For most of us in the vintage reselling/antique dealing biz there are things we will always buy–even when we know they are not on trend, may not be worth much in today’s market and may take a while to sell. Old, beautiful cut crystal is one of mine. My kryptonite. And honestly I can’t explain it. I am not a fancy person, but there is something about old crystal that draws me in. Perhaps it’s the craftsmanship–all that time-consuming, expert skill to make all those cuts. And this heavy bowl had it in spades. It was just lavish with over-the-top gorgeous detail and likely made in the American Brilliant Period (ABP) between 1880 and 1925.
Yup, this was a good one. I clasped it to my chest (no cart) as I looked for other treasures in my neighborhood thrift store. It was the only thing I found that day, but I was thrilled nonetheless.
So is my bowl antique and possibly of the American Brilliant period or is it a newer cut piece or a reproduction?
I put on my detective hat and went to work trying to figure it out. First I did the ping test (definitely crystal) and weight test (good heft, over three pounds as it turns out). Then I looked at the motifs. My bowl featured all of the older, more traditional cuts including crosshatching, beading and hobstars.
Then I looked at the quality of the cuts. Did the points of the stars meet up? Were the cut motifs symmetrical or slightly off center? (Some of the smallest cross-hatch areas on my bowl are not consistent.) Did the sawtooth rim follow ABP style? (Yes!)
Now interestingly the bowl below was featured in a YouTube video as being a good example of an ABP piece, but it seems contradictory to other research I’ve done. The teeth are pointed and uneven and the stars at the top are not cut consistently (some are closer to the edge than others) and their “arms” do not always connect. And, as you can see, the “dots” or “canes” are not a consistent size and shape. Hmmmm.
Here’s a blurb from the RealorRepro website that refers to crystal…
The most important clues to a possible reproduction are: 1) grooves left by a diamond wheel; 2) lack of normal wear inside and out; 3) teeth cut to sharp points; 4) shapes that were never made during the ABP; 5) blanks with illogically thick areas; and 6) obvious flaws in the blank and irregularities in patterns, and 7) incorrect fluorescence. Keeping these basic points in mind should help you identify most cut glass reproductions in the market today.
While I need to do more research and will head to the library to do that (I’m hoping to find the pattern and maker), I feel confident that mine is an older piece and likely from the ABP timeframe. I did find one platter on Mercari in the same pattern (shown below), but the owner didn’t have that information either!
I’ll be honest, I want to keep this, but I put on my big girl pants and listed it…but I will enjoy it till it sells! It really is a stunning piece.
What’s your kryptonite??