Waterford, which originated in Waterford, Ireland, is one of the most famous crystal and glassware manufacturers in the world. The Waterford name has been associated with glass, crystal and china since 1783, and is even more important now than it was then. It's known as a name that represents class and top quality in every one of its pieces. Waterford's line of products includes crystal (glasses, bowls, plates, vases), china and dinnerware, serve ware, table accessories and even linens. Due to its popularity, and for quality control, Waterford has a long-standing tradition of marking each Waterford piece with a stamp, for authentication. These stamps are usually found on the base of the piece, and always have the word "Waterford" integrated into the design.
Learn the three Waterford crystal stamps before trying to identify your vase. These are acid etch stamps that authenticate Waterford crystal. The first stamp is a Gothic design, about 1 inch in length, featuring the name "Waterford." This stamp will appear on most Waterford crystal manufactured between 1950 and 1999. A second type of stamp might appear in the "cuts" (grooves) of Waterford crystal pieces that have no base (i.e., chandeliers). This stamp has the name "Waterford" in script, and is smaller than the Gothic design. A third stamp was introduced in 2000, to commemorate the millennium and to put off counterfeiters who sought to copy the original stamp. This final stamp has the name "Waterford" incorporated into a seahorse logo.
Lift your vase, and check the base for one of these stamps.
Check any cuts in the piece for the smaller, script stamp if you can't find a stamp on the base. Use a magnifying glass, if necessary. If you still can't locate a stamp, check with a Waterford expert or appraiser.
If the base of the vase is worn, you might need to use a magnifying glass to check for traces of the Waterford stamp. If authenticity is still in question, have a professional analysis done.
There are many Waterford counterfeiters and knock-offs. Always confirm that the stamp you're looking at is authentic.