Do you have fancy, brightly colored glass bowls, plates, or candlesticks at home and wonder if they could be Uranium glasses? If you possess these valuables, are you attempting to sell them without knowing their worth? Or are you simply a collector of expensive glasses looking for something new to add to your collection?
Uranium glass is the most intriguing type of glass, with its color, Victorian style, and rich history, and it is currently in high demand. In this article, we will discuss Uranium glass, including its history, identification, and some valuable examples.
A Brief History of Uranium Glass
Martin Klaproth discovered Uranium in 1789, but it was not used in glass production until the 1830s. It has been used to date apart from the 15-year exception when World War II occurred. Between 1958 and 1978, an estimated 4 million Uranium glasses were produced as decorative items in the United States.
The first company to sell Uranium glass was Whitefriars Glass Company in London. Many other companies have since followed suit. Uranium glass production is no longer as high as it once was, but its value remains high.
What is Uranium Glass?
Uranium glass is a type of glass that is manufactured with uranium dioxide. The element is added to the glass mixture before it is melted. Uranium glass is synonymous with Vaseline glass. Vaseline glasses, on the other hand, are typically transparent, whereas common uranium glasses are more opaque.
Vaseline glass is a more recent term for these uranium-containing glasses. When weighed, the amount of uranium in these glasses is about 2% lower. Names are given to different types based on their colors, such as jadeite glass for opaque pale green and custard glass for opaque yellow glass.
A common mistake amongst new collectors is confusing Vaseline/Uranium glass for Depression glass. This glass was made around the same time as the uranium glass and by some of the same manufacturers and they can be translucent, like Vaseline, which can confuse collectors.
Depression glasses, however, do not come in the signature yellow or green color range of Vaseline glasses. They can also be other colors like purple, blue, red, etc. They are less desirable and don’t cost as much, so people are usualy discouraged to buy or collect them.
How to Identify Uranium Glass
There are several simple methods for determining if a glass is uranium. Once you’ve mastered these techniques, you’ll be one step closer to determining whether or not the glasses you own are valuable. The following are identifiers:
Glow of the Glass
As the popular phrase goes, “If it doesn’t glow green, it’s not Vaseline.” This is the primary identifier of uranium glasses. They glow bright green when exposed to ultraviolet or fluorescent light. This is the simplest method, as any other glass, including the deceptive Depression glass, will not glow neon green when exposed to ultraviolet light.
Color of the Glass
The color of your glass is another good indicator. Vaseline or uranium glasses typically have a unique color range ranging from greenish-yellow to yellow. Any other color of the glass is a depression glass.
Appearance of the Glass
Vaseline glasses are translucent and have a sheen, oily, or shiny appearance in natural lighting. This is one of the reasons it is called Vaseline; petroleum jelly also has an oily sheen.
Year of Production
The first Vaseline glasses were produced in the early 1800s and gained popularity in 1880. Therefore, if the glass is dated between 1850 and 1880 and has some of the quaities listed above, it is most likely Vaseline glass.
Form of the Glass
Another way to tell if your glass is uranium glass is to examine the packaging. Uranium glass can be found as decorative pieces such as table ornaments, figurines, chandeliers, jewelry, and vases or as cookware such as mugs, serving bowls, pitchers, jugs, antique bottles, and dishware.
19 Most Valuable Uranium Glasses
Comparing your piece to previously sold pieces or simply going through a price list of similar pieces to get an idea of general prices is an excellent way to determine the value of an antique piece. This is a price comparison guide for your magnificent uranium glasses.
1. Antique Uranium Green Wheel Cut Glass
This is an exquisitely crafted piece of uranium glass. It’s a footed centerpiece bowl with a gold band edge trim. The decorative glass bowl has a wheel-cut floral pattern and can be used in the home or office. It can be placed in the center of a table and works well alone or with objects put inside.
It has a height of 4.5 inches and a width of 8.5 inches and glows under black light. Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, it is a valuable collectible for any collector.
- Estimated price on eBay: $195
2. Antique Vaseline Yellow Glass Candy/Nuts Bowl
This is a gorgeous English-pressed Vaseline glass made between 1900 and 1905. It was created by George Davidson and emits a deep green glow when exposed to UV light. American collectors call this well-made piece “William and Mary.” The bowl has a beautiful floral pattern that gives it a soft look that makes it perfect for the home.
As a decorative accent in the dining room or living room, it can also be used to store snacks like candy and nuts. Its dimensions are 2 inches in height and 7 inches in width.
- Estimated price on eBay: $160
3. Antique Vaseline Uranium Green Glass Brides Bowl Basket Art Deco C1900 France
The stunning art deco brides bowl with crimped ribbed design and a ruffled edge is made in France. This style is also known as a leaf chain.
