So, are Tiffany table lamps really outdated?
Is it me or do you also wonder if people actually buy Tiffany lamps anymore. Even though they do look nice. They also look a bit out-dated. So I decided to check out a bunch of high street home and furniture stores, online of course, since most are still shut down to COVID-19 lockdown.
Some people may feel Tiffany lamp makes a room feel too dated, it is not as black and white as that. There are a slew of other lighting styles on the market that can easily add a a touch of elegance to a room, and Tiffany lamps are one of them. Tiffany lamps have been around for 100 hundred years. However, there are still Tiffany table light that are still be produced in mass around the world. Although not authentic Tiffany lamps embossed with the official Tiffany Studio trademark and were hand made.
I visited IKEA, Habitat, Argos and HEALS stores online and browsed to see if any of these modern top high street home and furniture stores still appreciated the uniqueness of Tiffany lamps. And shockingly, not one was to be found. Tiffany lamps certainly had a time of its own. Unfortunately, these colorful glass lamps can instantly date your home conflicting with any modern and contemporary look, which most people are leaning towards, these days. It seems the modern 21st century typical high street has given up on the good old Tiffany table lamp designs.
So why are they called Tiffany lamps?
Tiffany lamps are among the most coveted lamps in the world. It is a type of lamp with a glass shade designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his design studio. The lamps are considered a major part of the Art Nouveau movement. Each lamp features stained leaded glass, and it is because of Tiffany’s dominant influence on the style that the term “Tiffany lamp” has been coined to refer to stained leaded glass lamps, even if they are not made by Louis Comfort Tiffany’s company.
What makes a genuine Tiffany lamp?
While most leaded glass lamps are called Tiffany lamps nowadays, nothing beats the authentic ones. If you’re looking to spend your hard-earned cash on a real Tiffany lamp, it pays to know how to authenticate one. Here are the characteristics of a genuine Tiffany lamp:
Tiffany studios always made its lamps with a bronze base, so steer clear of wood, plastic, brass, or zinc bases. There are bases made of art pottery, but these are extremely rare.
Tiffany made its high-quality glass in New York using a couple of techniques that set the authentic lamps apart. One is confetti glass, which features specks of different colors used on one of the many pieces of glass. Another is how the glass changes color when the lamp is lit.
An authentic Tiffany lamp usually comes from an estate or was owned for the past 50 years or so by the same person. It pays to ask the antique shop or seller who it belonged to, as people typically come upon authentic ones through their family either through inheritance or a lucky discovery in the attic or basement.
The base of a Tiffany lamp is stamped with Tiffany Studios, as well as a number. Most of the glass shades are also stamped. Authentic lamps show signs of age, such as marks and scuffs and they will not look brand new. There is a distinct patina or small colour changes on the bronze parts of the lamp.
Tiffany lamps feature a turn-paddle knob socket that enables you to turn it on and off, while a smaller number were made with a pull chain. The sockets are mostly from General Electric and Bryant and Perkins. Some lamps can also have a turn switch at the base.
The bases of authentic Tiffany lamps were hollow, because of the high cost of bronze. A heavy ring of lead was placed in the base to support the heavy glass shades, so you should be able to see the greyish lead when you lift the base cap.
How to spot a fake Tiffany lamp
Tiffany lamps can cost a small fortune, which is why imitations are common. Several companies mimicked the lamp style in the 1920s using cheaper materials, resulting in lesser quality models. Some of these lamps are so well-made, they can fool even collectors and experts.
Characteristics of a fake Tiffany lamp
- Poor quality and craftsmanship, use of low-grade glass, sloppy soldering, and base made of pot metal.
- Applied antiquing to the shade, which you can detect by running a Q-tip with some acetone through the glass. There should be no color transfer.
- No cracks or loose parts. Remember that Tiffany lamps are old and should show signs of age, such as a few small cracks etc.
- Has uneven maker’s marks or fresh maker’s marks – remember that the authentic ones were die-stamped before the patina was applied, and all letter and numerals must be in a single line mark and should be of the same height. If the logo appears without the text, then it’s probably a fake.
- Marked with a mixture of upper and lower case letters – all Tiffany Studios marks use full capital letters.
- Has marks containing serifs on the letters – keep in mind that all Tiffany Studios marks contain only sans serif letters. Only and authentic TGDCO logo has serifs in its letters.
Why Tiffany lamps are so expensive
Tiffany lamps are some of the most expensive items in the world, with the originals made in the 1890s to the 1930s costing anywhere from $4,000 to over $1 million. The most a buyer ever paid for an original Tiffany lamp was $2.8 million at a Christie’s auction.
Tiffany lamps are expensive because they are never mass-produced or machine-made. Every single lamp is made by hand, so the sheer effort involved in producing a single lamp commands a high price tag.
Second, they are made using materials of the highest quality that do not come cheap.
Third, Tiffany lamps are collector’s items – only a small number of authentic ones are in existence, so they have a very high value.
Fourth, they are often passed down from one generation to another as heirloom pieces, and its owners are aware of the inherent value of each lamp.
Finally, Tiffany lamps are no longer being produced today, which means that they are not just lamps, they are practically historical artifacts, and those do not come cheap.
Original Tiffany lamps made and created at the Tiffany Studios in New York are still highly regarded and collected all over the world. Most are now in museums and private collections and when they do occasionally come on the market they are beyond the reach of most people. In May 2015 Sotheby’s in New York sold an original Tiffany Oriental Poppy floor lamp for over $1,000,000 (a mere snip at £690,915.00).
Today the name Tiffany or Tiffany style is now used to describe many decorative items that feature stained and art glass design.
Many classic Tiffany designs still feature the flowing botanical Art Nouveau patterns and the the iconic dragonfly, flowering lotus and poppy patterns made by the original Tiffany Studios. Designs that were inspired by the talented Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh who was hugely influential in the Art Nouveau movement are also extremely popular. Current designers, continuing in the Tiffany tradition, create new ideas every year concentrating largely on Art Deco themes.
Over the years designs of lighting and trends come and go, but the everlasting design of Tiffany lights remains constant. With beautiful and distinct designs, they fit very well into most interiors. These unique yet affordable pieces, which some could consider as investments, will be cherished for years to come.