×

Milk glass is a popular collectible

DrLoriV.com
A milk glass rabbit game covered dish. Milk glass, which dates back to the 1500s, became popular as an alternative to more expensive porcelain, and has been a fixture in American homes since the 20th century.

The bright white milk glass bud vase that stood quietly on your mother’s kitchen shelf since the 1950s is actually an object with a history that dates to the Italian Renaissance era.

In fact, milk glass originated in the famous glass furnaces of Venice, Italy, and was introduced in the 1500s when objects were desired for their color and affordability. Milk glass was a cheaper alternative to porcelain, the highly sought after ceramic type that people wanted in Europe.

Mainly produced in China, porcelain’s bright white color and durable nature was all the rage with the Europeans in the 1500s and 1600s. To produce something similar to porcelain’s color and durability, milk glass answered a global need. Since porcelain was a highly regarded import product which the Europeans wanted badly, milk glass presented a new option for those middle and lower class collectors.

By the 18th Century, Americans collected Chinese porcelain — including famous figures such as George and Martha Washington — and used it for entertaining. The widespread interest in porcelain made the inexpensive and handsome look-alike objects made of milk glass a perfect alternative for collectors and salesmen alike.

If you want to start or add to a milk glass collection, check out online and traditional auctions, yard sales and estate sales. Also, vintage and antiques selling websites like eBay, Rubylane.com, Etsy.com and others present a great option for many collectors and resellers in search of milk glass pieces.

Some interesting aspects of milk glass feature characteristics like patterns, shapes, sizes and even nuances of color. My YouTube.com/DrLoriV videos show you how to tell valuable milk glass items and what they are worth.

Also, some of the popular patterns and designs of milk glass impact their value. For instance, figural rabbit- or hen-covered game dishes in milk glass are collectibles that date to the late 19th and 20th centuries. When it comes to milk glass, certain patterns, shapes, and styles are highly sought after such as pedestal planters, embossed pitchers with fruit, particularly grapes and apples, and flower motifs such as daisies, roses, and leaves, chalice cups, tapered bud vases and pairs of figural candlesticks.

Milk glass was used in homes since the 20th century in traditional and more recently innovative ways. For home décor, milk glass offers versatility and timeless look has helped the vintage objects retain popularity over the centuries. For instance, milk glass has retained its popularity because of its versatile style.

Planters and vases are the most popular types of milk glass objects. Milk glass pieces can range in value from $15-$25 for a small milk glass vase to hundreds of dollars to a large punchbowl set with matching cups in a highly decorative pattern in excellent condition.

Milk glass is often associated with weddings — white symbolizes purity — and with children. White milk glass items have been found to add style to wedding receptions and outdoor parties as well as nurseries and family rooms. Milk glass often makes an appearance during early summer when parties and specifically weddings require white bud vases for home and garden décor. White goes with anything and gives a fresh, clean look to any space.

•••

Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality Dr. Lori appears on The Curse of Oak Island, the No. 1 show on History Channel. She offers appraisals at public events nationwide and through her website at www.DrLoriV.com, on Ask Dr. Lori LIVE on www.Youtube.com/DrLoriV or (888) 431-1010.

NEWSLETTER

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *
   

Starting at $3.92/week.

Subscribe Today