How Cool is Mercury Glass?!

I grew up with antique mercury glass goblets on the mantlepiece in the living room — and like so many things we all grow up seeing every day, mercury glass became something that just had to be a part of my own home.
Maybe it was because added light to the room when candles were lit, maybe it was because it was silver in the room that didn’t have to be polished…whatever the reason, mercury glass can add a great deal to a room and it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.

So what is it? Antique Mercury glass is double walled and silvered between the layers with a liquid silvering compound, and then its sealed.  It’s called mercury glass because mercury used to be used to make glass reflective for mirrors and it was originally produced from the mid 1800s until 1930 in what is now the Czech Republic.  It was also made in Germany and in England until around 1855.



Candlesticks, vases, goblets and more were decorated with a variety of techniques including painting, enameling, etching, and engraving. The original “mercury” glass is considered the first “art glass” in that it was simply decorative, not for actual utilitarian use.

Nowadays, there are plenty of reproductions currently calling themselves “mercury glass” as lamps, table decorations, etc.  It’s easy to see if it’s new “mercury glass” rather than antique. Look for


1. lack of a double wall, and

2.  a solid bottom (the bottom of antique usually has a small hole. That’s where the liquid silver compound went in) and is not flat on the bottom.



But whether its antique or not, it will add a ton to a room or table — just imagine the table in the picture below with candlelight reflecting…
With the holidays approaching — take a look around for some mercury glass.  The newer glass isn’t expensive, there are even ways to make it yourself. Just google DIY mercury glass — who knew?!