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Vintage Culver Glassware Mardi Gras Pattern 22K Gold Jester Jewelled Drinking Glasses Vintage Culver Barware Mid Century Bar

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    Posted 10 years ago

    (9 items)

    Vintage Culver Glassware. Mardi Gras pattern. Including Culver Glassware history & pattern recognition information.

    Mardi Gras pattern Culver Glassware: 22k New Orleans themed drinking glasses. These gorgeous & rare 1960s gold jester rhinestone jewelled glasses, are of the flat gold pattern, with actual rhinestones, that is considered the rarest of this pattern.

    Mardi Gras Pattern History: The Culver Glass Company's first run of Mardi Gras pattern glassware was circa 1959 - 1962. The design consisted of flat gold leaf & glass jewels. It appears that there were very few of these made, yet they were sold in huge serving sets with 24 to 48 glasses. Variations of this pattern include the figures backed in Blue, Gold or Black.

    1962 - ? Saw the second edition, made of thick, textured / raised, shiny 22K gold and glass jewels. (these are my favourite)

    1969 - 1983?: This last edition was the most ornate, made with enamel colorful balls instead of the glass jewels. It appears the dates of production of these various versions or the Mardi Gras pattern, overlapped, yet the last version remained in production, into the early 80s in small sets of 4 production.

    There are a few variation in this pattern where you may see Blue, Gold, Black or even Green backing on the Gold figures. I have yet to discern how this correlates with dating, but it is a problem for me when collecting pieces to sell as sets and should be something to look out for if you are collecting and wish your pieces to match.

    The history of Culver Glassware: Oddly shrouded in mystery, Culver was founded in Brooklyn, NY in the late 30s by Irving Rothenberg. In the 1980s Culver ended its own glass production and started printing from glass blanks, mostly made in China, but also provided by American companies such as Libbey. Upon ending their glass making production the company moved to New Jersey and remained there until they closed in the early 90s.

    The secret process of heat firing 22k Gold to glass, died along with the last known member of the family that had been involved with the business, on that fateful date now known as 9/11.

    For the most part, Culver did not begin producing gold embellished glass until the late 50's and much of their pieces made prior to this time, are unsigned, unlabeled and often difficult to identify.

    In the early 60s Culver Glassware perfected the (still) secret process of high heat firing 22k Gold onto glassware, allowing for thick, textured, gold & rhinestone displays, that better handled the test of time.

    Wealth was abundant in the US in the late 1950s through the 1960s, and the time of the "two martini" lunch was well at hand. The over romanticized glitz of Hollywood and glamour of Vegas, created a new era of fine dining, both out and about and at home.

    Culver, as well as a few other glass pattern designers such as Georges Briard (who by the way, is not a person but a company name) created regal ornate "Baroque" barware patterns, emulating "Old World" Gothic and Medieval Architecture and business soared.

    With the release of the Valencia pattern, popularity exploded & soon Culver was considered THE wedding gift of the "Up and coming", becoming available in the finest department stores. The process of high heat firing 22k Gold onto the glass for permanence, was kept close to the vest by the family & employees.

    Into the 1970s, when sunken living rooms and shag carpet were king, demand for opulent cocktail service led to demand for equally opulent barware sets. Martinis in the home and at work were a common thing... even expected, and a less documented phenomena in Mid Century and early 70s design of "Gothic Revival" and "Old World" lavish styling was equally embraced with the sleek, Mid Century Modern / Futurist Atomic Age styles, more commonly associated with the time.

    Identifying Culver Glassware and Patterns: The facts about identifying Culver glass by mark, in order to indicate date of manufacture are highly & widely inaccurate on the internet. Pieces were signed in scrolling script from the 30s to late 70s, but not all of them and often only one key piece if sold in a huge set (which most of the most collected sets today, were originally sold in large sets).

    In the 80s block lettering became common, but I have seen 1980s pieces with the old scrolling signature as well. I have also sen the scrolling signature with INC at the end. A more accurate indicator is the addition of INC to the mark (be it block or script) lettering, which is found only on 80s to 90s pieces. Paper labels came into play in the mid to late 80s too, so its pretty much a crap shoot where signature is concerned, if you ask me.

