How to clean antique glass including Tiffany Studios Favrile glass and French cameo glass

Monday’s post will be up by noon.

Please note that I am permanently changing Thursday’s post day to Friday.

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Fridays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Friday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.


Every once in a while, I will re-post one of my most widely viewed blogs of the last nine years. This is one of the top three, originally written on September 14, 2009.

Having sold many thousands of antique glass vases over the years, I’ve learned a lot about how to clean them from trial and error. It also doesn’t hurt to have a Master’s Degree in Chemistry.

Most people are quite timid about using chemicals on glass. They’re afraid they’ll ruin their vases by removing the decoration or somehow damaging them. There are very few times this would actually be true. Cold-painted decoration on a vase could be ruined by the use of some chemicals but Tiffany Favrile vases and French cameo vases by Daum, Gallé, and others have no cold-painting, so all of the steps I describe below are appropriate. If you suspect that your vase has cold-painting on it, test a small area with one of the cleaners below, using a Q-tip. If any color comes off, stop and use only the mildest cleaners.

Eco-House citrous thinner

Eco-House citrous thinner

The first step is to remove any sticky substances, which will dissolve in organic solvents such as mineral spirits or acetone (nail polish remover). There are also some good  commercial products available, such as Goo Gone, available at stores like Home Depot or Office Depot, or online. Another product I like is citrous thinner, made from orange peels. It smells a lot better than the other solvents and is quite effective. Click here if you’d like to order it.

Start by looking for anything sticky with your eyes and your fingers. Put very little solvent on a Q-tip, rag or paper towel. Rub the affected area until the dirt or stickiness is gone. Mineral spirits is a gentler solvent than acetone, so try it first. Mineral spirits is especially good for removing the gum from old labels. Use acetone second, if you need a stronger solvent. These various solvents will also remove crayon, sap, or any similar substance.

Easy-Off Fume Free

Easy-Off Fume Free

Next we’re ready for aqueous cleaning. I suggest you do this in a sink. Most of the cleaners will make your vase slippery, so be very careful not to lose control and break it. The gentlest cleaners are dishwashing liquid or Windex. I like to use them with an old toothbrush. Scrub the vase with the first cleaner and see if the dirt comes off. If it’s stubborn, you can proceed to the next level of cleaning power with commercial products like Scrubbing Bubbles or Dow Bathroom Cleaner. Repeat the process. Spray the vase, let it sit for a few minutes and clean again with a toothbrush or similar brush. If that’s not strong enough, you can go to the highest level of cleaning power — Easy-Off, of which there are two types available. The blue can, labeled “Fume Free” is the one I recommend. (It’s not really fume free, but it’s not too bad.) It’s powerful and should remove any leftover dirt. Finally, rinse your vase thoroughly in plain water and dry completely with an old towel. If it’s safe, let it dry upside down. It’s a good idea to use gloves to protect your hands, an apron to protect your clothing and glasses to protect your eyes. Easy-Off in the yellow can is lye (sodium hydroxide). It’s very powerful. It will eat through the dirt nicely, but also through your clothes and skin, and can severely damage your eyes. Immediately flush with plain water if you have an accident. You’ll know you’ve gotten it on your skin if it feels slimy.

To clean the inside of your vase, you’ll need various brushes to reach hard-to-get-to areas. Just use one of the sprays above, let sit, and brush away. Justman Brush Company sells hundreds of different brushes.

A sick vase whose glass has been etched on the interior

Vases that have been filled with water can present bigger problems, such as scratches on the interior. The second and more serious problem is sick glass, which includes etching of the glass interior or the depositing of lime or other minerals. Etching will appear as frosting, while depositing will appear as white crust. Cleaners will not effectively fix these problems. The only real way to treat problems of this sort is to go to an expert who can “tumble” the vase to resurface the interior. It’s basically the same as sandpapering the entire interior — great for a transparent vase, but not as good for a vase that has a finish on the interior, like an iridescent vase. Use this link for Paul Nulton, who used to do this kind of work, but may or may not still be in business.

Sometimes vases were kept in homes where the owners smoked or had smoky fireplaces or stoves. The vase will probably appear to have dingy color. With a minimum amount of effort, the results can be quite gratifying, revealing unexpected bright and beautiful colors!

Good luck! (Have a good story to tell me? Please send it to philip@chasenantiques.com)


Our next show is not until May 18-20, 2018, when we’ll exhibit at the 2nd edition of the resurrected Chicago Antiques + Art + Design Show at the Chicago Merchandise Mart. It’s a wonderful venue for a show that deserved to be restored from purgatory.

