Things You'll Need:
- Soft towel
- Magnifying glass
- Pen and paper
- “Crystal Stemware Identification Guide,” B. Page and D. Frederiksen (1997), recommended
Because there are so many pieces of authentic crystal vases made by a variety of manufacturers, the job of identifying patterns in crystal vases can be challenging even with the proper resources. Knowing whether a crystal vase is genuine crystal or just cut glass is another part of the identification process. Learning the specific name of the pattern that's in the crystal vase can be engaging. Once you identify the crystal vase pattern, you might be surprised to learn how much the crystal vase could be worth. Some crystal vases, such as Waterford vases, are very valuable.
Hold the vase up to the light with both hands, securely. Move the vase around in the light to see whether you can locate any colors of pinks, blues, greens or violet refracted in it. If so, it's perhaps genuine crystal rather than just cut glass.
Place the vase upside down or on its side on top of a soft towel on top of a table. Make sure the vase doesn't roll off the table and towel.
Look at the bottom of the crystal vase with a magnifying glass. Try to find any maker’s signatures, hallmarks or sticker labels.
Write down the name of the maker’s signature, hallmark or label on the bottom of the crystal vase if there is one. If there's no hallmark or label on the bottom of the vase, draw a picture and write a brief description of the patterns on the crystal vase on the paper with pen.
Thumb through the "Crystal Stemware Identification Guide" and try to find the same exact pattern or maker’s name in the guide book that's on the crystal vase that you're trying to identify. If you can't find the exact same crystal vase pattern in the identification guide, try to find one that's as close to the pattern of your crystal vase as possible, and write down the name and information about the maker.
- If all else fails, try taking digital pictures of the crystal vase and posting them to online crystal identification and collecting websites and forums. Ask questions. Hopefully, other website forum members can provide some identification and information of your crystal vase. Write to the manufacturer for additional information. Include a photo of the crystal vase, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope.
- Be careful how you handle the crystal vase so that it doesn't accidentally break or chip while you're trying to examine the pattern and maker of it.
Mike Marcoe is a writer/editor with more than 19 years of experience. His clients have included the Educated Investor, the University of Wisconsin, New York Life, the "Encyclopedia of Personal Finance," "Your Retirement Watch" and "The Internet Review of Books." He works as the content manager for a financial education software firm and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Wisconsin.