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What to look for in glassware - 3 tips from Trish

Patricia Girot - Sunday, September 29, 2013

When looking for vintage glassware in collectibles or second-hand stores, try looking for quality pieces AND bargain prices.

With this in mind you can break them and not worry about it because of the cost ($1 per glass!). To get some real bargains and beautiful to boot, look for these characteristics:

  1. Look for a thin lip on the glass and delicate stem.
    This means the rim on which you drink out of the glass is delicate, rather than a bulky round. This indicates it is high quality and probably not mass produced. If you see lines anywhere in the glass, indicating that two pieces of glass have been pieced together, then it was made from a mold. Those are a dime a dozen, and aren’t so elegant. You can find plenty of cheap glasses without this obvious visual flaw, so pass them over.
  2. Buy in pairs.
    How many times have you broken a glass and been left with one elegant but lonely glass? Having one of a kind in glassware looks kind of funny unless they are obviously meant to look different on a table (like different colours of the same style glass, or different patterns or etches on the same style of glass). I like having at least two of the same, and then if you want, you can mix up three different pairs together on a table.
  3. Does your glass make a clinking sound?
    Lead crystal, which is heavy weighted and high quality, makes a chiming sound when clinked together. It also has a prism effect if you look at in the light. Bought new, lead crystal is pricey (upwards of $50 a glass) and is usually reserved for special occasions, but I once found a set of six lead crystal glasses at the thrift – stickers on – for two bucks each. Lead crystal made in Europe is the most sought after by collectors, though there is some controversy over the higher percentage of lead in it, which can be harmful.
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