Vaseline glass is a term which crops up all the time in the antique lighting industry. Real vaseline glass is highly collectible and very expensive but the term is over used so, if you are paying for vaseline glass, make sure that’s what it is!
The town of Stourbridge has been producing glass for hundreds of year. French glassmakers in the C17th moved to Stourbridge in the UK, due to the abundance of coal and clay. The glass industry in Stourbridge boomed during the Victorian era, and vaseline glass was one of the specialities of the region, being particularly popular with the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts styles.
Rather unromantically, vaseline glass takes it’s name from it’s resemblance to the original ‘Vaseline’ ointment. It is a transparent based yellow/green glass shading at times to almost white and it will glow bright green under ultraviolet light. The unique and unusual colour of vaseline glass is achieved by the addition of uranium dioxide in the original glass. Usually this amounts to 1-2% of the glass formula, but it can be much higher in antique vaseline glass. Don’t worry though, it can’t harm you!
If you want to know more about this beautiful glass and the fascinating glass makers of Stourbridge, why not pencil the International Festival of Glass into your diary?