Glass Lamp Shades


Update: 04/18/2012

Check out our new discovery of a simple but hugely effective decorative item: the stained light bulb. It makes simple lamps into objects of conversation.

Update: 04/09/2011

One of the ways you can get your hand on a rare Tiffany lamp, or perhaps any antique glass lamp shade, is to attend an estate auction. Estate auctions are most often held when the survivors of a deceased person find that they have little interest in keeping the items left behind, but must find a place to put them quickly because of a pending move.

Sometimes the survivors cannot even agree on the details of the sale, in which case a court may be asked to decide on holding the sale and subsequently parceling out the proceeds to the survivors. It is not unusual to find Tiffany lamp shades, candle sticks, and other fine housewares at estate auctions. Also check out our new article about custom lamp shades.

Introduction to Glass Lamp Shades

Glass lamp shades (sometimes known as glass light shades) come in myriad styles, price points, colors and sizes. Glasswork itself is a highly expressive art form, limited by a few requirements in symmetry of the structure of the final lamp shade, but otherwise unlimited in decorative adornments and coloring. These lamp shades have entered our popular lexicon for art, such as the revered Tiffany creations and Handel products.


Historically, glass lamp shades were made by expert artisans. First raw vitreous material was melted and then gathered at the end of a blow pipe. This is heated and rolled for symmetry, at which point the craftsman would blow into the pipe to inflate the blob. Continued rolling, heating and shaping with metal tools gave rise to the final shape of the glass lamp shade. Coloring with crushed coloring materials was also common. The Tiffany styles are a good example of stained glass lamp shades, usually characterized by a vivid panels or spots of additional vitreous substances.

A Wealth of Selections

Nowadays, we are fortunate to have access to fine lamp shades of every sort. Victorian glass lamp and gas shades that are reminiscent of a bygone, elegant era, can be purchased and placed in a home, or outside a home for a classy, unique effect. Standing lamps can be fitted with a torchiere in the reading room. Walls can be decorated with sconces, which are not really shades, but certainly are home lighting elements with an artistic touch. The kinds of shapes are unlimited too - some names that are helpful to know is the hurricane lamp shade, cone lamp shade, cylinder shade, and student shade.

Antique Lamp Shades

If one is not interested in conventional lighting, why not consider a real antique glass lamp shade? Some antique lamps, because they were hand-made, are far more durable than modern materials. The hand-made ones could be cooled slow enough to ensure great resistance to fracturing. Since the supplies are so limited and discerning individuals are clamoring for these pieces, the prices have continued to remain high. However, consider the purchase of an antique an investment for the future. Like handmade furniture, the durability and quality mean that the prices are actually quite reasonable. Antique is a term that may have broad meaning. Although 20th century styles such as art deco shades are not antique, they do have historical appeal.

Expert Glasswork

Although in the past glasswork was considered an expensive product controlled by the guild of blowers and artisan workers , nowadays outsourcing of production has made it possible to buy from a very reasonable price range. High quality hand-produced shades are still available from specialty stores, even online. But for those on a budget, it's possible to buy much more economical glass lamp shades usually from overseas producers.

Replacement Glass Lamp Shades

Because of their distinctiveness and possibly their high value, many people opt to repair their glasswares when it becomes broken. Some products are brittle due to insufficient annealing or prefracturing from improper handling. When such things are broken, a skilled artisan is able to piece it together with almost no visible defects suggesting former breakage. If repair is impossible, consider sourcing someone to make replacement glass lamp shades.



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