Famous paperweight makersClive
Glass paperweights became very popular in the mid-19th Century, with many talented artists specialising in making them. There are a few top paperweight makers that collectors prize.
Antique paperweight makers
Many of the top paperweight makers are French, and these include Baccarat, Clichy, Bacchus and Saint Louis.
There have been maker in other countries too, not least here in Britain. Paul Ysart is a Spanish craftsman that moved to Scotland to make artistic paperweights. His first ones date from the 1930s, and he continued making paperweights until he retired in 1979. Richardsons of Stourbridge is another British maker that made fine paperweights in the early 20th Century.
Makers from Southern Germany and the Czech Republic are known as Bohemian paperweight makers. They produced interesting paperweights, but they are rarely considered to be up there with those of top French makers.
Paperweight makers Baccart and Saint Louis created some of the finest examples of paperweights. Theirs from the period 1840-1880 fetch high prices and were made from premium quality lead crystal glass
Clichy models are popular with collectors for their use of soft colours and also for their miniature paperweights.
Paperweights made by famous makers are highly valued by collectors, who pay anything from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds for fine examples of antiques. One rare Clichy paperweight sold for $250,000 in the early 1990s.
Famous paperweight makers used mainly the millefiori or lampwork techniques. Millefiori paperweights have brightly coloured rods of glass running through them which, viewed end-on, resembles tiny flowers. Lampwork paperweights have the shapes of flowers, animals, insects or fruit, which are fixed together and covered in clear glass. Occasionally, lampwork and millefiori techniques are combined in one paperweight.
At the other end of the price range are what are called “dump” paperweights. These were made by workers in bottle factories from glass that was due to be dumped at the end of the working day. These are either plain or contain prints of photographs. A large number of these paperweights were made and can be bought for a reasonable cost.
Few famous paperweight makers signed or dated their work, so it is difficult to know whether an antique paperweight for sale is a genuine one from a famous paperweight maker or a modern copy. For collectors that cannot afford ones made by famous makers, they can purchase antique paperweights whose maker may be unknown. The main thing they look for is a paperweight in good condition with a distinctive pattern.
Modern paperweight makers
A number of talented glass artists over the last 25 years have produced limited edition glass paperweights that sell for high prices. Baccarat and Saint Louis are among the older paperweight makers that are still active in producing limited edition paperweight.
If you don’t want to pay high prices for limited edition or antique paperweights from famous makers, you can buy glass paperweights from glass engravers for £30 or less, including the engraving of a personal message.
Whether bought for their practical or aesthetic qualities, or a combination of both, engraved glass paperweights make for wonderful gifts, and makers continue to come up with new, eye-catching techniques when producing them.