We’re still very much in business between shows, so please don’t hesitate to email or call. I recently listed some of the new items on my website and will list more every week. Click Philip Chasen Antiques to take a look. I will make every effort to actively list new items as often as time permits. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

Strong results for Tiffany Studios’ items at Julia’s Rare Lamps, Glass & Fine Jewelry auction, December 1, 2017

Monday’s post will be up by noon.

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. Now that the weather is colder, I have gone back to publishing twice weekly, as often as possible.


Sorry for the temporary outage on my website and blog yesterday, January 17, 2018. There were some technical problems that were resolved, so everything should be up and running just fine now.

James D. Julia, Inc., held a Rare Lamps, Glass & Fine Jewelry sale on December 1, 2017, with total sales over $2,500,000. The results were relatively strong for the entire sale, but especially strong for Tiffany Studios’ glass and lamps. 16 of the 17 highest priced lots were Tiffany Studios’ lamps — impressive, considering there were 739 lots in the sale.

Rare Tiffany Butterfly table lamp, Julia’s lot #1473

The top lots of the sale, #s 1428, 1473, and 1516, were all Tiffany Studios’ lamps that each sold for the identical price of $84,700, including buyer’s premium.

Tiffany Treasure Chest inkwell, Julia’s lot #1453

A rare and very desirable Tiffany Treasure Chest inkwell, lot #1453, sold for approximately twice its high estimate of $7,000, realizing $17,545, including buyer’s premium.

Rare Gallé Butterfly vase, Julia’s lot #1115

The top lot of the French cameo glass portion of the sale was #1115, a rare wheel-carved Gallé Butterfly vase. It was an interesting vase, technically very sophisticated, but not as eye-appealing as it could have been with muted colors and no decoration between the butterflies. It sold just below its low estimate of $18,000, realizing $19,360, including buyer’s premium.

For the complete results of the sale, click here. You will have to sign in (free) to see the prices.


The Miami shows are only two weeks away, with the first on February 2, 2018, when we’ll exhibit at the Miami Airport show. I’ve been beating the bushes finding new treasures and have come up with some beauties. I just listed over 18 new items on my website and will list more every week. Click Philip Chasen Antiques to take a look.

I will make every effort to actively list new items as often as time permits. We’re still very much in business between shows, so please don’t hesitate to email or call. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

Strong results at Sotheby’s Tiffany Dreaming in Glass sale, December 13, 2017

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. Now that the weather is colder, I have gone back to publishing twice weekly, as often as possible.


Sotheby’s New York, held two sales on the same day, December 13, 2017, devoted to the works of Tiffany Studios. Today’s post will be concerned with the second of the two sales, Tiffany Dreaming in Glass. Sales totaled $5,111,250 for the 41 lots offered. 37 of the 41 lots sold, with many of them exceeding their high estimates. The results were strong, with two lamps selling just below or just above $1,000,000. This sale continued the recent strengthening of the Tiffany market (which I will write about in a separate blog).

Tiffany Cobweb and Apple Blossom table lamp, Sotheby’s lot #222

The top lot of the sale was #222, a rare, beautiful and important Cobweb and Apple Blossom table lamp with mosaic-tiled base. It sold near its high estimate of $1,000,000, realizing $1,155,000, including buyer’s premium.

Tiffany Favrile Lava vase, Sotheby’s lot #227

Results for the 13 lots of Tiffany Favrile glass were mixed. Lot #227, an important Lava vase sold for the highest price, $112,500, including buyer’s premium, but this was below it’s pre-sale estimate of $100,000 — $150,000.

Tiffany Butterfly enamel on copper box, Sotheby’s lot #201

The first lot of the sale, #201, a rare enamel on copper Butterfly box, set the tone for the sale. It almost quadrupled its high estimate of $30,000, realizing $125,000, including buyer’s premium. Rare Tiffany enamel on copper items have been on fire.

For the complete results of the sale, click here.

Thursday’s post will be about the results of Julia’s glass and lamp sale, which also included strong results for Tiffany Studios’ items. You’ll want to read it.


The Miami shows are only two and a half weeks away, with the first on February 2, 2018, when we’ll exhibit at the Miami Airport show. I’ve been beating the bushes finding new treasures and have come up with some beauties. I just listed over 18 new items on my website and will list more every week. Click Philip Chasen Antiques to take a look.

