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Treasures: Coralene vase may be Bohemian, may be Webb

This vase is decorated with little glass beads, a style called coralene.
This vase is decorated with little glass beads, a style called coralene. TNS

Q: What is this 9-inch-tall Webb coralene vase worth? I would appreciate your input.

S. N.

A: We are wondering how N. determined this particular coralene vase was made by Thomas Webb & Sons, which can trace its origins to John Webb (1774-1835) and the Whitehouse Glassworks of Wordsley, England.

Thomas Webb & Sons made some very fine Victorian art glass, including peach blow, cameo glass and alexandrite. Webb also purchased a license to make “Burmese” glass from the Mount Washington Glass Co. of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Queen Victoria said the color of the glass reminded her of a Burmese sunrise. That type of ware shades from a delicate pink to a soft yellow — a phenomena that occurs when a portion of the glass is reheated causing the yellow to turn pink. The piece of glass in today’s question appears in the photograph to shade from yellow to pink but it is not heat-shaded Burmese because it has a white lining on the interior.

Coralene was invented by German glassmaker Arthur Schoerholz, who in 1883 patented a method for making ornamental glassware by painting designs on the surface of glass with a sort of sticky enamel, then applying glass beads and heating the glass until the enamel melted and the beads were fused to the surface. Very quickly other patents were issued and Bohemian glass makers began selling products they called “Coral Beaded,” “Coralene Beaded” and “Beaded Glassware.”

Many, many glassmakers made coralene glass, and unless a piece is signed, it is hard to ascribe it to a particular maker. This lovely piece could be Webb, and it could be signed, but when we looked at the photographs, we had some serious doubts about its place of origin.

Very little glassware made by Thomas Webb & Sons was actually signed, but we still might have been able to help more if we could have seen a photograph of the bottom — specifically the pontil. When the piece of glass was finished and ready to go into the annealing oven for a slow cooldown, the iron rod used as a handle was broken off the bottom. The rod is a “punty” and the mark it left is called a “pontil.” With much Bohemian-made glass, this area is left rough, but many companies outside Bohemia — including Webb — polished it out resulting in a smooth, round area.

If the piece in today’s question has a rough pontil, it is probably Bohemian; if is smooth, it may be Webb, but not necessarily. The current insurance replacement value on this piece is probably between $350 and $400.

Write to Joe Rosson, 2504 Seymour Ave., Knoxville, TN 37917, or email treasures@knology.net. Include a high-resolution, in-focus photo of the subject.

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