How to Identify Antique Colored Glass Cut to Clear

"Cut to clear glass" is beautiful and highly collectible.
Artisans have been cutting glass in America for well over 200 years. The majority of cut glass made in America was during the Victorian era. Carolyn M. Kleinpeter of collectibles-articles. com, writes that “In the latter part of the nineteenth century a distinctly American style of cut glass bloomed. This glass had such clarity and brilliance that it was called American Brilliant Cut Glass. ” Glass produced during the Brilliant Period from 1876 to 1906 included "cut to clear," which involves layering colored glass over clear glass and carving into the colored glass to expose the clear glass underlay. Identifying antique cut to clear glass is relatively easy if you know what to look for.

Step 1

Study a good illustrated guide to collecting glass, such as "Glass Collector Weekly." You need to become familiar with the different makers, patterns and characteristics of the glass.

Step 2

Take a trip to local flea markets and antique shops. Carefully inspect the pieces of cut to clear glass that you come across and see if you can identify the maker or the pattern.

Step 3

Pick up some of the pieces and feel the weight. Cut to clear glass produced during the Brilliant Period was made with lead. Newer glass does not use lead and isn't as heavy.

Step 4

Examine patterns. They were usually cut to show off the color of the glass. The Russian pattern, though, was an exception. A variety of colors were used as the overlay on cut to clear glass pieces. Colors such as green, blue, purple amethyst, ruby, amber and rainbow colors were commonly used.

Step 5

Inspect the bottom of the pieces. Most cut to clear glass was not signed by the maker. Brilliant cut to clear glass is usually identified by the pattern.


  • When purchasing antique glass, handle the pieces carefully and inspect them in good natural daylight or under a black light. Look for things such as chips, cracks, repairs and other flaws. Brilliant cut glass should have a beautiful and multifaceted sparkle under direct light. Antique glass will also usually show some kind of slight wear on the bottom rim.

About the Author

Sally Keller is a self-taught creative writer with a love of ad copywriting, logo and tagline creation, short article writing and research. She created all the content for the fashion website and has several published articles including "Pheromones Role in Attraction." Keller has been writing for more than 10 years. She attended Colorado State University and currently resides in Fort Collins, Colo.