Value of Crystal Glassware

Updated February 21, 2017

Crystal glassware is a high-quality glassware that does not actually contain any crystalline structure. It is a heavy, lead-based type of glassware that is often identifiable by its intricate pattern and faceting. Collectors and antique dealers value it, and it is often passed down from generation to generation in families. If you would like to know the commercial value of your crystal glassware, you must take a number of factors into consideration.


One of the first things antique dealers try to determine when valuing crystal is which company made it. Many pieces of crystal glassware have a maker's mark that indicates the manufacturer. It is usually on the underside of the glass and may be a name or a symbol. If your glassware has no maker's mark, you or a trained professional may be able to tell who manufactured it based on the pattern.


Very old crystal glassware is more valuable than new crystal glassware, especially if it is no longer in production. The age of your glassware can be determined in several ways. If the glassware has a maker's mark, you may be able to match the mark to a specific historical period because manufacturers often change their marks over time. You can check catalogues of glassware to see if you can match your mark to a specific period. You also may be able to learn the age of the glassware from the pattern. If the pattern is recognisable as specific to a manufacturer, it may have been produced only during a limited period. If you cannot link the pattern to a manufacturer, a professional may be able to tell you the time period during which the style of pattern or even the colour of your glassware was popular.


The condition of your crystal glassware drastically affects its value. A complete set will be more dear than one that is missing pieces. Most collectors are not interested in chipped or cracked crystal, unless it is extremely old or rare. Scratches also affect your crystal's price.


Not every piece of crystal glassware is the same quality. Heavy, high-quality glass and intricately detailed pieces carry more value than plain and thin crystal. It is also important to note whether the crystal is handblown or not.


Crystal glassware that is harder to come by is worth more money. Your crystal can be rare because it was produced in limited qualities, or it could be rare because it is very old and few similar examples remain. Your crystal might also be rare because it has been imported from far away, and it is thus difficult to find in the United States.


If your crystal glassware was manufactured under exceptional circumstances, if, for example, you have a glass that belonged to a royal family, it will also be more valuable. This only applies to crystal that was manufactured under special circumstances, because there is no way for you to prove that your crystal was owned by someone important.


The value of your crystal glassware could fluctuate with the market. It could rise or fall in value depending on whether people are buying crystal more or less. It could also be worth more or less in different markets. For example, your crystal might be worth more to an antique shop in Savannah than it is to an antique shop in Detroit.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Hannigan began writing freelance articles in 2005. Her work can be found in "Orientations" magazine. She holds a Master of Arts in art history from the University of Delaware.