Collecting Guide: 10 Things to Know About Tiffany Lamps
Any minute you spend in your room or space contributes to the increasing reconsideration of the functional objects around you and engagement in pursuing the room’s beauty.
Few of these functional objects surpass Tiffany in terms of the effect on home décor. Tiffany lamps combine design, technology, and craftsmanship with dazzling effect and serve as focal points of your spaces.
If you intend to start or grow a collection of Tifanny lamps, here are the 10 things you need to know about the iconic lamps.
- Origin and history
- Superior and innovative techniques
- Strong bases and high-quality materials
- High value
- Marks and tags of authenticity
- Unique designs and style
Since the first introduction of Tiffany lamps in the 1890s, they have had a strong appeal ever since. The article discusses the features and elements that set Tiffany lamps apart and guides you in making a wise choice while adding the lamps to your collection.
Origin and History
The Tiffany style lighting is a byproduct of the machine age, and it resulted in rich decorative designs that ooze American style and history.
At the dawn of the industrial age, many artists and designers rebelled from using assembly lines. Instead, they used their hands to craft their artworks and infuse aspects of rich individuality in their works.
At the start of the 20th century, the decorative Art Nouveau Movement was fueled by the desire to make art a part of everyday life. The artistic and beautiful Tiffany lamp emerged during this period and it was a perfect fit to be part of people’s daily lives.
Tiffany lamp designs feature munificent ornamentation and nature-inspired patterns. The most widely known Tiffany lamps include the dragonfly Tiffany lamp and wisteria Tiffany lamps shown below.
The images of the different themes of Tiffany lamps demonstrate the efforts of artisans from Tiffany Studio in capturing the elaborate attractiveness of nature in stained glass.
Superior and Innovative Technique
Louis Comfort Tiffany was a popular artist and designer because of his innovative approaches to glass-making. Tiffany lamps represent his ability to create opalescent glass and add luminosity to Tiffany lamp shades.
Tiffany worked with some of the best artisans to realize his vision in stained glass.The process of making lampshades was laborious and involved careful selection of every section of glass pieces.
And due to the superior craftsmanship that Tiffany Studios employed, they manufactured the finest lampshades characterized by an exceptional harmony of different colors with subtle tones in a complicated pattern, as shown in the image below.
Strong Bases and High-Quality Materials
Tiffany lamps are made using high-quality and genuine materials.The Tiffany lamp base, as important as the shade, is mostly made of bronze. The base has a solid feel that adds to its stability and prevents it from falling off.
The shades are made of translucent and opalescent pieces of glass.You can interchange the bases with different shades without compromising the design of your Tiffany lamps.
However, there are specific designs that demand specific bases. For example, the Wisteria goes perfectly on the tree base, as shown below.
As much as you can interchange the bases and shades, always ensure the elements complement each other.When matching bases and shades of your Tiffany lamp, it is best to consider the height, model, sockets, patina, and stylistic aspects.
The shades are not created equally but play a significant role in determining the value of your Tiffany-stained glass lamp.
Tiffany Studios had various shade models, from simple geometric to elaborate floral designs.You can also know a genuine Tiffany lamp by assessing the glass used to manufacture its shade.
The aesthetic value of their glass sets them apart from others. The glasses were selected from Tiffany Studio's vast repertoire, carefully cut, and incorporated into the design.
The shades are fine because of the excellent glass selection, and in most designs, the different pieces are set against the background with dazzling effects.
Tiffany lampshades are made from different hallmark glass types, such as striated, opalescent, and drapery glass.
Related reading: Common Materials for Tiffany's Lamp Bases
Tiffany lamps are rare and considered highly valuable. The lamps fetch high prices at antique markets and auctions because of their craftsmanship, historical significance, and relevance. See Value of Tiffany lamps
Also, the lamps have unusual elements in their design, such as a beautiful base.You can retain the value of your Tiffany lamp by using it safely and not scratching the patina on the base.
A Tiffany lamp is an antique; you must look at its condition.The lamps are several years old, and you should not expect to find them in perfect and crisp condition.
A few cracks and a missing piece of glass are acceptable. Therefore, a lamp with a few indentations in its shade is still valuable and commands high prices.
However, missing, resoldered and replaced tiles are of concern. For the bases, it's important that you consider repaired elements, wear to the surface, and rewiring.
It would be best to inspect the Tiffany lamps for signs of restoration while adding them to your collection.The signs of restoration may be difficult to detect, but older restorations tend to be less seamless than newer ones.
Restoration, if done well, may not affect the value of the Tiffany lamp, but it's better to go for an antique with original parts.Proper maintenance also helps in preserving the beauty and value of the lamp.
Therefore, after adding a Tiffany lamp to your collection, you can preserve its uniqueness by cleaning it regularly and avoiding direct sunlight, which can help prevent damage.
There are fake Tiffany lamps out there, and you need to be aware of that fact when adding the lamps to your collection.The fakes have varying degrees of quality, and it can be hard to tell a good fake from an original. Some of them also have the 'Tiffany Studios' mark.
Therefore, you need to look closely at the lamp's condition and design to determine whether it's an original or a fake.You can examine the pattern, patina, and quality of glass and bronze casting to confirm a Tiffany lamp's originality.
At the time of their creation, Tiffany lamps were very fashionable among the society in New York.Today, unique antiques are still highly sought by collectors.
The lamps are versatile and work in different settings and not only in your antique-filled home.They are a unique work of art, and just like a painting, they fit in different settings and can be your room's focal point.
You can use Tiffany lamps for all your functional spaces, including your bedroom, living room, study room, kitchen, and dining room.
For example, the Tiffany lamp for the bedroom has warm and soft lighting and creates a soothing environment for relaxation and sleep.The ingenious design of the lamp for the bedroom below shows a colorful effect under the warm light.
Marks and Tags of Authenticity
Most authentic Tiffany lamps have the 'Tiffany Studios' mark of authenticity.However, it should not be the only parameter you use to assess the lamp's originality before adding it to your collection.
Some reproductions have the mark, and some authentic ones do not have the marks.Therefore, it is best to closely examine the Tiffany lamps to determine authenticity and feel confident about adding them to your collection.
Unique Designs and Styles
You need to know that Tiffany lamps come in different designs when choosing lamps to add to your collection. Also, you need to know that the Tiffany lampshades feature vibrant colors and elaborate details.
The popularity of Tiffany shades led to the mass production of many designs. Back then, once the artisans established a basic design, they could introduce different versions with variations in the following:
- Color palette
- Type of glass
A wide mixture of original Tiffany lamps represents different times in which Louis Comfort Tiffany tried out different colorways, types of glass, and silhouettes.There are distinct categories of shade designs that you need to know about.
For example, the floral design combines both floral and geometric shades. It includes globe-shaped lampshades of basic design with a floral touch.The floral motifs used in the shades include dogwood, peonies, poppies, daffodils, and tulips.
Tiffany lamps are unique functional objects and are focal points of your spaces.They have intricate organic patterns, high-quality stained glass, and harmony in their color palettes, making them a valuable addition to your antique collection.
During this season, you can choose a Tiffany lamp of a specific style or size. For example, you can choose a Tiffany table lamp, wall lamp, pendant lamp, ceiling lamp, or a Tiffany floor lamp and add it to your collection.
Adding a Tiffany lamp to your collection will make you appreciate its brilliance. Also, you will enjoy how its lighting ends with context and character to your classic space.
The lamp will harmoniously blend with your modern motifs and other beautiful elements of home décor.If you also want to buy Tiffany lamps, but don't know how to choose, you can read the buying guide: Tiffany Style Bedroom Lamps Buying Guide