I will make every effort to actively list new items as often as time permits. We’re still very much in business between shows, so please don’t hesitate to email or call. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

Very strong results at Sotheby’s Tiffany, The William A. Richardson Collection sale, December 13, 2017

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. Now that the weather is colder, I have gone back to publishing twice weekly, as often as possible.


Sotheby’s New York, held two sales on the same day, December 13, 2017, devoted to the works of Tiffany Studios. Today’s post will be concerned with one of the two sales, Tiffany, The William A. Richardson Collection. (Monday’s post will highlight the second sale.) Sales totaled $7,309,500 for only 42 lots offered. Only one, lot #323, a Wisteria lamp, failed to sell (but almost surely sold privately after the sale). The results were very strong, with many of the lots selling for near or over their high estimates. The Tiffany market hasn’t been this strong in quite a while. (I will devote a separate blog to the strengthening Tiffany market.)

Tiffany 22″ Dragonfly floor lamp, Sotheby’s lot #313

The top lot of the sale was #313, a 22″ diameter Dragonfly floor lamp in beautiful shades of blue. It sold over its high estimate of $500,000, realizing $675,000, including buyer’s premium. It was one of five lamps selling over $500,000.

Tiffany mosaic pedestal, Sotheby’s lot #303

A rare mosaic tile pedestal from the home of Ralph Linder Pope, Brookline, Mass., sold for triple its high estimate of $120,000, realizing $399,000, including buyer’s premium.

Tiffany Turtleback swivel desk lamp, Sotheby’s lot #317

To give you an idea of how strong the sale was, take a look at lot #317. It was a standard Tiffany Turtleback swivel desk lamp that sells at auction after auction in the $10,000 – $15,000 price range. It isn’t rare, but it sold for the ridiculous price of $37,500, against a pre-sale estimate of $8,000 — $12,000.

The sale was quite special, so I’m a happy camper. I do a big business in Tiffany lamps, glass and desk sets, so a strong market is a good market.

For the complete results of the sale, click here.


The Miami shows are only three weeks away, with the first on February 2, 2018, when we’ll exhibit at the Miami Airport show. I’ve been beating the bushes finding new treasures and have come up with some beauties. I just listed over 18 new items on my website and will list more every week. Click Philip Chasen Antiques to take a look.

I will make every effort to actively list new items as often as time permits. We’re still very much in business between shows, so please don’t hesitate to email or call. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

I just sold the best Tiffany Favrile lamp

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, readership slows down in the summer, so I will only publish on Mondays until the weather gets cold and readership picks up.


I just sold one of the best Tiffany Favrile lamps in existence. But don’t feel bad if you missed it, as I never advertised it publicly. I sold it privately to one of my best clients. You never had a chance.

The 10″ diameter Favrile shade was a magnificent intense blue-purple with an internal honeycomb decoration that showed well when lit. Four gorgeous insects were meticulously intaglio-carved into the shade. It’s one of the two or three best Favrile shades I’ve ever seen, bar none.

The base was a very rare telescopic example with inset green iridescent Turtleback tiles and a #10 patina. The lamp was in pristine condition and fully signed on the shade and base.

In my opinion, it was worth $60,000 – $65,000, but I didn’t sell it in that range. I would have asked it if I had exhibited it at a show or listed it on my website. The actual selling price will remain confidential.

Have anything similar you want to sell or trade? Let me now.


Our next show, the eagerly anticipated Baltimore Summer Antiques Show, is almost upon us, August 24-27, 2017. It’s the best show of the summer and possibly the best of the year. People fly in from all over the world to attend, including Europe and Japan. If you haven’t yet visited, you should. It’s big, with some of the best national and international dealers. You’ll also enjoy Baltimore. Hope to see you there!

Click Philip Chasen Antiques to check my website for the latest items and to look around. I recently added several new items and I’ll be adding more this week. They’re some of the best items I’ve ever had, so I suggest you click on the following link and take a look. Philip Chasen’s new items.

I will update it as often as time permits. We’re still very much in business between shows, so please don’t hesitate to email or call. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

James D. Julia, Inc. knocked it out of the park with its Rare Lamps, Glass and Fine Jewelry auction, June 16, 2017

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, readership slows down in the summer, so I will only publish on Mondays until the weather gets cold and readership picks up.


