I’ve been waiting patiently to get my hands on some of my family’s artefacts from our residency in Singapore. In particular this mercury glass ice bucket and glass set. It always looked glamorous and it’s still one of my favourite pieces. I’ve seen this type of set used on Mad Men, it looks as chic there as it does on our family’s table when it’s used. We tend to bring it out on special occasions. Little did I know mercury glass was created to mimic silverware by candlelight in the mid-1800’s. Also known as silver glass, it contains neither mercury nor silver. In fact, it’s actually clear glass with a double wall and coated with a silvering formula.
Don’t Call It A Comeback
It first gained popularity in Germany, then made it’s way to England and France. There, it became widely popular and produced vases, goblets and spittoons. Critics felt it didn’t look like silver at all and slowly fell out of fashion. Today it’s having a revival and is highly collectable. Since the turn of the century, prices have increased, but you can still pick up mercury glass for a reasonable amount. Some of the best places to find mercury glass are estate sales, second-hand shops, and they can come up at auction. Do your research first, some prices are inflated and if you’re not in a hurry and you love a hunt, scout around for mercury glass that fits your budget.
Collecting Mercury Glass
One of the best online sites I’ve found is Etsy. There is so much choice and all the sellers are competing for the sale that you can barter the price if you find duplicates at varied price points. Another great place to find mercury glass is Ebay, again a lot of competitive sellers are on there too. Make sure to see a variety of pictures with different angles. Mercury glass can fade in some places if it wasn’t stored correctly, or someone accidentally put it in the dishwasher. You can still find mercury glass Christmas ornaments too, they make great gifts and still create that wow factor.