The bowl or fruit basket has a floral pattern in the form of strawberry bushes crafted around the bowl on the ruffles and a flower surrounded by small dots and curves at the base.
This one-of-a-kind piece from 1900 exudes an air of sophistication, befitting the most luxurious decor schemes. It appears bright green under UV light.
- Estimated price on eBay: $120
4. Vaseline Glass Sugar Bowl Lid Inverted Fan & Feather
The Vaseline Glass Sugar bowl is another valuable and eccentric uranium glass piece. It was manufactured between 1900 and 1919 with a pattern called Fan and Feather. The scallops on the top rim of the base are shallow since this is a new reproduction of this pattern. The large space between the legs also suggests this. It has various designs on its body, such as flowers, curves, and lines, as well as the bulbous head on the lid, which give it a realistic appearance.
- Estimated price on eBay: $124
5. Pair of Antique Vaseline/ Uranium Glass Ruffled Jack In The Pulpit Vases Harrach
This is a rare Vaseline glass vase from the 1880s to 1900s. They are designed in the Jack In The Pulpit style, with a head shaped like a Venus flytrap plant and a ruffled edge. A rippled effect runs throughout the glass vase, adding to its elegance.
The unique design is ideal for a home or an office mantelpiece. It is also a great addition to a collection! They measure approximately 8 inches by 5.75 inches by 3.75 inches.
- Estimated price on eBay: $298.22
6. Antique Pair of Harrach Bohemian Uranium Candy Striped Glass Vases
Harrach manufactures these exquisite pieces of glass in Bohemia. They are green and yellow with candy stripes of white and an amber trail. These are perfect for using to decorate the living room. The vases are 9 inches tall and 2.5 inches in diameter.
- Estimated price on eBay: $258
7. Art Deco Uranium Glass ‘ Lion ‘ Car Mascot H.Hoffmann by Lalique
Lalique’s glassware features a classic design that will last for years. From 1930 to 1939, it was crafted in Bohemia using original antique molds. It’s an incredible satin-finish sculpture with an Art Deco design.
This Lion mascot is a decorative piece that can be used to add a regal touch to your home, office, or even your car. Under UV light, it glows a bright green. It stands five inches tall.
- Sold on Liveauctioneers for $175
8. Art Deco 1930’S Vaseline Glass Figurine Car Mascot
This Vaseline glass figurine is a great addition to any collection and will look great in the home or office. It can also be considered a generous gift. This item was crafted by Lalique and features an excellent, timeless design.
- Estimated price on Liveauctioneers: $235
9. Bohemian Art Deco Vaseline Glass Perfume Bottle
This simple eye-catcher attracts attention despite its small size (9.5 cm height, 4 cm length, 16.5 cm width, and 340 grams). The work of art, created by the skilled hands of Rene Lalique, can be kept on your desk and passed down as a family heirloom.
- Estimated price on eBay: $1,009
10. Art Deco Vaseline Glass Perfume Bottle
Lalique created this ethereal perfume bottle in the 1930s, and it deserves all the attention it receives. The ornate art deco French design alone is stunning and will have you staring for quite some time. It is also an excellent conversation starter for anyone who appreciates fine pieces or antiques.
- Estimated starting bid on Liveauctioneers: $355
11. Art Deco 1930′ Bohemian Uranium Glass Perfume Bottle
The people in the 1930s must have appreciated exquisite craftsmanship, as this perfume bottle is another product of that time. This piece from Bohemia glows brilliantly under UV light. It depicts a sophisticated woman with a voluminous skirt, high hair, and a hand fan. Her upper body is surrounded by a halo-like design, which serves as the bottle’s cover. The entire form stands six inches tall.
- Estimated price on Liveauctioneers: $220
12. Antique Bohemian Uranium Glass Box
Envision this work of art on your dresser, where it can proudly display your most treasured jewelry and mementos. The hinged lid of this antique Bohemian glass box is adorned with gilt bronze mounts. It comes in a set of five and measures 12 cm in height, 8 cm in length, and 8 cm in width. Other colors in the set include blue, lemon green, and gold; a transparent one with a blue tint; and emerald green.
- Estimated price on Liveauctioneers: €350
13. Vintage Uranium Glass Ashtray
This would look great as a centerpiece in a living room. The green glass ashtray will draw attention to itself while not detracting from other pieces of furniture or designs in the room. It has a perfectly sculpted floral pattern and a brilliant green glow when exposed to UV light.
