Steuben Aurene

This year a beautiful Steuben Blue Aurene vase adorns our annual postcard.  And if you’ve ever stopped by our booth – you know we LOVE Steuben Aurene Glass.  But just what IS Steuben Aurene Glass?

Let’s start here:  Aurene glass was made by Steuben Glass Works – which was an American art glass manufacturer.  The company was founded in 1903 by Frederick Carder and Thomas G. Hawkes. 

Gold Aurene Vase

You might know the name Hawkes – he was the owner of the largest cut glass firm in Corning, New York.  As for Fredrick Carter – he was the head designer for Stevens and Williams (based out of England) and when they passed him over for a promotion, Hawkes convinced him to become the artistic designer, production supervisor, and marketing director of the new Steuben Glass Works factory – located in Corning, New York – in the county of Steuben (pronounced with the accent on the last syllable) – hence the name! 

When Carder arrived, he immediately began to produce crystal blanks for the artisans at the Hawkes factory to cut – which ensured his success.  But his passion was colored glass – and in 1904 he invented Gold Aurene.

The name Aurene comes from the Latin word for gold and the English word sheen.  It is produced by spraying clear malleable glass with a metallic chloride – and then heating it in a patent-protected process – which caused the glass surface to “crackle into millions of tiny lines that reflect light like a layer of oil floating on water” — creating a luminous and iridescent finish.  In 1905 Carder added additional colors including cobalt blue, green, red and brown.    

blue aurene

Around the same time Tiffany Co. was producing a similar iridescent glass called Favrile.  Both Carder and Tiffany thought “their” recipe or process was the victim of corporate espionage and took one another to court.  The judge personally went and observed both “secret” processes and found that while the glass looked similar – the methodology used to create Favrile and Aurene glass were indeed very different.   And if you take the time to feel the finishes – you can tell the difference yourself. 

We have both Steuben and Tiffany pieces on our table.  But to be honest – Steuben Aurene is our favorite.  You should stop by and test feel it for yourself! 

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Show Season is About to Begin!

Are you ready?  We almost are.  Just some few last minute details to complete then we’ll be ready to roll out the welcome mat!  Remember, our first show is just 9 days away in Spirit Lake, Iowa in the Expo Building at the Fairgrounds.  We look forward to seeing your smiling faces there!

Shake It Off!

A small fender-bender adds up to $5k

I haven’t been in an accident since I was a teenager…  So getting hit was quite a shock.  But I think it was worse for the young woman who hit us.   

But here’s the good news:

  • No one got hurt.
  • The other driver took full responsibility.
  • The Traverse was still drivable.

So all we had to do was wait (45 minutes) for the police to show up to write a report.  And file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.  While we waited we got to know the young woman who was driving the other car.  She’s 17, just learning to drive and made a rookie mistake.  I think that’s happened to all of us.  And before we finished up with the business side of the accident we met her sister, her mother and her boyfriend — all who came to support her!  Pretty nice, huh?!  

By 8PM Friday night we were finally back on the road and headed to Oklahoma City.  We had another little adventure that night at the hotel involving a different young lady — dressed in a very tight, very small black dress coming out of a hotel room.   But I’ll leave the details of that story out of our G-rated blog!   

The next day was Saturday — and I have to admit that it was not our best day.  There wasn’t a problem with the people we met that day or the places we visited.  I just think we were still a little shook up from the day before and some of the fun had worn off.  So after one stop at 23rd Street Antiques where we purchased a lovely flow blue pitcher and a Blue Aurene Steuben vase we headed back north.

Sunday we stopped by the Overland Park Antique Show.   Wow.  Okay let me say that again.  WOW!

  • Okay, it cost me $6 bucks a person to get in. 
  • And Yes, there were only about 50 vendors. 
  • BUT Talk about high end.  I’ve always said WE carried high end, but these vendors REALLY had HIGH END
  • AND  the vendors were willing to deal!  

We saw more Tiffany, Steuben, Loetz, Pairpoint, Flow Blue and Brilliant Cut Glass at this show then we’ve seen in ALL OF OUR BUYING TRIPS PUT TOGETHER.  It was magnificent!  And as I walked the aisles I kept finding things that took my breath away.  Honestly — this show is worth the drive — even if all you are going to do is ooh and aah.   The vendors were VERY knowledgeable and the education itself was more than worth the door fee!

Don't Let the "American Gothic" look fool you. These two are a HOOT!

I have to admit at first glance we assumed everything was going to be out of our price range.  WE WERE WRONG.  Yes, there was a lot of high end art glass.  And high-end art glass is not cheap.  But we found that the majority of the vendors were very reasonably priced.   

Mom found out that this was the place for a Good Deal and a Good Time!

