Monday, October 27, 2014

'Flambeau' from the Roaring 20s

If only an object could talk. Wandering through a local warehouse-sized antique store, I spied an object that practically reached out an imaginary arm and pulled me over with a command to "buy me!" As much as I adore antiques, I rarely have this type of encounter, and as a shopper on a very low budget, I've not allowed it to happen. But this was fate - kismet in its purest form, because the item of beauty was also beckoning from the discount shelf!

It was just one martini/cocktail glass, its siblings long gone. One very special glass that had seen better days, but still had that air of glamour and mystery, and wore it proudly. Upon closer inspection, it jumped out as one of the most intricate examples of Art Deco finery that I have ever encountered. And that's saying a lot after growing up in Cincinnati (Union Terminal and the Netherland Plaza just to name a couple.)

The glass of the cup portion is flame red, but opaque, like tinted milk glass. The stem is similarly opaque, but black as night. The bottom of the stem has a rim of metal circling it that matches the filigree decoration adorning the cup. And what an adornment it is: the iconic leaping gazelle, framed in a circle that it surrounded by an intricate maze of angled and swirling designs. Previous handling has peeled some of the metal away, but you can still see the design left underneath. What a gorgeous beauty it must have been in its heyday!
Researching this one has been difficult. I can find no mark on the glass or in the metal appliqué. Describing it in a search engine brought up everything but this style. I have yet to see another just like it. The closest I could find is a sale on Ebay for one that does not include the metal design. In reviewing pieces of similar design, (red opaque glass with metal appliqué) the closest I can find is a series made by the Pairpoint Glass Company, referred to as 'flambeau' from the 1920s and 30s.

If it is a piece made by this company, the metal is probably silver overlay, which makes it an even more unique object. My romantic self assumes such craftsmanship was ordered by a wealthy family who gave many elegant parties...again, if this glass could talk...I'm sure it could share some amazing stories.

Of course, the memory it would like to forget is being relegated to the sale shelf with a $2.00 price tag. Yes, that's right $2.00....the poor thing. I have rescued it from that extreme embarrassment and have it displayed prominently in my corner curio. No longer a citizen on the island of misfit antiques. Back to a place of prominence, where she clearly belongs.


Jim Marven said...

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