Baccarat is famous French crystal with a 250-year history. Started in 1764 with soda glass and utilitarian or industrial production, Baccarat produced windowpanes, mirrors and stemware. Baccarat changed to lead crystal production with the 1816 purchase of Baccarat by d’Artigues. By 1823, Baccarat won a gold medal at the Paris National Exhibition for lead crystal production. It is the lead crystal for which Baccarat is famous.
Turn the Baccarat crystal over and check it with a magnifying glass for an etched mark with a stem, a decanter and a drink glass in a circle. The name, Baccarat, and France, appears around the circle. Baccarat registered this mark in 1860, according to Anne Geffken Pullin’s “Glass Signatures Trademarks and Trade Names.” The mark is still in use.
Check the item all over for a Baccarat label. Baccarat has used a label on its products in recent years.
Identify the pattern and determine when it was available for sale. For example, one of the most popular patterns of stemware, Massena, was first available in the U.S. in 1979, according to Baccarat. Baccarat jewelry was first available for sale in 1993. Baccarat made the first perfume in the Tales From Faraway Lands series in 1997.
Identify the designer and when he worked for Baccarat. Georges Chevalier designed a series of crystal animal figures issued in the 1930s. American designer Barbara Barry developed Tranquility tall glasses and tumblers as well as other tableware in 2000. Roberto Sambonet first designed for Baccarat in 1972 and Van Day Truex created designs for Baccarat in 1974.
Check the style. Cube shapes in Baccarat crystal were popular in the Art Deco 1920s and again in the 1950s. The Venetian glass influence shows in the 1960s Baccarat crystal. Baccarat is fashionable crystal and the designs keep up with fashion and style.
Review the information gleaned from examining the item for the acid-etched mark, the paper label, pattern, designer and style to determine an approximate date Baccarat made the item. Confirm your estimated date by comparing your item with line drawings on a website, such as Replacements, Ltd.
Look carefully at a paperweight. Baccarat paperweights usually have a cane that gives the year of production inside the paperweight design. Paperweights have been a tradition with Baccarat.
Baccarat is heavy, clear quality crystal without obvious seams or flaws. If your piece is not high quality, it is not Baccarat even if it is marked with a label or an acid etch.
- "Glass -- Art Nouveau to Art Deco"; Victor Arwas; 1977
- Replacements Ltd.: Baccarat Crystal
Linda Richard has been a legal writer and antiques appraiser for more than 25 years, and has been writing online for more than 12 years. Richard holds a bachelor's degree in English and business administration. She has operated a small business for more than 20 years. She and her husband enjoy remodeling old houses and are currently working on a 1970s home.