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.
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.
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!