Quick Facts About Heisey Glass:
- The Heisey factory was in business from 1896 through 1957.
- Quality glass like that produced by Heisey has been nicknamed “elegant” glass by antiques dealers and collectors.
- All Heisey glass was marked with either a raised “Diamond H” directly in the glass or with a paper sticker. Most of the stickers have been removed with cleaning and use leaving many pieces of unmarked glass for collectors to identify by other means.
- Heisey Collectors of America owns most of the old molds from this company, which helps to minimize unauthorized reproductions.
The Quality of Heisey Glass
From 1896 through 1957, exquisite glassware produced by A.H. Heisey & Co. left the factory for use in stylish American homes. This immaculate glassware endures as a fine collectible today.
In fact, many dealers categorize this type of glass as "elegant" glassware. It generally has a heavier feel and a fine finish when compared to lesser-quality molded glass lines produced through the depression era.
When new, Heisey’s elegant glass patterns were sold in upscale department stores and served as bridal registration choices for many young couples until the factory closed. At that point, production of this fine glassware ceased.
The lovely colors developed by Heisey remain true and bright as these collectibles continue to age. Even the clear glass they produced has the unmistakable feel of quality. And, the company’s etchings continue to be extremely popular since they're nothing short of exceptional.
Learning About Etchings and Blanks
Each beautiful etching produced by Heisey was given by a number, such as the #507 Orchid Etch, and features fine detail and clarity. The floral design of the Orchid pattern, along with many of the other Heisey etchings, can be easily identified once collectors become familiar with them. One point of confusion comes with the using the same etch on various "blanks."
Blanks refer to pieces before they were blessed with decoration and are often assigned numbers as well. Many times the etch has evolved into a pattern name, such as "Orchid," when listed in reference guides and the reference number identifying the blank style is provided for further identification. It’s important to keep in mind that the same etching can vary in price from blank to blank.
Some patterns, like the beautifully scalloped Crystolite and Lariat with its curly-q edging, have no etching at all in most instances. The beauty in these pieces is derived from the sheer excellence of the design and superior quality of the glass itself.
Controlling Heisey Reproductions
Fortunately for devoted fans, the nationally recognized organization Heisey Collectors of America owns many of the original molds. This helps to control reproductions introduced into the market and generally makes it harder to copy those particular pieces.
HCA does make some limited quantity special edition items for their members, but these pieces always have an HCA mark, which includes the year of reproduction. And to further prevent them from being confused with older glass, the color chosen for a limited edition piece is never one originally used by A.H. Heisey & Co. when the company first made the item.
The Heisey “Diamond H” Mark
The National Heisey Glass Museum Web site states that all pieces of Heisey were marked when they left the factory. Many had the famous capital H within a diamond mark in a raised molding directly in the glass, others simply had a paper label affixed for identification.
Paper labels were not durable with years of washing and use, so there are many unmarked pieces of Heisey currently on the secondary market. Avoid missing a great piece of Heisey for your collection by learning to recognize the etchings, blanks and colors of this gorgeous glassware. There are many good books on elegant glass that can be ordered through online booksellers, and the National Heisey Glass Museum Web site is also a good place to do further research.