Glass bowls have been used on a practical level for generations and many have become fine collectible items. Glass bowl enthusiasts are not opposed to visit antique shops, yard sales, flea markets and estate sales in search of valued glass bowls to add to their collections. Collectors learn to recognize collectible bowls by color, design, size and other markings. Collectible glass bowls make great decoration and are still widely available if you know what you're looking for and where to search.
Waterford Crystal is a brand that has been around since 1783. The crystal was, until recently, made in Ireland. Waterford Crystal is marked as such, typically on the bottom of each piece, and is usually very heavy. Waterford Crystal can be hard to find and is costly. Waterford chandeliers hang in Windsor castle and Westminster Abbey. While Waterford Crystal is not technically glass, many glass bowl collectors add these pieces to their collection.
Carnival glass has been in circulation since it first appeared in the early twentieth century. Carnival glass is pressed and characterized by its wide range of iridescent colors. Carnival glass was initially created to be both practical and decorative. Today, carnival glass is sought after by many collectors.
Milk glass is hand blown, opaque and comes in a variety of colors. Milk glass bowls have been around since the 19th century and began in Venice. Milk glass is actually a relatively new term. Milk glass bowls, especially the white ones, were referred to as opal glass in the 19th century due the the resemblance to opals.
Depression glass is so named because it was produced during the Depression era, between the late 20s through the early 40s. Depression glass is easy to spot because the quality is poor. Air bubbles and other flaws can usually be found. Depression glass comes in a wide variety of patterns and colors and is a desired collectible.
Flint glass was the predecessor to lead crystal and contained a high lead content. Old flint glass bowls are rare collectibles and are very hard to find. Like crystal, flicking the side of a flint glass bowl produces a ping that indicates it is authentic. Newer flint glass uses additives other than lead. Flint glass is highly refractive.