Flashy geometrics made the 1920s Art Deco style, and gold trim on crystal was fashionable at the table. Shiny gold trim was not enough — glass manufacturers and decorators cut or etched a design around the rim before applying the gold. Stemware and salad or dessert plates of the 1920s may have a gold band in addition to a detailed etched design. The decorator fired the gold band in the kiln for durability, but wear with use was inevitable. Vintage crystal often has wear on the gold around the rim.
American glass companies made most of the crystal for the American table in the 1920s. Fostoria, Heisey, Cambridge, Morgantown, Tiffin and Duncan-Miller were the large producers of elegant crystal stemware for wedding gifts and special occasions. Westmoreland, Paden City and New Martinsville were not lesser quality, although not as well known. Seneca Glass made fine stemware with brocade lace and wide gold decorations. Seneca’s Decoration 503 has several gold bands and a complete flower design in windowpanes around the stemware and plates to match. Seneca lavishly decorated crystal with gold.
Some of the crystal manufacturers decorated their own stemware and plates with gold trim. Additionally, decorating companies would decorate crystal blanks produced by the manufacturers. The blanks were standard shapes without decoration when they arrived at the decorating company. They returned to the manufacturer with cuttings, etchings or gold trim — or a combination of these. Large decorating companies of the 1920s were Glastonbury-Lotus, Silver City Glass and T.G. Hawkes, famous for cut glass during the American brilliant cut glass era at the turn of the 20th century.
Plain Gold Band
The manufacturers or decorators did not name plain gold bands, but the name of the stem often changed with a gold band. For example, Fostoria produced Blank 5082 with different etchings and cuttings. The blank was the shape. With a plate etching, the stem name was Delphian. When the decorating added a coin gold band, the stem name changed to Duchess. A common blank such as Fostoria 766 could have several names. An off-rim gold decoration on the bowl and foot gave the stem the name “Cascade,” whereas a plain gold band on the bowl and foot of Blank 766 was “Decoration 15.”
Gold Band Patterns
Gold bands with etched designs have pattern names that can help identify the crystal maker as well as the decorating company. Laurel is a common gold-encrusted pattern with a leaf design often found on a Tiffin stem. Rambler Rose has three roses and two leaf sprays repeated in etching around the crystal rim before the gold application on a Tiffin or Morgantown stem. Glastonbury-Lotus decorated Duncan-Miller blanks with a brocade pattern.
- National Cambridge Collectors, Inc.: Cambridge in the 1920s — Part II
- Great American Glass of the Roaring '20s and Depression Era; James Measell and Berry Wiggins
- Florences' Glassware Pattern Identification Guide; Gene and Cathy Florence
- A Collection of American Crystal; Bob Page and Dale Frederiksen
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images