malachite Glass

Malachite Glass: the
Bimini glass Glass Encyclopedia

malachite glass example
above: Malachite Glass
with "praying mantiss"!

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Malachite Glass
Malachite Glass: A short explanation

Malachite is a green copper carbonate mineral which occurs naturally and has concentric layers. It polishes to a high gloss and is used for ornaments. Malachite glass is intended to look like malachite, or more generally, to look like marble.

The term was used by many glassworks in the 19th century, each with their own variation on the theme.

The Loetz factory in Austria introduced their Marmorierte glass (imitation stone) in "Malachite" in the 1880's. This was green with clear or white streaks and a gold enamelled pattern, and was continued until 1910. There was also a dark amber variant.

Most of the glassworks in the North East of England during the 1880's and 1890's (Davidson's, Greener's, Sowerby) produced pressed glass with white streaks to imitate marble. They called it either marble glass or malachite glass or marble vitro-porcelain. The Sowerby catalogs offer "brown malachite", as well as purple, blue, or green. Today this glass is often termed "slag glass".

The term "Malachite Glass" is used today to describe the glass shown in the vase with semi-nude ladies, above left, which is imported from Bohemia in large quantities. It is made in a range of qualities from cheap and glossy machine-pressed versions to good quality hand-finished items.

Most of the molds for Bohemian malachite glass were designed by Curt Schlevogt in the 1930's and first produced under the name "Ingrid" by the Riedel glassworks. They have been continuously produced since that time, with only a short break during the second world war. Originally offered in jade green and lapis blue, they have since been made in a wide range of colours.

It is very difficult to tell the difference between an original Riedel "Ingrid" piece and a good quality contemporary piece from the same moulds. Some writers have referred to the quality of handwork on the originals as an indicator. However the vase at the top left of this page has very high quality hand-finishing, including a sheen on the prominent parts of the design, that I have been told is too labour-intensive for today's production. Yet it carries a label referring to "Malachite Glass Made in Bohemia Czech Republic". The reference to the Czech Republic dates it to very recent years. Perhaps we can only identify "Ingrid" pieces by their labels.

There is an identical vase illustrated in "Moser-Artistry in Glass" by Baldwin & Carno, which is marked "Moser Karlsbad".

Incidentally, there is a praying mantiss in the picture above who was exploring my green glass collection. These are very popular insects here in New Zealand (they eat smaller insects) and this one seems to think he blends in with the background!

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