If you had to pick just one genre of decor to collect for the rest of your days, which would it be and why is it glassware?
What makes glassware a solid "desert island" choice of decor is it's a broad enough category to include vases, lamps, stemware, tableware, storage, and more — keep scrolling and we'll prove it. Beyond these applications, the material literally shines as art objet: depending on the degree of translucence and transparency, glassware adds dimension to and distributes light throughout your space, much in the way mirrors and lamps do. The myriad raw materials (such as sand, soda ash, and limestone) and techniques (like glass-blowing, sand-blasting, or mechanical pressing) that comprise glass-making produce some stunning variation in shape and color. It's this variation that makes glassware endlessly collectible, the kind of assortment you arrange and proudly display to make your end table, étagère, or bar cart sing.
As I began compiling our picks for the most stunning (and available!) vintage glassware, I noticed a pattern: the selection was shaping up to be a brightly-hued bunch, a rainbow-colored array of glass baubles, vessels, and stems. My gut explanation for this is that I was naturally drawn to colorful glassware for its ability to elicit joy. If we look to history, we'll see this proven: in the midst of economic hardship in the US in the 1930s, colorful molded glassware was mass produced inexpensively to stimulate the glass industry and provide jobs. As a result, depression glassware filled people's homes with vibrant hues, a much-needed mood boost in dreary financial times. Sound familiar?
The more formal criteria considered for this selection boils down to beauty and utility: Is the objet a visual delight? Does it check more than one box, serve more than one function? See our picks that fit the mold (get it?) below.