. Fry and Company, Strauss, and J. Hoare and Company. Each manufacturer had their own patented patterns made from a series of motifs, such as Hobstar, strawberry diamond, and punty cut. The rarest or most expensive patterns are Aztec, Panel, and Trellis.

Cut glass often came in sets. For example, decanters came with goblets and tumblers, candlesticks came in sets of two or four, and berry bowls came with six smaller bowls. Other cut glass collectibles include ice cream trays, casserole dishes, cake plates, and fingerbowls.

During the Edwardian period, cut glass became lighter, thinner, and engraved. The Brilliant cut glass was no longer as fashionable or desirable. Cut glass decreased in popularity during World War I, and with Prohibition, many companies, such as Dorflinger, went out of business.

Cut glass is very fragile and sensitive to heat. Collectors should also be wary of fake cut glass, which started to materialize in the 1980s. Authenticity can often be determined by a black light test.

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Recent News: Cut Glass

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Is this the end of Britishness?
The Guardian, September 15th

He and my mother were both from Fife and it was to Fife that we returned – gladly, for the most part, though my mechanic father found that the textile machinery he was paid to maintain was antique compared with that left behind in England. His side of...Read more

Antique toys
Observer-Reporter, September 13th

Sometimes an antique toy tells an almost-forgotten story. The Tammany Hall bank with a well-dressed man taking the penny is a criticism of corrupt politicians in New York City in 1871. A 1940s blond doll wearing ice skates probably is not recognized...Read more

Estate Sale Roundup: September 11-14: It's only rock & roll, and we like it.
Austin Chronicle, September 11th

Kitchen: cookbooks, Corningware, Pyrex, Anchor-Hocking, etc. flatware, knives, utensils, ceramica, china, pantry items; World Market stemware (new in box); leaded crystal and cut glass; crockery, jugs, and ceramics. ... Vintage newspapers and magazines...Read more

Antique children's toys tell long-forgotten stories
HeraldNet, September 11th

Tip: Repairs made to cut glass can be seen with a black light. It also will show most added plastic repairs. Look at where the foot, knob or handles might have been reattached. Many auctions have a black light available at the preview...Read more

Is this the world's most 'British' vacation?
CNN, September 10th

"Welcome to the birthplace of Winston Churchill and residence of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough," announces our host in a cut-glass accent. This 18th century Baroque masterpiece is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and despite a recent land-selling ...Read more

Architectural salvage
Lancaster Eagle Gazette, September 5th

Their five warehouses shelter thousands of antique pieces, doors and windows that have taken refuge in dimly lit aisles, like refugees seeking shelter from an ongoing war, hiding quietly, praying for an opportunity to return to the light of day. I love...Read more

Estate Sale Roundup: September 4-7: Vintage camera and Victoriana lovers ...
Austin Chronicle, September 4th

Men's vintage clothing: air force/army uniforms, caps, vintage motorcycle and beatle boots (size 7), and other manly necessities like lighters, smoking pipes, 45's, reel to reels, leather stuff, old pennies, and silver quarters. ... purchased in 1956...Read more

Pilot Club wraps up 62nd show and sale at arena
Huntington Herald Dispatch, August 24th

Marlene likes to collect cut glass, antique glass and vintage jewelry. Jerry said he collects beer steins and Masonic jewelry. Both were able to find something to pique each other's interest Sunday, they said. For Huntington residents Bob and Mary...Read more