How to Identify Vintage Crystal Stemware

By Meredith Jameson ; Updated April 12, 2017
Crystal stemware has been a status symbol for many years

Crystal stemware has been a symbol of class, style and wealth for hundreds of years. Long a popular wedding gift, crystal stemware often marked the owner as being wealthy and dignified, as the lower classes typically could not afford such luxury. Vintage crystal stemware was made by a variety of companies, including Fostoria, Federal Glass Company, Lenox and Waterford. While some of these companies continue to produce crystal stemware, there are a few tricks to correctly identify vintage crystal stemware.

Stop by your local library or bookstore to educate yourself about vintage crystal stemware from reference books such as “Crystal Stemware Identification Guide” by Bob Page and Dale Frederiksen or “Stems: Basic Types of Stemware, History and Pattern Attributions” by Concette Emanuele.

View common patterns from manufacturers of vintage crystal stemware to help identify specific items. One such website is Click on the “Crystal” tab and then search the alphabetical listings for manufacturer names, such as Anchor Hocking, Fostoria, Cambridge Glass, Central Glass, Duncan and Miller Glass, Lenox Crystal, Jeanette Glass and Libbey Glass.

Look for crystal stemware in a variety of colors, such as pink, green, yellow, amber and blue. These colors are a distinctive Depression-era style and were manufactured by companies such as Fostoria, Anchor Hocking and Cambridge Glass.

Search for crystal stemware with detailed, geometric etchings and designs on the crystal. These items were highly popular during the early 1900s, defined as the “Brilliant” period in stemware history, and were used as a status symbol and for wedding gifts among the upper class.

Check for a manufacturer’s name or symbol on the bottom of the item. While most vintage crystal stemware is unmarked, a few items will bear the maker’s mark. If you are unsure of the name or symbol on the stemware, view online galleries of glass makers marks at a website such as Just Glass (see Resources).

Things Needed

  • Library access
  • Computer

About the Author

Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.