Blenko glass is a renowned type of hand-blown glassware with a rich history dating back to 1893. Over the years, it has gained a loyal following of collectors and enthusiasts. However, with its popularity, the market has seen its fair share of replicas and imitations. If you’re interested in acquiring genuine Blenko glass, it’s crucial to know how to distinguish the real deal from the fakes. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of identifying authentic Blenko glass, ensuring you make informed decisions when adding these beautiful pieces to your collection.
Blenko glass has been a symbol of American craftsmanship and artistry for well over a century. The company’s legacy of hand-blown glass pieces has left an indelible mark on the world of glassware. As a collector or enthusiast, knowing how to identify authentic Blenko glass can be a rewarding experience, as it allows you to appreciate the true beauty and value of these remarkable creations.
- The Importance of Identifying Authentic Blenko Glass
- The Blenko Catalog: Your First Reference Point
- Transparency: A Telltale Sign of Authenticity
- Tooling Marks: A Hand-Blown Signature
- The Pontil Mark: A Rough Finish
- No Mold Lines: Confirming Hand-Blown Glass
- Stickers or Signatures: Authenticating Blenko Glass
- The Organic Form: Blenko’s Unique Design Approach
- Seeking Expert Appraisal
The Importance of Identifying Authentic Blenko Glass
With Blenko glass being highly sought after and cherished by collectors, it’s not uncommon to find counterfeit or imitation pieces in the market. Being able to differentiate genuine Blenko from replicas is vital to ensure you’re making a valuable investment in your collection.
The Blenko Catalog: Your First Reference Point
One of the most reliable ways to verify Blenko glass is by referring to the official Blenko catalog. The company has meticulously documented its pieces over the years. Fortunately, you can access archival Blenko catalogs from every year dating back to 1950 directly on the Blenko website.
Transparency: A Telltale Sign of Authenticity
Transparency is a key feature to look for in most Blenko colors, particularly those produced between the 1940s and 1970s. Genuine Blenko glass will maintain an alluring transparency, which can help you distinguish it from less unique designs that may not possess the same clarity.
Tooling Marks: A Hand-Blown Signature
Blenko glass is entirely hand-blown, and one way to confirm its authenticity is to inspect it for tooling marks, bubbles, and striations in the glass. These slight irregularities are indicative of the glassblowing process and are usually absent in mass-produced items.
The Pontil Mark: A Rough Finish
True Blenko glass will have a pontil mark at the base. The pontil mark is a rough, slightly jagged area where the glassblower detached the piece from the blowing rod. It adds an authentic touch to the glassware and signifies its handcrafted nature.
No Mold Lines: Confirming Hand-Blown Glass
Unlike machine-produced glassware, Blenko glass will not have mold lines. Instead, you will notice the tooling marks mentioned earlier, which indicate that the glass was expertly shaped by skilled artisans.
Stickers or Signatures: Authenticating Blenko Glass
Many original Blenko glass pieces come with stickers or sandblasted signatures. However, there may be exceptions, especially for older pieces, where such markings might have worn off over time. Nevertheless, the presence of these signatures adds further authenticity.
The Organic Form: Blenko’s Unique Design Approach
Blenko glass was known for its artistic freedom and lack of adherence to rigid patterns. As a result, their glassware often features an organic form, which may sometimes resemble the designs of other manufacturers. Embracing this creative approach is part of what makes Blenko glass so distinctive.
Seeking Expert Appraisal
If you’re still uncertain about the authenticity of a piece, consulting with an expert appraiser who specializes in Blenko glass can provide valuable insights. These professionals can offer guidance based on their in-depth knowledge and experience with Blenko’s history and craftsmanship.
Identifying authentic Blenko glass is both an art and a skill. By considering factors such as the Blenko catalog, transparency, tooling marks, the pontil mark, the absence of mold lines, and any stickers or signatures, you can confidently determine whether a piece is a genuine Blenko creation. Owning and cherishing these hand-blown glass artworks connects you with a rich heritage of American craftsmanship and adds an exquisite touch to your collection.
Are all Blenko glass pieces signed or have stickers?
While most Blenko glass pieces come with stickers or signatures, some older pieces might not have them due to wear or other reasons. It’s essential to look for other signs of authenticity in such cases.
Is Blenko glass still being produced today?
Yes, Blenko Glass Company is still active and producing beautiful hand-blown glass pieces.
Can I find Blenko glass in antique shops?
Absolutely! Antique shops and specialized glassware stores might have authentic Blenko glass pieces for sale.
What makes Blenko glass unique from other hand-blown glassware?
Blenko’s commitment to artistic freedom and the organic form of its designs set it apart from more standardized hand-blown glassware.
Are there any rare or particularly valuable Blenko glass pieces?
Yes, some limited-edition or one-of-a-kind Blenko glass pieces can be exceptionally valuable to collectors.