how to identify real stained glass

How to tell if stained glass is real? (Quick Tests!)

People need to know how to identify the legit stained glass. There are various types of fake stained glass in the market.

A trained eye can distinguish a real stained glass from a fake one. What about the uninitiated? Here are some quick tips I gathered from my fellow crafters.

How to identify antique stained glass?

Antique stained glass is valuable for a reason. Antique items are plagued by people that look to scam people. So it is necessary to distinguish antique stained glass from fake ones.

Types of antique stained glass

There are various types of stained glass based on the style and when they were made. Let’s look at their characteristic features.

Based on design

Art Nouveau‘ type of stained glass has curves in its design and such glasses were made from 1890 to 1910. This glass is held in high regard by the stained glass crafters.

‘Art Deco’ is a type of stained glass that has geometrical design, i.e., triangles, etc. This type of stained glass was made in the late 1920s or 1930s.

Glass Type

You can tell the age/authenticity of stained glass by looking at the glass that’s used. If the glass is opalescent(has more than one color), it is probably made after 1880.

If green-colored glass called the ‘slag’ is used to make the stained glass, it’s probably made in the early 1900s.

Note: Get help from your local library to know about the history of stained glass. You can also contact those people who repaired that stained glass to know about it.

If you’re still unsure, you can show the particular stained glass to an experienced person near you. They’ll be able to identify it by its design, glass type, etc.

How to tell stained glass from plastic?

If you can distinguish the sound of glass from that of plastic, you can easily tell plastic from glass by tapping it with your fingernail.

Glass is cold to touch, i.e., colder than your hand usually. Plastic is warmer to the touch. Compare the object with another glass/plastic object’s temperature.

Here’s another way to distinguish plastic from stained glass.

  • Heat a needle with a candle/lighter.
  • Heat the needle till it turns red.
  • Try to pass it through the piece of glass/plastic.
  • If it passes right through then it’s plastic. If it doesn’t then it’s glass.

Gallery glass paint?

Gallery glass is made using a type of plastic paint that looks like stained glass. You need to be able to distinguish painted Gallery glass from genuine stained glass.

Faux stained glass is made similarly, by using acrylic paint to create patterns to imitate real stained glass. Such crafts are not as valuable as real stained glass.

One can easily distinguish Faux stained glass from the real stained glass as faux stained glass doesn’t have lead/copper joints.

How to tell if stained glass is real?

It is easy for a trained eye to distinguish a real stained glass from a fake/painted/faux stained glass. But what about an uninitiated eye?

Let’s look at some pointers that could help us to identify the real stained glass.

  • Stained glass is made by joining glass pieces using lead/copper foils. So, if the glass looks so, it is real.
  • If the stained glass has lead lines, the lines should be perfectly straight.
  • If the stained glass has a curved line design, the curves should look smooth.
  • The width of the lead/copper lines should be uniform throughout the glass.
  • Where the two lead lines join one another there should be visually smooth junctures.
  • The appearance of the patina will be uniform throughout the glass.

How can you tell how old stained glass windows are?

As we discussed before here are some good ways to tell the age of the stained glass.

  • Stained glass with Art Nouveau design was designed between 1890 to 1910. Such glasses have curved lines.
  • If the stained glass has geometrical shapes like triangles, polygons, it’s likely designed in the 1920s to 1930s. This is probably the Art Deco type.
  • If the particular stained glass is opalescent (has multiple colors), it’s likely made after 1880.
  • If the stained glass has a green tint to it, the stained glass is probably made after 1900. Such type of green-colored glass is called ‘Slag’.

If you want to be 100% sure about the age of the stained glass you can visit your nearby professional or a local historian.

You may want to visit the local library. You’ll surely find a catalog/pictures from newspapers of the local stained glass designs.

How can you tell if stained glass is vintage?

If the type of stained glass you’re looking at is Art Deco/Art Nouveau, it is confirmed that the glass is vintage. Such glass is made from the 1890s to the 1920s.

First, you need to check if the stained glass is authentic and not some painted glass. Then you can check for its age.

You can also contact local historians to know about the age of the stained glass. If the stained glass was used in a church, you can easily find out the details of the glass.

How to tell if stained glass is tiffany?

Lamps from Tiffany are known for quality. People often try to copy such reputable things. Here are some efficient ways to tell if the stained glass is tiffany.

  •  Experts say that authentic tiffany glass lamps are either globe or cone-shaped.
  • The colors of the stained glass flow naturally and don’t look like paint.
  • Tiffany stained glass usually has a botanical design. Dragonflies, Butterflies, peacock feathers, and geometrical patterns are also seen.
  • Hold the top of the lamp and tap the glass gently. If it doesn’t give a rattling sound, it isn’t original.

Does stained glass feel like plastic?

You may be wondering why your stained glass looks/feels like plastic. It’s time to know the truth!

  • Touch the piece in question and see if it feels cold, if it does it is glass indeed. The plastic feels warmer than glass.
  • Tap the stained glass with your fingernail and pay close attention to the sound.
  • Plastic is generally light in weight. Stained glass with copper/lead foils is heavy and one can easily distinguish them from one another.

How to value stained glass?

Usually the older the stained glass the more value it has. Antique stained glass pieces are bought for ridiculous prices by enthusiasts.

If the stained glass has a lot of small pieces of glass soldered together, its value will be great as it requires more cutting and more metal.

The value of stained glass also depends on the figures that appear on the stained glass. Medallions and symbols increase the value of stained glass.

Value of stained glass increases with the no. of layers used in making that particular glass.

If you want to get a clear idea of the stained glass piece’s worth, you may want to work with stained glass appraisal guys near you.

Why is stained glass expensive?

Some beginners/uninitiated might as why stained glass crafts are so expensive. It takes a lot of skill and mastery to craft stained glass.

Raw materials needed for the craft are also expensive so it naturally becomes expensive. Stained glass with copper foils is quite expensive compared to the lead ones.

Apart from this, there are also antique stained glass windows, lamps, etc. These are expensive especially due to their age.

The worth of stained glass also depends on the type of glass used. If smaller pieces are used in making stained glass, it’ll be worth more.

I sincerely hope you’ll be able to craft awesome designs that sell for good prices. Happy crafting 🙂