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Purchasing a Tiffany Lamp

By MaryAnn Linden © 2005 selecting a Tiffany lamp the primary consideration you must look for, after deciding on a particular design, is the use of the glass in...

By MaryAnn Linden © 2005

When selecting a Tiffany lamp the primary consideration you
must look for, after deciding on a particular design, is the
use of the glass in the lamp. So then begs the question;
what makes one lamp shine with beautiful color and ambient
light and another with the same design looks completely
flat? It is the type of glass used.

Avoid Dull – Colorless Glass

Once you have seen a Tiffany lamp that has the dull colored
glass you will be able to spot them a mile away. When the
lamp is not lit the lampshade looks quite dull and almost
colorless. For instance, you think the color is blue or
green but there is no intensity to the color of the glass.
A Tiffany lampshade should be just as beautiful unlit as

Textured Glass in Tiffany Lamps

Another thing to look for in the glass is the character or
texture of it. Even in pictures of Tiffany lamps you can
see that they have variegated or different hues of color in
each piece of glass. Also, clear glass is not the glass of
choice. It is used as a design element, because it will
make the lamp sparkle where the light comes through. Most
times the clear colored glasses are textured too to give
more depth to the picture the lamp is trying to convey.
Because that is what a Tiffany lampshade is, a rounded
picture put on a lampshade. If you look at it that way you
will then be able to see right away the lamp that doesn’t
have anything to show. It will just be a mishmash of glass
slapped together trying to pass itself off as a Tiffany

Copper Foiling in Tiffany Lamps

The next thing to look for is the how the copper foil
interrupts the flow of the lamp. I say this because if the
copper foiling process, which is what holds the pieces of
glass together, is so obvious and thick that your eye is
drawn to it, then you have a bad copper foil job. I rarely
run across a lamp with this problem, but when I have it was
very obvious, even online. And, these were the same lamps
that had colorless dull glass, and for some reason also used
a lot of clear glass too. I think the manufacturer realized
that the lamp was going to be so dark that they needed the
clear glass to give off some light.

Building a Picture

The last consideration is the way the glass was cut. This
is not always a truism, but as I look at my lamps I always
notice that there was a rhyme and reason to why a particular
piece of glass was cut with the grain or design going
through it a particular way. The leaves might have longer
lines to denote length. A flower petal will have the grain
going one way on one petal and another way on another. And,
when you stand back you can see what the artist was painting
with the glass. And, if it is obvious what the picture is
then the artist has done his job well.

You would think that I would say that price was a
consideration, but nowadays it really isn’t. With the
advent of the Internet we are a global market and Tiffany
lamps are being produced all over the world at varying
prices. I have seen dragonfly lamps that are absolutely
beautiful priced at one online store in the $100.00 range,
and at another store in the $900 range because it is made of
Favrile glass and has six Favrile candelabra lamps which
light the lampshade. It all depends on what you are looking
for. They are all beautiful in their own way,
notwithstanding the price you pay.

So go out there and have a look at some Tiffany lamps. You
won’t regret it. They add a touch of class to your decor
and a wonderful source of light for any room. They come in
table lamps, floor lamps, hanging pendants, chandeliers,
billiard, sconce, shades for ceiling fans, mini or accent
lampsFree Web Content, and close or flush ceiling lights.

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MaryAnn is a longtime collector of Tiffany lamps and enjoys passing on her love of the craftsmanship and history of the Tiffany lamps to her friends and acquaintances. Her love of glass also extends to handblown vases. Subscribe to her free newsletter for interesting bits of history and information on good buys on Tiffany lamps and vases at

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