Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lessons in Tea Room glassware

Usually, if I share photos of some new Tea Room Depression glass I've found, it's because I've just acquired a great piece in perfect shape. This week, alas, I had the misfortune of buying some glass on eBay that wasn't quite as advertised.

The seller had said these two sherbets were chip and crack-free, but alas, they are not. This chip was evident the minute I opened the box.

And there were a couple of tiny cracks like this, too. I wouldn't have bought the pieces had I known this, and to her credit, the seller (whom I sent photos of the damage) apologized profusely. I was offered a full refund of all payment and shipping costs involved in any return, or she offered to refund half of what I paid. Because it's so difficult to find this glassware at all, and because even the experts have warned that perfect Tea Room pieces are hard to find, I opted to keep the two sherbets at the adjusted price.

I also thought it might be useful to share with you some well-known design flaws in Tea Room glass that are actually *not* considered damage by collectors. Bubbles, for instance, are common in this pattern, and what I thought was a chip at the bottom point is not. I've never seen so many bubbles in a piece!

And these string-like inclusions in the glass could be mistaken for scratches, but they are actually what the experts call "straw marks" or "cooling marks," caused as the hot glass cools.

The other reason I kept these pieces was that they are low-footed sherbets (left), and I have two of the flared sherbets (right) and wanted to compare them. I wouldn't use these latest pieces as individual serving pieces with guests, but I might use them for, say, holding candles or other accessories on the table. Have you ever bought an imperfect piece of glass or china? Why or why not?


  1. I was all set to buy a beautiful Noritake teapot yesterday at Goodwill. I had looked it over, but almost missed where a chunk of handle was broken out. I didn't even notice it when I lifted the pot by the handle - it was firm and secure. So glad I found the problem before buying it. Such a shame.

  2. I love those pieces and it sounds like the seller treated you nicely.

    I buy imperfect pieces all the time - depending on its use... usually for a crafty thing I have in mind, such as teacup florals as gifts, or a planter teapot, etc.

    I have had, however NUMEROUS pieces arrive broken through poor packing/shipping with email and have not been treated as wonderfully as you have when that happens. But after buying and selling on ebay for going on 14 years my exp has been pretty good for the better part of those years.

  3. Hello Angela
    Quite a lesson for me on the pink depression glass. There was quite a bit of it at the antique barn I went through last Saturday but I didn't buy anything. Another time there I did purchase a crystal jam pot that had a small chip out of the lid where the spoon sits. I had to weigh how important it was and since you couldn't really tell, I did buy the piece. People think I'm strange at times when I'm looking around the room while running my fingers all over an antique teacup or saucer but I won't buy anything with really visible chips or cracks.

  4. Thank you! This is all new to me!

  5. I don't usually by chipped or cracked, but awhile back I saw a teapot I really liked and later thought I would have just enjoyed the beauty of it. Using it for a candle or floating a flower in a dish like these would still be beautiful.

  6. Glad the seller was honest.
    Thanks for the tips on this pattern.

  7. You were lucky to get an adjusted price! The pieces are beautiful, and still useful in a different way...

  8. I have seen many wonderful things that have slight chips or cracks and I will buy them for display but never to use. I have heard of dealers who will sand down slight chips but I've never tried it myself. I love the information about the straw marks. I've seen them but didn't know what they were.


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