With its mint green color and smooth icy look, Jade-ite's a perfect summertime collectible.
Produced by Anchor Hocking Glass, it can be found in several different patterns, including the Jane Ray, Restaurant, Alice, Charm and Swirl patterns. The term Jade-ite actually refers to the specific green color of Anchor Hocking glassware.
Today, the retro look of the mid-20th-century dinnerware attracts many fans of vintage china. With that cool opaque green tint, the creamy-looking glassware is easy to spot in shops or estate sales. It also works great with many of today's color schemes and decorating trends.
A perfect example of summer’s cool Jade-ite dinner ware is this luncheon plate.
A perfect example of summer’s cool Jade-ite dinner ware is this creamer set.
A perfect example of summer’s cool Jade-ite dinner ware is this set of bowls.
But beware of reproductions and shop with reliable dealers to be sure that you're getting true Jade-ite and not a fake.
Many pieces are marked on the bottom with the Fire King name, the marketing name under which Anchor Hocking sold this heat-resistant glassware. Jade-ite has a clean modern look and that's why it's been reproduced recently. Because it's relatively inexpensive, though, true Jade-ite remains an affordable treasure that you won't feel guilty using.
Anchor Hocking has made tons of glassware including dishes, tumblers, ovenware and accessories over the past 100 years. It still operates today. Located in Lancaster, Ohio, the glassmaker began at the turn of the 20th century when American glassmakers were in their heyday.
According to its website, Anchor Hocking started out in 1905 making lamp chimneys from glass. An interesting bit of Anchor Hocking lore is the fact that the original plant was known as the Black Cat. Called this because of its black sooty look, this factory was destroyed by fire in 1924, yet it didn't destroy the owner's dreams of becoming an international glass giant.
The company, named for the Hocking River near where the plant was located, made and sold approximately $20,000 worth of glassware in the first year, according to an interesting website I discovered, kept up by a major glass collector, Philip L. Hopper, who has written five collectors books on the company and its glassware.
I like the Jade-ite line because it looks smooth, clean and colorful. The company also made a turquoise color of dishware that is equally as pretty. Other popular lines were decorated with scenes, rimmed in gold or red, featured primrose or mosaic designs.
It is sturdy glassware, too, and most of the dinnerware had decorated tumblers that went along with it, that capitalized on the pressed glass capabilities of the new mass production developed during the Depression.
Certain pieces are rare and others are common, but that's what makes antiques and collectibles fun to so many - the idea of the search. Collectors will watch online auction sites or visit many shops, seeking a particular piece of china or glassware and when they finally find it, it's like winning the lottery.
If you're the curious type, I recommend you take a look at Philip Hopper's site, anchorhockingmuseum.com. He's the proud owner of an amazing museum in San Antonio, Texas. He built and stocked it himself and what a job he did. A retired Air Force lieutenant and an avid Anchor Hocking collector, Hopper has more than 12,000 pieces of glassware, dating from 1920 to the present, on display.
Like many collectors, Hopper started collecting when he was a child. So if you have children or grandchildren (and the storage space), summer can be a great time for yard sales and sharing the collecting bug with your favorite youngster.
For comments or suggestions on local treasures to be featured in Antique of the Week, Maureen Zambito can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing in care of this newspaper.