Attendance was much higher than the usual Julia auction

James D. Julia, Inc. held its Rare Lamps, Glass and Fine Jewelry auction on June 16, 2017, with record sales just short of $4.4 million. Two important collections were included in the sale with no reserves. As I’ve stated before, there is nothing better for a successful auction than fresh, important merchandise with no reserves. Julia’s had a record crowd of about 100 in attendance, as well as a record number of phone and Internet bidders. Julia’s is located in central Maine, so most of the attendees flew in from all over the US and one from Japan. All the excitement led to strong prices throughout the entire sale.

Tiffany Studios Dogwood floor lamp, Julia lot #1108

The top lot of the sale was a very rare, large, important Tiffany Studios Dogwood floor lamp. It sold to a dealer on the telephone for more than double its pre-sale high estimate of $150,000, realizing $406,600, including buyer’s premium. Ultimately it will sell to a collector at a still higher price.

Tiffany Studios Wisteria window, Julia lot #1365

Authentic Tiffany Studios windows have seen a resurgence of late, realizing strong prices at major auction houses, including Julia’s. The top window of the sale, a Wisteria design, was lot #1365. It easily surpassed its high estimate of $150,000, realizing $257,850, including buyer’s premium.

Daum Nancy Snail vase, Julia lot #1596

Julia’s had a strong selection of fine French cameo glass. The top lot of the sale was #1596, an important Daum Nancy vase with applied grapes and snails. It sold within its pre-sale estimate of $17,500-$22,500, realizing $21,780, including buyer’s premium.

The 777-lot Julia sale included a huge variety of lamps, vases, candlesticks and jewelry. Click here for the complete results of the sale. You will have to sign in for the prices (free), or you can click here to look at the highlights with prices, where you won’t have to sign in. Kudos to Mike Fredericks, head of Julia’s Lamp & Glass Department for putting together a great sale.


July 14-16, 2017, Denver Mart EXPO Building – 451 East 58th Avenue, Denver

Our next show is the Denver World Wide Antique Show in less than two weeks, July 14-16. I’ll be buying and selling in the meantime, so be in touch if you’re doing either.

Click here to check my website for the latest items and to look around. I will update it as often as time permits. We’re still very much in business between shows, so please don’t hesitate to email or call. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

A few results from the Heritage 20th Century Design sale, May 25, 2017

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, readership slows down in the summer, so I will only publish on Mondays until the weather gets cold.


Heritage Auctions held a 20th Century Design sale on May 25, 2017. It wasn’t an important sale, but there were a few special items included. I’ll only cover the decorative arts.

Lalique Cactus table. Heritage lot #63163

A Lalique Cactus table, designed in 1951, was the top glass lot of the sale. It sold within it’s pre-sale estimate of $20,000 – $30,000, realizing $33,750, including buyer’s premium.

Pablo Picasso pitcher, Heritage lot #63258

The top ceramic lot of the sale was #63258, a 13″ Pablo Picasso pitcher from 1952. It sold for $37,500, including buyer’s premium — double its high estimate of $15,000. I don’t know much about Picasso pottery, but I do know there was a very good market for it at one time, especially in Paris.

Martin Brothers jug/vase, Heritage lot #63001

A really goofy Martin Brothers handled jug/vase sold well, bringing $15,000, against a pre-sale estimate of $6,000 – $8,000. I love Martin Brothers stoneware, but there was no way I was going to buy this one. I really didn’t like it.

For the complete results of the sale, click here. You’ll have to sign in (free) to view the prices.


July 14-16, 2017, Denver Mart EXPO Building – 451 East 58th Avenue, Denver

Our next show is the Denver World Wide Antique Show in mid-July, so we’ll take some time to smell the roses. I’ll be buying and selling in the meantime, so be in touch if you’re doing either.

I recently listed some new items on my website and I’ll be listing more in the near future. Please check my site as often as you can.

Click here to check my website for the latest items and to look around. I will update it as often as time permits. We’re still very much in business between shows, so please don’t hesitate to email or call. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

Good results at Sotheby’s New York Design sale, March 29, 2017

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

Sotheby’s New York held their Design sale on March 29, 2017 with total sales of $2,742,251. Included in the sale was a nice selection of Tiffany Studios lamps and French cameo glass.

Tiffany Peony lamp, Sotheby’s lot #16

Lot # 16 was a beautiful Tiffany Studios 22″ diameter Peony table lamp, with impeccable provenance. It sold for its high estimate, $150,000, including buyer’s premium, but in my opinion, should have sold for more.

