Blog - Grand Auctions

Glass Paperweights

glass paperweight

Glass paperweights are avidly collected worldwide. The earliest and most sought after examples were produced during the 1840s by the three leading French companies Baccarat, St. Louis and Clichy. Out of these, Clichy paperweights tend to be considered by many to be the finest and hence are often the most expensive. The best Clichy paperweights were manufactured circa 1846 – 1852. However, Clichy paperweights are not only difficult to source but can prove to be difficult to identify due to never being dated and only signed with the letter 'C' being subtly integrated within the pattern.

'Millefiori' technique

Paperweights are usually made by placing small pieces of coloured glass rods or canes in a mould and then setting them within clear glass. One very popular technique known as 'millefiori' involves densely packing together canes cut to resemble tiny flower heads. There are several ways in which the flowers can be arranged such as carpet ground, close concentric, patterned or scattered. Baccarat is usually most associated with the millefiori technique and in fact further embellished this by incorporating silhouettes of animals, birds, and more rarely arrowheads, shamrocks and stars within the arranged floral canes. Most paperweights are between 2-4 inches in diameter. Early, smaller examples can only occasionally be found and hence are highly sought after.

Key manufacturers

France: Baccarat, Clichy, Pantin, St Louis and St. Mandé. René Lalique also made some fine examples. America: New England Glass Company (NEGC), Boston & Sandwich Glass Company, Mount Washington Glass Company. Great Britain: George Bacchus & Sons of Birmingham, Paul Ysart, Richardsons, and early Caithness examples from Scotland. Also some Bohemian and Venetian paperweights are fairly sought after.

If you have any glassware that you would like to sell then please contact Robin Newcombe, general valuer at Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent.

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