Identification Guides

Paperweights

Paperweights with single flowers, nosegay bouquets, and intricate mosaics captured in glass have caught collectors’ eyes since the nineteenth century. Glass paperweights debuted at an 1845 industrial exposition in Vienna. A Venetian glassmaker, Pietro Biaglia, made spherical souvenirs meant to show his abilities. A French delegate told the Saint-Louis, France, glass factory about the idea, and the factory immediately produced a selection of paperweights and desk accessories. Baccarat followed the next year. A few millefiori paperweights may have a signature cane with the company’s initials and a date. Experts can identify makers based on individual canes and overall design.

(Photo: L. H. Selman)

The Saint-Louis, France, glass factory made this fruit bouquet paperweight. The lampwork fruit can be seen on a swirling latticinio basket.