This sale is for all six strands of gradated mercury glass beads strung on wire. Please note that the beads have imperfections in the way of discoloration and wear to the surface of the glass. Some chips may be present, too. Please examine the photos closely and do let me know if you would like more photographs as I will be happy to oblige.
I am dating these conservatively as being circa 1930s.
The connected piece measures 16" in total.
The other strands measure 9", 8 ¾", 10", 9", and 8 ¾". Please note these measurements are approximations since the wires are bent.
Thank you to https://www.homesandantiques.com/antiques/collecting-guides-antiques/the-history-of-mercury-glass-and-how-to-start-your-collection/ for the following information on mercury glass:
Made for show rather than practicality, mercury glass, ‘poor man’s silver’, or silvered glass as it is more accurately termed, usually has nothing to do with mercury, and varies in quality from skilfully made elegant works, to cheap reproductions you might find in a boot fair or brocante for a few pounds.
How is mercury glass made?
The metallic effect requires an intricate process. ‘It involves blowing a double-walled glass object, then filling the gap between the layers with silver-coloured metal. Usually this is made from a mixture of silver nitrate and glucose or grape juice, which helps the metal to adhere to the glass wall. Excess metal is then poured away and the gap sealed in some way. In England, a metal disc was often used; elsewhere you might find glass or even paper,’ explains glass expert Mark West.
When did mercury glass first become popular?
The heyday for this type of glass came in the mid 19th century. ‘The technique was patented by Edward Varnish and Frederick Hale Thomson in 1849. Thomas Lund was another key maker of the time,’ says Mark. ‘These pieces were beautifully made from heavy lead glass, often elaborately decorated, sometimes with overlaid coloured glass cut back to reveal the silvery metal beneath, and they were typically sealed with metal discs that were signed.’ A display of mercury glass items at the 1851 Great Exhibition met with great acclaim and, for the next decade or so, fashionable well-to-do buyers proudly displayed silvered glass candlesticks, vases and bowls in their homes.
The fashion also took hold in Germany, Bohemia, France and Belgium. ‘German ones were roughly contemporary but slightly second division – they continued to be made for longer, so there are more around. America also produced silvered glass. A patent was registered in 1855 and silvered glass was exhibited in America at the New Crystal Palace exhibition by the New England Glass Company.’
But as the century progressed quality began to wain. ‘Numerous small French factories made mercury glass in vast quantities but very inferior quality. Candlesticks, Madonnas, vases, handles and doorknobs were produced for sale in fairgrounds and less exclusive shops. This type of glass is much lighter in weight when you handle it. The seals were normally just made from paper and have usually disappeared. As a result, the metal inside has nearly always deteriorated badly from exposure to a damp atmosphere and looks mottled. ‘They’re not just distressed, they’re abandoned!’ says Mark. ‘Compared with English mercury glass, French items are far less desirable. They don’t have the same aesthetic appeal or technical skill, although if you like the distressed look, displayed in a group they do look attractive.’
Thank you for looking.
Collection of Sales Tax
New York State residents, please read this concerning the collection of state taxes. As a New York state based business, I must comply with legal requirements to collect a sales tax from any resident of the state of New York who is purchasing anything from my shop.
Because of the variation in sales tax throughout of the state, I am charging a flat rate of 8.875% on purchases made by residents of New York state.
At this time, I am offering free shipping within the United States for orders $35.00 and over. If you are outside of the U.S., please contact me for a shipping quote.
I do ship internationally. If you don't see postage for your country listed, please contact me.
Customs Fees (Foreign Customers Only)
Duties, taxes, and customs clearance fees may be levied once the item you've purchased arrives in your country. The item may be held at the post office until you pay the required fees. I am unable to calculate what you will have to pay once your item has arrived in your country as this is up to your country's postal service.
Third Party Shipping
I do not ship to third party shipping companies. Please know that if you have something shipped to a third party shipping company without my knowledge, the item is not insured or covered for any loss or damage. I'll be happy to ship anywhere in the world. Just ask!
Just contact me within: 3 days of delivery
Ship items back to me within: 7 days of delivery
Request a cancellation within: 12 hours of purchase
But please contact me if you have any problems with your order.
Because of the nature of these items, unless they arrive damaged or defective, I can't accept returns for:
Please contact me if you have any problems with your order.
If you're unhappy with your purchased item, you may return it for a refund of the purchase price of the item. Please contact me within three days of the delivery of your item. You have seven days from the delivery of your item to ship it back. Upon the item's return, I will issue a refund for the purchase price of the item to the buyer as long as the item is in the condition in which it was when it left my shop. Buyer satisfaction is my #1 priority so if there's a problem, please let me know what I can do to make things right.