Tiffany Spider lamp, Sotheby’s lot #23

I really liked lot #23, a lovely 16″ diameter Tiffany Studios Spider lamp. It sold for $35,000, including buyer’s premium, against a pre-sale estimate of $25,000 — $35,000 — an excellent price for the final buyer, but a bit too much for a dealer. I was the underbidder.

Daum Nancy Mushroom vase, Sotheby’s lot #98

Top lot of the French cameo glass section of the sale was #98, a rare and very desirable Daum Nancy Mushroom vase, with wheel-carving and enameling. It more than doubled its high estimate of $9,000, realizing $21,250, including buyer’s premium.

For the complete results, click here.


We haven’t exhibited in the greater Detroit area in over 10 years, but at the encouragement of a fellow dealer, we’ve decided to give it another shot. I enjoyed doing the show years ago and hope that business is good so we can add it to our regular schedule. The show opens with a preview party on Friday, April 21st and continues until Sunday, April 23rd at 5 PM.

I recently listed over 15 new items on my website and I’ll be listing more in the near future. Please check my site as often as you can.

Click here to check my website for the latest items and to look around. I will update it as often as time permits. We’re still very much in business between shows, so please don’t hesitate to email or call. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

DuMouchelles sold a wonderful Tiffany Favrile vase, March 11, 2017

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

Tiffany Favrile paperweight vase, DuMouchelle’s lot #1010

DuMouchelle’s held its March auction on the weekend of March 10-12, 2017. Included in the Saturday portion of the sale was a beautiful Tiffany Favrile paperweight vase, lot #1010. I was bidding on the telephone, but barely had a chance to open my mouth when the bidding flew past me. Estimated to sell for $3,000 – $5,000, it soared to $37,200, including buyer’s premium. I was left in the dust.

This was a beautiful example that appeared to be in superior condition, but I was still surprised at the final price. I thought the retail value was $15,000 – $20,000. Apparently the successful bidder disagreed with me.


We haven’t exhibited in the greater Detroit area in over 10 years, but at the encouragement of a fellow dealer, we’ve decided to give it another shot. I enjoyed doing the show years ago and hope that business is good so we can add it to our regular schedule. The show opens with a preview party on Friday, April 21st and continues until Sunday, April 23rd at 5 PM.

I recently listed about 15 new items on my website and I’ll be listing more in the near future. Please check my site as often as you can.

Click here to check my website for the latest items and to look around. I will update it as often as time permits. We’re still very much in business between shows, so please don’t hesitate to email or call. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

Doyle New York held its Doyle at Home sale yesterday, March 8, 2017

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.


Doyle New York held its Doyle at Home sale yesterday, March 8, 2017. Included in the sale was a small selection of mostly mediocre French, Austrian and American art glass and lamps. Doyle used to include this type of merchandise in its 2-3 times yearly Belle Epoque sales, but all of the auction houses have moved to Design sales instead.

Loetz Phänomen vase, Doyle lot #229

Lot #229 was a standout Loetz 7¾” Phänomen vase with drip decoration, on a salmon-colored ground. Estimated to sell for $800 – $1,200, it realized $5,312, including buyer’s premium.

Gallé Crystallerie vase, Doyle lot #226

Lot #226 was a nice 19th century example of Gallé Crystallerie production, which was usually clear glass with enameling. This smallish 5½” example also had applied cabochon flower centers, improving its beauty and sophistication. It sold above its high estimate of $1,500, realizing $2,125, including buyer’s premium.

Tiffany Studios 3-light lily piano lamp, Doyle lot #526

The Tiffany Studios offerings were mostly low quality, reflected in their middling results. Lot #526, a Tiffany 3-light lily piano lamp, did OK, considering that one of the three shades was badly damaged and held together with tape. It sold for $4,375, against a pre-sale estimate of $1,500 – $2,500.

For the complete results of the sale, click here.


Next week we’ll be exhibiting at the Charleston Antique Show in Charleston, SC, March 17-19, 2017. I have no idea what to expect since I’ve never exhibited there, but I figure it’s worth a shot. I have low expectations and am hoping for a nice surprise.

I’ve been listing on my website many of the new items I’ve recently purchased and I’ll be listing more in the near future. Please check my site as often as you can.

Click here to check my website for the latest items and to look around. I will update it as often as time permits. We’re still very much in business between shows, so please don’t hesitate to email or call. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.