Hopefully it passes our test. Tiffany lamps are coveted. By definition, they are a type of lamp with a glass shade made with glass designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his design studio. The most famous was the stained leaded glass lamp. Tiffany lamps are considered part of the Art Nouveau movement. At The Light Switch, we have a vast selection of Tiffanys in stock. We also are happy to repair them. But, are you questioning whether the one you own, or the one you are about to purchase is authentic? Read on and we’ll help you determine that. First, turn the lamp over and look under the base. Lift the cap and look for a grey metal ring. The original Tiffany lamps were made with a heavy ring made from lead inside a hollow bronze (or sometimes enameled or mosaic) base. Reproduction lamps tend to use brass, zinc, white metal, wood or even plastic bases instead.
The original bronze (or similar metal) base should have a patina, i.e. a brownish or greenish film on the surface of the metal that occurs naturally as a result of oxidation over a long period. While these small color changes should indicate that the lamp is an original Tiffany, beware that some forgeries may have fake patina. It’s important to carefully inspect the quality of the workmanship of lamp base, as this should give you a good indication of whether or not the lamp is real. A genuine Tiffany lamp base will ooze quality, while cheaper reproductions use inferior materials such as zinc, resin or hard plastic, and shoddy workmanship.Stamps or signatures may be a sign of authenticity, but you need to know what you’re looking for. Tiffany’s marking system consists of cuttings or etchings in the lamp base which changed over the years and is therefore easy to copy. Don’t rely on this one feature.While you’re looking at the lamp base, pay attention to the knobs. Genuine antique Tiffany lamps will either have a turn-paddle knob for operating the lamp or, in some cases, pull chains may have been used. Next, turn your attention to the iconic stained glass shade. Authentic Tiffany lamp shades should be either globe or cone shaped and ‘flow’ organically. Fake reproductions tend to have a more rigid form. In terms of the motifs used, botanical designs, geometric patterns, dragonflies, butterflies, peacock feathers and spiders were all popular designs. Now, hold the top of the lampshade and tap the glass lightly. Is the glass loose or does it rattle? If it does, this is typically an indication that the lamp is a fake, according to Tiffany lamp experts.Keep in mind, Tiffany lamps are famous for the vibrant colors and varied textures used in the glass design. Inspect the glass closely and see if you can spot tiny specks of color – known as ‘confetti’ glass – a sure fire sign that the lamp is genuine.Golden glass pieces should have a translucent, amber sheen to them in order to be authentic. A pale, translucent gold color, or even a green tint, on the other hand, is a sign of fakery, as is a silver sheen on other glass colors.Finally, to be sure of the authenticity of the glass used, dab a cotton swab in nail polish remover and gently run it over the glass. With real Tiffany lamps, the pigment is embedded and won’t rub off, while fake Tiffany glass will have been painted, and the paint will come off when rubbed.
We hope this email brings you well and that you are able to determine if your lamp is real, or that you learned something from this article. We would love to see you at The Light Switch sometime. We are open six days a week at 2178 NE 123rd Street, North Miami, Florida 33181.