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Featured Museum Piece

"Alexandrite" Colored Crystal by Heisey Glass Co.

Heisey's Creole
Creole

Already in this newsletter we have covered collectible glassware from some of America’s greatest glassware makers.  Via our museum feature, we continue with more great collectible glass from Heisey, showcasing this month a variety of pieces from Heisey’s Creole, Empress, Old Dominion, and Trident patterns. Each pattern is done in the rare "Alexandrite" color (more on Alexandrite below), and the pieces are quite beautiful.  On display in our museum in the Creole pattern are a tall goblet, sherbet, tea glass, and liquor cocktail.  In the Empress pattern, we have the bullion cup and saucer set, nut dish, and two sizes in square plates.  The Old Dominion pattern is represented by the oyster or fruit cocktail stem. A rare candlestick is from Heisey's Trident pattern.

What makes these pieces so extraordinary is their rare “Alexandrite” color, which is dichromatic, meaning that the chemical makeup of the glass is such that its color changes based on the light around it. The images show the pieces to be a pale pink. But if you visit our showroom and see these pieces in their cases, they will actually appear pale blue! 

Heisey's Empress
Empress

During the Great Depression, when colored glass was most popular, this color optical illusion helped make dichromatic colored glass very popular, and owning the pieces was considered quite prestigious.  Due to limited resources, however, dichromatic glass was not produced in large quantities. As a result, pieces like those featured here have become highly prized treasures.

Heisey's Old Dominion
Old Dominion

Heisey’s Creole, Empress, Old Dominion, and Trident patterns were each produced between 1930 and 1935. One of the most unique in this group is Empress. The Empress design was available in pink, yellow, green, "Alexandrite", and clear. The delicate 3-part plume design seen on the edges of Empress plates and bowls is a minimalist representation of a French lily.  As mentioned earlier, colored glass was most popular during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Ironically, it is during this time that the first popular china in multiple color themes made its debut, with Homer Laughlin’s Fiesta being introduced in 1936.

At the beginning of the Second World War, American consumers lost interest in the colored glassware patterns of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Colored American glass did experience a minor resurgence in popularity during the 1950s, but in many cases, these new colors were very dark and the colored patterns produced were lesser in number.  Again, this contributes to the rarity and highly collectible characteristics of the Heisey “Alexandrite” pieces feautured here. 

Heisey's Trident
Trident

We also extend a most genuine invitation to you to visit our Museum in person, with its vast collection of rare tableware and collectible items, and our Showroom, where you can browse and purchase in a stunning array of china, crystal, flatware, and collectible patterns, and of course, Heisey crystal pieces!  Our Showroom and Museum are open from 9am to 7pm ET, 7 days a week (except holidays). The Showroom and Museum are conveniently located between Greensboro and Burlington, NC, at exit 132 off Interstate 85/40.  Make plans to visit us soon!

Want to know more about Heisey Glass Co.? Click here for an informative history.

Click here to view our Featured Museum Pieces Archive!

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