Is Tiffany The Most Popular Type Of Antique Lighting?

Is Tiffany the most popular type of antique lighting? Information and tips on antique Tiffany lighting. "Tiffany Studio is noted for their stained glass work and it's the most well known name in antique...

"Tiffany Studio is noted for their stained glass work and it's the most well known name in antique lighting,"says Sharon Nunnally, who has been in the antique lighting business for 20 years and is the owner of Antique Lighting and Restoration in Denver. "It's popularity is because of the uniqueness of their stained glass lights and the great craftsmanship of the pieces. For the times that his company was in business, it was the gold standard of stained glass lighting and it always has been."


The Art Nouveau period in America was actually a shunning of the Industrial age and a time to return to hand crafted quality items. This era, which lasted from the end of the 19th century through the beginning of the 20th century. One of the names most associated with this era is Louis Comfort Tiffany.




The son of a wealthy jeweler, Louis Comfort Tiffany was born in New York City in 1848. After traveling extensively throughout Europe and North Africa, he returned to New York City. In 1879 he founded a decorative company with some friends, but he soon left the partnership to form his own company, Tiffany Studios. This company is best known for its magnificent lead glass lamps, although it made many leaded glass windows and art glass pieces.
Tiffany was fascinated with the look of old glass that had been buried for centuries is places such as Ancient Greece and Rome. He loved the iridescent patina that came with age and did many experiments with oxidation and glass as he sought to create it in new glass. A true artist, he often threw away a lot of glass before he got the look he was after and actually made something. He is credited with discovering many types of glass. He closed his factory in 1924 because the business was no longer profitable due to costs involved with production. His stores continued to carry many other items designed by him, including jewelry, silver, and glass.

Although Tiffany table lamps and floor lamps were first made in the 1890s, they were most popular between 1899 and 1916, which was the year before World War I began. Their beauty made them exceedingly popular, and homeowners were willing to ignore the fact that they really didn't give off good light for reading.

Tiffany lamp bases were made of bronze and were often shaped like tree trunks or plants. Their shades came alive with magnificent renditions of flowers and other subjects that were composed of carefully selected pieces of colored glass. Many lampshades were marked TIFFANY STUDIOS on a copper tab on the inside bottom edge.

Even though Tiffany was very prolific and made thousands of lamps, there has always been a huge demand for his works and prices have always been high. Value is determined by rarity of patterns, color, and condition. Truly rare pieces, such as a lamp with a leaded glass shade depicting a fish sell for over six figures. Those with fruit or flowers on their shades are worth a "mere" five figures.

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