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Borrowing from the brilliant colors and luminescent finish akin to Tiffany's creations, carnival glass is a type of pressed glass. It originated in the early 20th century and is some of the most highly collectible glass on the auction market today.
The heritage of carnival glass began with Fenton Art Glass Company in Ohio in 1908. Their innovative designers created a line of glass known as Iridill, made from iridized glass that channeled the same lustrous finishes made popular in designs by companies like Tiffany Studios and Steuben Glass Works. Achieving similar luminosity to Tiffany pieces at a lower cost, Fenton's Iridill line grew in popularity and spurred others to join in the field of carnival glass
The major American producers of carnival glass, including Northwood, Dugan, and Millersburg all experienced peak production between 1910 and 1930, halting during the Great Depression. Though Fenton relaunched production in the '60s and '70s, it is these early 20th century examples that are so coveted today.
Carnival glass is also known as rainbow glass because of the remarkable range of colors incorporated. It is also known as dope glass, so named because of the doping, or treating, of the surface of the glass with a special substance to encourage luminosity
Pieces within the carnival glass family vary widely in price. Some are worth nominal amounts of money; others, like several of those produced by Northwood Company, can achieve prices close to $20,000
European producers also jumped on the popularity of carnival glass, including Eda in Sweden and South American Cristalerias Piccardo, whose 8-inch tall Jeweled Peacock Tail vase has sold for more than $1,000 in past auctions