We also assumed that prices would be “firm” in this kind of venue.  Once again, WE WERE WRONG.  We found that with very little haggling we were able to negotiate a discounted price. 

This show was GREAT.  And no doubt about it…we WILL BE BACK in 2011!

So that’s the story of our 2010 Fall Buying Trip. 

  • We spent 5 days on the road together.  
  • We opened the door to build relationships with 4 more dealers. 
  • We learned a ton. 
  • And we purchased 97 new items.   

All-in-all, even with the Wham Bam  I think it was a valuable way to spend our time and money!

Wham Bam!

Yep — It’s been an adventure!

Keepers Antique Mall

We spent Thursday in Missouri.  The day started with breakfast.  We found a “joint” outside of Harrisonville that had a pork chop breakfast special.  Awesome! 

At 8:45AM we followed the staff into Keepers and started shopping.  It was a nice first stop.  We picked up four candlewick dinner plates, some salts and a great Geisha cobalt chocolate pot set.    Then just around the corner we found a HUGE Blenko vase at Trade Fair.  

A short drive down I71 took us to Faithful Peddlers in La Mars.  What a wonderful place — and the owners are AWESOME.  This shop has two floors and Mom decided she was going to start up stairs.  And of course, she found the good stuff including a Victorian Brides Basket and a nice RS Prussia bowl.   On a personal note — I found a very unusual Spaghetti Santa Nodder — and NO, it is not for re-sale.

We found ourselves having pancakes in Joplin, Missouri on Friday morning. 

  • Mom tried pecan cinnamon
  • Dad had one pinapple pancake and one peanut butter pancake
  • And I went with an old stand-by — blueberry pecan

But by 10AM (based on a recommendation from the good folks at Faithful Peddler) we were roaming the aisles at Southside Antiques.  Three hours later we had two more boxes to  put into the truck that included:

  • Red Behemian Cut Glass
  • Vaseline
  • American Fostoria
  • Viking
  • Fenton
  • Loetz 

Hidden Acres

Then based on another recommendation we headed off to Hidden Treasures.  This is a neat little one-owner shop.   He specializes in crystal, colored EAPG and Asian-ware — and while he didn’t have any moriage — during the hour we spent there I learned a ton! 

At that point we ran out of recommendations — so we went back to my internet research and decided to stop in Claremore, Oklahoma.  As we drove into town we found a bunch of stores.  After a quick drive-by we decided to stop in at the Hudson – Metcalf Antique Mall . 

Good decision!

I found Christmas presents for two VIPs.  And after a quick conversation they sent us down the road to Tulsa to the I44 Antique Mall.  Specifically, they suggested that we visit “Marcia’s” booth.   And for the first time during the entire trip I wished we had more money for inventory. 

Can you guess what Marcia is holding?

Marcia had Gold Aurene, Tiffany, Irridescent Bohemian. Cameo Glass, Brides Baskets, RS Prussia,  Victorian Vaseline, Blenko, Mary Gregory ..do I need to continue?

With an hour to go before closing we identified our “like-to-have’s” — prioritized the items — and chose a cut-off point.  Unfortunately I think I’m going to remember the Blenko we left behind.  Then after a full day we headed off to dinner. 

The next thing we knew — Wham Bam — a young driver smacked into my truck!

Bohemian Iridescent Art Glass

Last week we picked up a couple of new pieces of art glass.  When we made the purchase — we assumed they were Loetz vases.  But like always — we dug in to do our research.  A couple of clicks later we found out that we had purchased pieces that belonged in the Bohemian Iridescent Art Glass family — but that they were not all Loetz pieces.  So what is Bohemian Iridescent Art Glass — and how is it different from Loetz?   

Loetz Aeolus 1902

Some of the big names in American Art Glass would include Tiffany and Steuban.  But North America was not the only innovative place in the world.  And during the Art Nouveau period — there were some fantastic glass designers in and around Czechoslovakia.  This body of work is called Bohemian Iridescent Art Glass.  Most of these pieces are NOT marked — and many dealers mis-identify the entire genre by calling it Loetz.  But just like not every piece of Aurene glass is a Tiffany — not every piece of Bohemian Iridescent Art Glass is a Loetz.  Other master designers included Kralik, Rindskopf and Pallme-König.   And their work is just as significant and beautiful as Loetz — just less expensive. 

So how do you tell the difference?

I’d start by going to www.loetz.com  This site does a great job of identifying the surface treatments and decorations that the various designers used.  Then I’d visit Loetz and Glass.  The pictures on this site are VERY helpful.  Finally I’d check out the resource list that Alfredo Villanueva-Collado has put together. 

So what did we purchase?

One Loetz.  A pair of matching Kralik vases.  And a Rindskopf!

Kralik Rough Crackle

Rindskopf Pepita 1900-1905