    Signed or Unsigned Culver Glassware: Although some collectors prefer their glassware signed. It does not appear that the Culver signature on a piece, in any way raises its value or collectability. In fact, most Mard Gras pattern Culver Glassware pieces and other of the rarest and most collectible are unsigned, since they were most often sold in huge collections including Martini Pitcher and Ice Bucket, with only these two key pieces signed. (damned hard to find these, grab it if you see one)

    Dating Culver Glassware: As a side note, I consider the date that a pattern came into play, more important than when the item was actually created. Patterns such as Cranberry Scroll or Emerald Scroll were initially designed in the 1960s and therefor I consider them as Mid Century glass from the 1960s, regardless of if they were printed in the 1960s or 1980s.

    The only time an obvious difference may come into play between the same pattern made in the 60s or the 80s is if a pattern originally printed onto glass made by Culver Glass rolled into the late 80s when Culver started using pre made blanks. Many of the Libbey Glass made blanks are not of the same quality and it is immediately noticeable at first sight. The Libbey Glass pieces are all stamped at the bottom of the glass with the highly recognizable Libbey L. Regardless of this fact, the Libbey pieces are very rare, few and far between, making them quite coveted by the collecting purist.

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    1. inky inky, 10 years ago
      Really like these....:-)
    2. JToifel JToifel, 9 years ago
      These are beautiful glasses. Only today did I discover this glasses are collectible. I have eight old-fashion style glasses with the jesters and jewels that were given to me by my in-law years ago; back in the days she use to entertain friends and family during Mardi Gras. Recently, I cleaned out my china cabinet and became curious if these were worth selling. I was surprised to learn what I have today. However, it appears that the glasses were put in a dishwasher at one point of my in-laws ownership because the gold is crackled/bubbly in some places and does not display the full intricate design as in the pictures I have seen. Although all the gold and jewels are intact. I looked each glass over and unsuccessfully located any Culvar marks. Where is the Culvar mark on the glasses?
    3. clynn, 9 years ago
      As a Culver collector, I believe the script Culver logo with Ltd. added is an earlier mark than the Culver script logo by itself. Glasses marked with the Culver Ltd logo have blue or green backgrounds (inside the glass which is indicative of earlier patterned glasses than those with just a gold inside. Glasses made in the eighties and nineties were block capital letter CULVER logo and at some point USA and Made in USA were added. After the cessation of marking the glasses, paper logo stickers were used.
    4. JanuaryMoon JanuaryMoon, 8 years ago
      In answer to a question from a year ago. Many of the Mardi Gras pattern glasses are unsigned. This does not indicate anything or add or take away from the value of the pieces, although dishwasher damage certainly may!
    5. JanuaryMoon JanuaryMoon, 8 years ago
      Clynn, thought the same thing until I started selling Culver Glassware and "upped" my collection significantly. For the most party you are correct, but I have found all sorts of crazy variations and a set from the mid 80s, still in the box with the receipt, that goes against all I believed prior. I suppose items from the 60s could have sat in some stockroom and been sold in the 80s, but still I have found other wild inconsistencies to the script vs Ltd vs INC vs block lettering as well as the various colloration in the back of the gold figures or design
    6. clynn, 8 years ago
      January Moon, I couldn't agree with you more! Since posting my blurb six months ago, I too have found various inconsistencies with what I believed to be set in stone. The script Culver and copyright Culver Ltd script signature appear to be the oldest, but there are a lot of older Culver that wasn't signed at all. I have footed Valencia suburbans that I found in a 1962 Culver Glassware catalog (the ones that are tagged with being a cross between Valencia and Seville) and they are NOT signed. I have seen the Copyright Culter Ltd script glass all the way through 1976, and then other glasses from this era with a paper sticker. Recently a pitcher and glasses in the original box, with just the script Culver, but the department store gift card was dated 1965. So many variances! Sure wish there was more info published on Culver out there. But collectively, we can share our stories. Thank you for your reply. :)
    7. JanuaryMoon JanuaryMoon, 8 years ago
      Clynn Happy to share our info together. So sorry it took so long for my reply. Last year was a Heck of a year for me and I was not on top of this sight as I had planned. I hope to be much more active this year and appreciate sharing what I learn from others as well as learning from others. :)
    8. clynn, 8 years ago
      Your site doesn't accept pictures? Is there anywhere that you are a part of that we could post pics and have discussions? :) Thank you!
    9. Gillian, 8 years ago
      I am interested to know if you authored the original article/post? I have enjoyed going through this book, with many photos.

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