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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American Cut Glass Association

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Recent News: Cut Glass

Source: Google News

Bargains still out there for knowledgeable, lucky collectors
Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 23rd

Q: I have quite an extensive collection of American Brilliant Period cut glass that I started collecting when I was about 16 years old. I'm now 74. I know it has lost a considerable sum since the beginning of this century. Do you think the value of my...Read more

Antiques & Collectibles: Bride's baskets continue to attract collectors
Press of Atlantic City, May 22nd

Question: Years ago, my late mother-in-law gave me some antiques she inherited, including a two-piece silver-and-glass object she thought was a bride's basket. One piece is a fancy 12-inch-high, 11-inch-wide silver basket-shaped holder with an upright ...Read more

Jon Hammond: Antique inkwells
Tehachapi News, May 21st

The Tehachapi Museum has inaugurated its new “Community Case” with a special collection of antique inkwells and other ink and writing related objects. The program is designed to feature vintage collectibles from Tehachapi area residents. “We wanted to ...Read more

White elephant sale helps scholarships
Half Moon Bay Review, May 21st

They include housewares, cut glass, vintage china, an adult bicycle, dog cages and leashes, boots, artwork, Disney collectibles, a fondue set and clothing. At 2 p.m. during the event, shoppers will be able to fill grocery bags with items left by that...Read more

Skill, a bit of luck needed to discover treasures
Wausau Daily Herald, May 21st

Q: I have quite an extensive collection of American Brilliant Period cut glass that I started collecting when I was about 16 years old. I'm now 74. I know it has lost a considerable sum since the beginning of this century. Do you think the value of my...Read more

Pushing your buttons
Bismarck Tribune, May 20th

My mother's button jar was a riot of color. She had yellow buttons shaped like daisies, big pink pearl buttons, blue cut-glass buttons, self-covered tweed buttons. She had buttons in all shapes, colors and sizes. And not just one of each. ... But the...Read more

Treasures can be found in unexpected places
Tyler Morning Telegraph, May 18th

The most popular type was “colored cut to clear” glass. American Brilliant cut glass has gone down in value partly because copies now can be made in Europe for much less money. The older, heavy-cut glass is out of style, perhaps because it requires...Read more

Knowledge, luck part of picking up bargain treasure
Columbus Dispatch, May 17th

The older, heavy cut glass is out of style, perhaps because it requires hand washing. I wish I could see into the future, but so many uncontrollable factors influence price. Like any antique, the prices may go up or down, and it usually takes about 25...Read more