Etsy Shop

Carnival Glass Collectors…Do You Have/Need These?

Hey everyone – how’s it going? Thanks for dropping by.

Today it’s going to be a singular post about my latest shop listing in Old Raven on Etsy. Check it out.

This is a set of six Carnival Glass berry bowls. Being solidly in the ‘older generation’ I knew at a glance what these were when I spotted them on a thrift store shelf. But, I suspect, there might be a few ‘younger generation’ folk out there that may not have been introduced to the beauty of Carnival Glass yet.

What is Carnival Glass? The single most unifying factor is that crazy wild iridescent glaze that looks like plain glass on an acid trip. I mean WOW – right? And what’s really wild…this stuff was made from 1908 to about 1925.

In a nutshell, this is ‘pressed’ glass to make the shape and then while it’s still hot, an application of metallic salts is applied and then the piece is fired one last time bringing out the ‘oil slick’ appearance of the glaze.

Each piece seems to have its own personality, too, as the glaze can inexplicably vary from one piece to the next.

And then there is the underlying color of the original glass itself. My berry bowls are ‘amethyst’, a soft purple color. I’ve put a flashlight underneath a bowl here so you can see the color clearly.

This is how they look without the bright light shining from beneath. But now you can really see the glaze again – isn’t this just the most amazing glass technique you’ve ever seen?

But why “Carnival” glass? This name really didn’t come about until the 1950’s and is a bit misleading. It’s true, some Carnival glass pieces originally were given out as prizes at carnivals and fairs – but the vast majority were not. They were purchases made by the hard working middle class of America who wanted to bring some exotic beauty into their homes.

Though Carnival Glass started out as “Iridill” by Fenton and was originally a product aimed at the wealthy, when it failed that market Fenton downshifted and began producing it for the ‘common’ class where such things as bubbles in the glass and little imperfections, were not fussed over but happily overlooked so that these bright cheerful beauties could be displayed in the darkest corner and still gleam in the barest light as many homes then did not have the brilliant light of electricity yet.

These berry bowls were made by Imperial in the Zippered Heart pattern. There were many companies and many, many patterns of Carnival Glass. The ‘base’ glass colors could be clear or variants on amethyst, blue, green red and amber. Fenton alone, produced over 150 patterns of Iridill. But by the late 1920’s, Carnival/Iridill Glass had run its course.

But it has certainly left a lasting legacy of beauty with a huge variety of colors and styles of pieces that range from purely decorative to items that can be used for serving, storing or displaying everything from water to delicacies.

The prices cover the same ranges, too. While you might find a piece at a yard sale for 75¢ – you could also pony up thousands for a rare piece (and sometimes those are the same thing so keep an eye out).

But for me, I’m very happy with my thrift store find and you can find it too – just follow the link to Old Raven to either fill in this missing set in your collection…or get started with your new collection now.

Thanks, as always, for joining me today. Stay Safe – Kriss

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