A glass vase with ruffled edges clear at top and green glass on the bottom

New to glass collecting? Well here is how I got started. I hope some of these tips help you on your way to becoming an expert, well at least someone who knows something about their particular pattern pieces.

First, I decided on a pattern. I found this could be done many ways. Maybe you saw some of your grandmother’s glassware that was passed down from her grandmother. Or you were looking on ebay and came across a pattern that would match your home décor. Or on a warm Sunday afternoon you took a drive thru the country and came across an antique store and something in the window caught your eye. That is how I started.

I parked my car and went into this quaint little shop and started looking around. You will find as I did, the owner of the store was more than willing to enlighten me on any piece I picked up. So when I asked about the piece in the window, I got my first informative lesson. There are many ways to start your collection but as I said first pick a pattern.

Next, pick a color. Glassware comes in all colors, amber, pink, blue, clear etc. However not all glassware patterns come in all colors. So pick a pattern and color you can find easily, at least when you are just starting out and want to get the hang of how to find pieces and at the right price.

Now do some research and find out if the pattern is easy to find or if the pattern you want comes in the color you want. The internet is probably the best and fastest way to do this in the beginning, however libraries have books you can look things up on. Antique stores, as I said are always ready to help.

Once you have decided on a pattern and color, and know if it is easily found you are ready to start your first full fledged hunt.

However Beware! Many patterns have been reproduced, copied, re-issued, or just be fakes. Just because it says it is something in the listing, doesn't make it so! Some sellers don't have a clue as to what the value of their pieces. This typically happens at flea markets or garage sales, where the sellers are just there to sell their wares. They may have picked up a set of dinnerware at a flea market and just want to turn around and sell it for a few dollars more than they paid for it. This could be a great deal for you if you are informed as to what you are buying. Or it could be just a set of old dishes you could get anywhere by the dozens. Know your stuff! Read about it on line, in libraries and books, before you make a purchase.

Sometimes sellers can make an honest mistake on what he is selling, so know your pattern and its history. Just because someone tells you something is what you are looking for, make sure you study the pieces and decide for yourself.

As I have learned the hard way in the beginning on several glass items I had purchased, here are some terms and their meanings:

  • Straw or Mold Marks - These are fines lines or cracks you may see in the glass. Look closely, if the line or crack does not go all the way through the glass and varies from piece to piece, it is a straw or mold mark. It is a flaw when the piece was manufactured. It usually doesn’t effect the sturdiness of the glass, but it could effect its value. If it’s a piece you have been looking for and it has your sentimental value in it go ahead and buy it, most people collect things because of sentimental value. The value you put on an item is up to you, only you know how much something is worth to you.

    Don't confuse these with crackled glass. Crackle glass is made to look like it has many little cracks in it. Kind of like how jeans can be bought with tears or holes in them.
    Crackled Glass
  • Flea Bites - Don’t laugh; this is a real name of a flaw in glassware. It is a nick or chip, the size of a flea bite usually on the rim or underside of the piece. If on the underside it doesn’t affect the usage of the item, just that you know it’s there. On the rim, it would be a noticeable flaw. Someone using the glass may cut themselves on it. So again, use your judgment on buying or using the piece.
  • Chips, Scratches and Cracks - These are terms that mean exactly what they say. The piece you are considering has a chip, a piece missing, or a crack, a break in the glass seen all the way through the spot of the crack. Check and see if you can see any scratches. These are three reasons not to purchase the item. It can not be used and it has lost much of its value.

The best advice I can give you, is to find a dealer you trust. Make sure you do business with someone that has a good reputation. Check their feedback, if you are buying online. Most sellers, as are people, are very honest, but there are those out there that just want your money. So before buying, research the item, the seller and the price.