Discontinued Collectibles Guide

Collecting Glass Paperweights

Collecting Glass Paperweights

Glass paperweights, like so many collectibles, fall into several different categories, here determined by the patterns and colours within the glass body. This is ideal for collectors wishing to specialise in a particular type or category. Even the eclectic collector with a passion for collecting all kinds of paperweights will find that dividing the collection into categories can be helpful in cataloguing.

Life is never quite that simple though, especially in the world of collectables! Whilst the type of artwork within the paperweight determines category, some mixing of different types of work is common, as a look at the categories will show.

We’ll start with the Millefiore style: "Thousand flowers, " in Italian so called because the pattern is built up using lots of tiny, very fine canes which are actually created from coloured rods, usually forming small flowers. They can also form letters, commemorative dates perhaps the year of manufacture. Whatever takes the artist’s fancy. Its endless possibilities mean that millefiore work is often incorporated in paperweights of other categories.

Lampwork paperweights’internal patterns are created using a gas torch, the "lamp". Little pieces of coloured glass, shaped into animals, butterflies, flowers or fruit, are arranged into attractive pictures within the clear glass dome.

Sulfide is a category of paperweight often produced to commemorate some event or a prominent person. Though their popularity peaked during the early days of glass paperweight production prior to 1845, they are still made. Within the glass dome sits a finely detailed ceramic portrait or medallion rather like a cameo brooch.

Swirl describes a paperweight with an internal design made up of different coloured opaque rods which radiate like curved or straight spokes from a millefiore floret.

We find millefiore yet again in Marbrie paperweights. These feature bands of colour which lie close to the upper surface of the glass and plunge down to the bottom of the weight in a pattern of loops.

The Crown paperweight again uses millefiore, this time in the form of alternate ribbons of white and colours, twisted together as they radiate out from a floret of millefiore in the crown of the dome and down to the base where they come together again. The design originates from the factory in St Louis, France, one of the first makers of glass paperweights. Its popularity has never faded.

These are just the main broad categories of glass paperweight designs. There are further divisions by size, place of origin etc. All are highly collectable and even the most avid collector is unlikely to run out of scope.

The following is a list of live auctions for "Paperweights Glass" currently listed on eBay. Hover the mouse cursor over the current price for details of postage and packaging. If you would like to see more information on a particular piece and maybe even bid on it, simply click on the item description to be magically whisked away to the wonderful world that is eBay. Alternatively you may use the search box to look for a specific piece for your collection.

Please also check out the Paperweights Glass Books, Related Dealers and Useful Resources listed at the end of this page.

Useful Resources

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