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Cut glass refers to any glass piece that has been decorated with patterns or motifs incised on the surface by hand through grinding, rotating wheels. This meticulous technique virtually guarantees a scintillating sparkle, explaining why authentic cut glass is such a beloved art form.
The tradition of cut glass can be traced to the 16th century B.C. in Egypt, where diligent glassmakers developed a technique for drilling patterns in the surface of glass. Spreading through the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean and eventually transmitted into Europe, the cut glass tradition consistently grew in popularity, but it was not until it arrived in North America in the late 1700s that tradition expanded exponentially.
By the end of the 19th century, American producers, from The T.G. Hawkes company to the Liberty Glass company, were showcasing novel lines of cut glass designs with motifs more elegant and complex than many of their European competitors. The delicacy of their designs, combined with the quality their craftsman, captivates collectors as much today as a century ago.
Though the tradition of cut glass is ancient, the technique did not arrive in England until the early 1700s and finally made it to North America by the end of that century
Late 19th-century American cut glass producers were among the most acclaimed at world's fairs. T.G. Hawkes, for example, won for two patterns he presented at the Parisian Exposition Universelle in 1889
True cut glass is cut by hand. An easy test for the authenticity of cut glass is by black light: if a piece fluoresces under the light, then you most likely have an authentic piece