Artifact Corner: Victorian Cranberry Glass Vase

Hi Everyone, and welcome back to another artifact corner. Today we will be looking at a beautiful cranberry glass vase from the Victorian period. The vase body is cranberry glass and a pumpkin or gourd shape with clear glass vines acting as the base which are also crawling up the sides. The vines are adorned with leaves and flowers. Cranberry glass exploded onto the scene in the Victorian period, so this was likely purchased by Fannie Delord Webb Hall for the home. Let’s learn a bit more about the history of glass, and also the history of cranberry glass.

Glass has always been found in nature. In nature, glasses are formed when sand and/or rocks, often high in silica, are heated to high temperatures and then cooled rapidly. Obsidian or volcanic glass, for example, is molten rock that has quickly cooled, becoming rock in a glassy state. Fulgurites, which are made when lightning strikes sand, are brittle tubes of melted sand. Tektites and Libyan Desert Glass are other forms of glassy rock created by the intense heat and force of meteorite impacts on the earth millions of years ago. The rst glass created by humans can be dated to about 4,000 years ago, when craftsmen working in Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, discovered the art of mixing sand, soda, and lime to make glass. Ancient Egyptians also made glass, and glass objects have been found in tombs across Egypt. The Ancient Romans, Chinese, Greeks, and Indians also worked with glass and created beautiful functional pieces.

The first piece of cranberry glass is likely the Roman piece known as the Lycurgus Cup made in the 4th century. Cranberry glass is made by adding gold salts or colloidal gold to molten glass. Tin, in the form of stannous chloride, is sometimes added in tiny amounts as a reducing agent. Cranberry colored glass basically disappears until the late 17th Century, and remained relatively uncommon due to how expensive it was to produce, they are using gold after-all. In the Victorian period, cranberry glass sees a massive resurgence. This is not because it became less expensive, but because the Victorian’s simply couldn’t get enough of it. The Victorians loved color! When we look at black and white pictures and lm from the Victorian period, it’s very deceiving. Victorian homes were a riot of color. Colorful wallpapers, colorful drapes, colorful tablecloths, etc. So, clear glass was simply not going to cut it for the Victorians. Cranberry glasses popularity continues even to this day, but, it’s still expensive, and mostly for decorative uses.

Our vase is in fantastic condition. There are no chips, cracks, or even scratches. It is in near mint condition. It is a reminder of how colorful and beautiful Victorian homes were, and maybe a reminder to all of us to add a little more color to our decor. We are so lucky to have this gorgeous piece in our collections. Thanks so much for stopping by!

The following music was used for this media project:
Music: Sunny Morning by MusicLFiles
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