The history of paperweights can be traced as far back as ancient Egypt where discovered
artifacts and drawings inside pyramids showed their existence. It wasn’t until the mid 1800’s
in Europe when they started to become more showcased and popular.
During that time, Europe was undergoing the Industrial Revolution and, subsequently, there was a developing middle class.
Possessions of color & other decorative artwork were important for status and social acceptance. At
that time, World Trade Fairs were being held every few years in major cities throughout the world such as Paris, London, &
New York. These Trade Fairs played an important role in commerce by introducing new items and technology.
Communication was also improving and free trade between nations was in its infancy.
One of the greatest of the World Fairs was the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, England. Featuring over
100,000 exhibits and lasting 5 months, the fair attracted over 6 million visitors from around the world! It
was here where paperweights were 1st exhibited by the French Clichy Glass factory. Clear
glass domes surrounded a display. They were so impressive that they took top honors.
The postal service had started and, in England, the repeal
of the paper tax made stationary & envelopes more affordable. Letter writing to family & friends
became very fashionable and, hence, a strong market developed for stationary décor, accessories,
& assorted novelties. This was how & where paperweights made their entry into the marketplace.
clear glass dome that surrounds a paperweight serves many of the same functions as the canvas painted on by an artist as well
as a magnifying effect to enhance the inside display. Soon after the French, Bohemian glass workers polished
their techniques & craftsmanship, and they entered the market with very unique creative décor.
hundreds of glass factories operated in France during the mid 1800s, only 4 achieved to produce the highest quality paperweights.
They were the Baccarat, Clichy, Pantin, & Saint Louis glass factories. Paperweights
were able to hold onto their share & interest in the market primarily because they were high quality, small, & moderately
priced. Production peaked in Europe about 1851 where, during the Classic Period (1845-1860), it is estimated
that about 50,000-100,000 fine paperweights were made. In the United States, only 2 major paperweight manufacturers
existed, the New England Glass Company and the Sandwich Glass Company, both in Massachusetts around Boston.
Paperweights were rediscovered in the mid 1900s after nearly a full century of lackluster interest. The
introduction of full-leaded crystal inspired numerous designers of paperweight manufacturers. In 1973,
Swarovski, the leading crystal manufacturer in the world (and still is), broke new ground by introducing a full-leaded crystal
paperweight for the 12th Olympic Winter Games, held in Innsbruck in his homeland of Austria, as a commemorating
event item. It was a very popular seller.
Our paperweights, here at Crystal Emporium,
are made of the finest full-leaded crystal in the world. We carry a large variety of geometric shapes
in many great colors & sizes along with many eclectic interesting conversation display pieces!
We strive to find the highest quality crystal paperweights out there at fantastic deals in order to keep our prices
low. Check out our gallery and see why we have many satisfied & repeat customers!