- Sold on Liveauctioneersfor $120
14. Antique Art Deco Uranium Perfume Bottle Japan
Another piece in the Art Deco style, the maker demonstrates masterful artistry in creating it. This rare antique piece of art, made in Japan in the 1900s, is an excellent addition to any collection. It is 4.125 inches tall, 2.5 inches wide and has a flat, square base.
- Estimated price on eBay: $304
15. Antique Vaseline Double Ended Cut Glass Scent Bottle
A double-ended scent bottle is not as common as it once was, but with its silver caps and diamond-cut design, this piece will fit into any modern space. It’s a stylish piece that stands out.
- Estimated price on eBay: $609
16. Vintage Uranium Glass Perfume Bottle with Silver Hinged Cap 1947
The shape of this uranium glass perfume bottle is captivating. Its sharp edges and hinged rounded silver cap give your collection that edge. The AT CANNON brand manufactured it in 1947.
- Estimated price on eBay: $380
17. Victorian Northwood Alaska Vaseline Opalescent Water Pitcher
Having this glassware in your possession is like having a piece of history with you. Northwood created it in 1897, and it emits Victorian-era energy. The pitcher has four legs and a handle. The edges and handle are decorated with a Christmas ribbon candy design, threading, vertical panels, and more threading.
- Estimated price on eBay: $410
18. Antique Hobbs Brockunier Canary Thumbprint Glass Butter Dish
This is a magnificent work of art made of canary uranium. The design on the glass material is an inverted thumbprint. Hobbs, Brockunier & Co manufactured it between 1885 and 1895, and it emits the same green glow under UV light as all uranium glass.
- Estimated price on eBay: $328
19. Northwood Diamond Spearhead Canary Opalescent Covered Butter Dish
The covered butter dish is made of a vaseline opalescent glass in canary yellow. It is available in both a Victorian style and a diamond spearhead pattern. With its bright green glow, this piece will look great as a centerpiece in the living room or dining table, especially at night. The creamy white rim adds to the detailing and makes it an enviable piece.
- Estimated price on eBay: $255
Factors that Affect the Value of Uranium Glass When Buying and Selling
When buying and selling uranium glass, there are a few factors to consider that affect the glass’s value.
The condition of uranium glass affects its value because a collector will either reduce the price of a valuable piece or refuse to buy it if it is damaged.
As a seller, you want to keep your pieces safe by putting them in protective passages while they’re in your case. Evaluating your piece by a professional will help you determine if it is worth restoring and at what cost.
● Location of Transaction
When you’re ready to sell, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of auctioneers in an auction house, though you may be charged a fee for this service. This is because antiques are more likely to sell at auction than anywhere else, as the value is determined by the highest bidder.
There are also online sites like eBay and Liveauctioneers. Price lists from sites like this one in price comparison, but the prices of goods on this site are set by the site’s sellers.
● Supply and Demand
Like in every market, supply and demand are vital in the uranium glass market as well.
It has been stated several times throughout this article that the rarer the piece, the more valuable it is considered. Therefore, an item produced and supplied in excess will have lost value before it even reaches the market. There are exceptions to this rule, but all antiques generally are like this.
Antique values are also determined by current market trends. This is because the higher the demand for a piece, the higher the price of that piece. While rarity is important, a piece of antique may be rare but unpopular at the time. In this case, the price is reduced. Smart collectors take advantage of such opportunities to acquire rare antiques that they would not have been able to acquire otherwise.
On the other hand, the price of some uranium pieces may have been low formerly, but as a new trend emerges, people begin to seek out that type of design, and the piece’s value rises. A piece is only as valuable as its demand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Uranium Glass Safe?
Yes, uranium glass, also called Vaseline glass, is generally safe to work with. The uranium cannot be removed because it is part of the glass. The only exception is if it comes into contact with a type of acid that will leach the uranium off, but even for regular users, this only leeches off a small amount.
Why Did They Stop Making Uranium Glass?
The United States government seized supplies of uranium for the 1942-1958 Manhattan project amid World War II, effectively ending the production of uranium glasses.
Is It Possible to Melt and Reuse Uranium Glass?
Yes, it is possible. The only precaution would be to understand each glass’s Coefficient of Expansion (COE) and the compatibility of each glass with heating and fusing.
The value of valuable uranium glass can range from $100 to over $1000, and the rarer it is, the higher the price. Antiques, as opposed to just old or vintage items, command a premium. However, the more common pieces have less value because they were mass-produced at the time.
Finally, make certain you identify a glass piece as uranium before purchasing it. Some people mistake them for depression glasses, but they are not the same. So, whether you’re looking for new glass bowls to furnish your home, to add to your collection, or to use as trinket boxes, uranium glasses are a great place to start. Please leave your comments and questions in the comment section.