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The Beauty Of Green Glassware

Glassware collectors the world over are in tune to the varied and beautiful collections of glass that define certain generations. Glassware lines can actually act as a historical timeline, as we see the lines and colors metamorphose to reflect the changing times. There are glassware collections for all tastes and budgets – running from the conservative and clear to the funky and colorful. One such colorful line of glassware – and one that receives quite a bit of attention by collectors – is green glassware. Green glassware began to be produced in the 1830s; glass blowers achieved the green glassware’s distinctive color by adding uranium during the production process. Also known as Vaseline glass, green glassware – while green is color – is transparent.

Consumers were intrigued by the unique collection and its popularity soared. Of course the possible health effects of eating and drinking from glassware made of uranium did not go unnoticed. Researchers concluded that the levels of uranium present in the green glassware did not warrant much concern. However, later research yielded different results; it was found that water glasses made from green glassware did pose risk for uranium contamination. Subsequently, the collection of green glassware is largely for decorative purposes; most consumers would not think of exposing themselves needlessly to even small traces of uranium so this is not a line that is put into practical everyday use much any more.

Like many manufacturers of the time, production ceased during Word War II and the green glassware line would not reappear until the end of the 1950s. At this time the production method switched to the use of depleted uranium rather than natural uranium. There are companies that continued to make decorative green glassware and still do today. But the period pieces prior to World War II are most in demand for collectors. Finding green glassware can be tricky as the authentic pieces can look quite the same as any green colored glass. One way to check for authenticity – while not an exact science – is to take the glass into a dark area and expose it to ultraviolet light. Authentic glass should – in most cases – literally glow in the dark from its uranium content.


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