Millefiori art glass paperweights are made of individual glass canes or slim rods of coloured glass grouped into a flower design within the paperweight, and different design groups have names. Although millefiori means “thousand flowers,” a single cane flower in the centre is common on a textured background millefiori paperweight. Sometimes this cane is a silhouette, or an identifying cane with an initial or date and you can trace the millefiori glass paperweight to a famous maker. The beauty and history of these paperweights builds interest and excitement in a collection.
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Collect millefiori paperweights by shape. There are mushroom shapes and figural shapes, ovals and overlays with printies, or cut windows to enhance the design. There are also perfume bottle weights and inkwell paperweights.
Choose a specific style of millefiori to collect. Single centre canes, close canes, chequers, concentric, carpet ground and garland are a few different kinds. Close canes have a profusion of canes, and concentric designs circle the centre of the paperweight. Carpet ground designs have large and small flowers, and garlands are ovals or curlicue designs formed by the millefiori canes. Chequers have filigree canes that are separators between the flowers.
Collect millefiori paperweights by maker. The French art glass companies like St. Louis, Baccarat and Clichy have made millefiori paperweights for 150 years, and many Italian makers have produced millefiori paperweights for at least that long. Millefiori from the United Kingdom made by Perthshire, Strathearn and Whitefriars arrived later on the scene, but are no less collectable. New artisans like Jim Hart, Gerry Colman and Greg Hoglin also make collectable millefiori paperweights.
Recognise inferior paperweights, like Chinese millefiori paperweights from the 1930s to present. Age does not improve the quality of a Chinese paperweight. The cover glass is slightly green, and there may be internal bubbles or flaws. Chinese paperweights are collectable, but never as valuable as fine quality paperweights from older French and Italian makers or new artisans from the United States and England.
Collect paperweights without damage. Values of quality art glass rise for undamaged pieces, but damaged pieces do not have the same potential. They are valued at half, or less, of full value for damage anywhere other than on the base.
Hope to find superior millefiori paperweights like the one sold at Christies London in January, 2010 for £1,914. Baccarat was the attributed maker, but the piece, unusual for its animal canes, was unmarked. Sales like these make all collections more valuable.
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