What is Black Glass? Thanks to Beverly Black Glass Website http://members.aol.com/blkapp/index.html#AMETHYST This section is not meant to insult your intelligence. It is included because I have often seen sellers use the term "black glass" when the actual item did not meet the following four criteria. 1. Black Glass is GLASS - not pottery, porcelain, china, etc. Now don't groan over that statement. I am often seeing that mistake, particularly on online auctions. One time I bought a "black glass" item on Ebay. It arrived and it was china. I wrote to the seller and her reply was " 'Glass' is anything that is breakable". True Story!!! 2. Black Glass is OPAQUE or SEMI OPAQUE. Glass in general is: o Transparent - You can read a newspaper through the glass. Transparent glass can have a color such as pink, green, smoke, etc. (is not black glass or black amethyst glass) o Translucent - You can see shadows or forms through the glass but you can't see distinct images. (is not black glass or black amethyst glass) o Semi Opaque - You can see a light through the glass, but you can't see shadows or forms. (can be black glass or black amethyst glass) o Opaque - You can not see light through the glass. (can be black glass) 3. Black Glass, even when it is Black Amethyst, is BLACK. Strangely, at times this is difficult to judge. Deciding if a piece is Black Amethyst or whether it is a very dark Amethyst is at times just a personal judgment call. 4. Black Glass has the COLOR ALL THE WAY THROUGH the glass. Some glass looks like black glass when first seen, but on closer examination it is cased (a thin layer of black glass over clear glass), fired on enamel or painted without firing. Often when a sugar/creamer or stemmed goblet has a clear glass body and a black foot, the black foot is cased. I personally may buy a stem with a black cased foot, but I won't pay as much for it as I will when the foot is "black glass". Black Glass vs Black Amethyst Glass vs Black Ruby Glass (also see above section "What is Black Glass?") All Black Amethyst is Black Glass. All Black Ruby is Black Glass. Not all Black Glass is Black Amethyst. Not all Black Glass is Black Ruby. Here is a little background on glass manufacturing. The different colors are due to the different formulas used by glass companies when making their various colors. Glass colors are made by adding various ingredients to the basic glass formula. The ingredients may be manganese, charcoal, iron, etc. Depending on the added ingredients - the type, the amount, etc. - the glass will end up a certain color. There is no ONE formula for Black Glass. An individual glass company may have used several different Black Glass formulas. In fact even using the same formula may end up with different shades of a color from one day to the next due to varying conditions such as the heat of the glass mixture and the purity of the ingredients. Glass companies didn't care if their Black Glass was Black Amethyst or something else. They were just interested in producing a "Good Black". Now, let's talk about the term "Black Amethyst" as used by glass collectors. If you hold semi opaque Black Glass up to a strong light you may see purple. The color is a result of the particular formula used when that piece of glass was made. This is referred to as "Black Amethyst Glass". The purple can range from light purple to royal purple to red violet. Sometimes you can see just a dot of purple or you may see purple throughout the entire piece. The shape of the piece and thickness of the glass will result in the varying degrees of "purplish". Some people think that all Black Amethyst Glass is old...not so. It is still being made today. Some people think quality or elegant glass is always Black Amethyst Glass ... not so. Some is very poor quality. "Black Ruby Glass" is a term that is seldom used. When it is used, it means that a vivid red (not purple) is seen when you hold the item up to the light. Many of Fostoria Glass black pieces show red. Purple or red are not the only colors that may show through the glass. Hazel Atlas is one company that often used a formula resulting in yellow or brown when held to the light. Some of Liberty Glass shows a dark gray. I've also seen green and blue. Again, all these underlying colors were caused by different formulas. They are all Black Glass. How to Collect Black Glass There are as many ways to collect Black Glass as there are collectors. You can buy every piece that you see. Or you can limit your collection by collecting only: A specific pattern such as Mt. Pleasant by L.E.Smith Glass Company Glass from only one glass company such as Cambridge Glass Specific items such as vases, creamer/sugars or animals Glass with a pattern of silver overlay Black Amethyst Glass Those pieces that you fall head over heels in love with and on and on and on You will find black glass anywhere you find any collectible. You can find it in antique malls (online or reality), at garage sales or in newspaper and magazine advertisements. You can find new pieces at the gift shop in your local shopping mall. You can spend small or large amounts of time on researching the who/when/what questions about your black glass pieces. On my "Book & Bibliography Page" I have listed some books to help you ID your piece.
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