How to spot a fake Tiffany Table lamp

Spotting a fake Tiffany table lamp

So how the heck do you spot a fake Tiffany lamp? A fake Tiffany lamp can be quite tricky full stop to be honest I didn’t even realise that Tiffany lamps were that popular where people actually made forgeries.

Tiffany lamps were famously associated with the art nouveau movement the decorative Tiffany lamps were seen as rare and were highly sought collectible items. Tiffany lamps are made by hand crafted small pieces of coloured glass that have been soldered together these are genuine Tiffany lamps which are made between the 1890s up to the 1930s by Tiffany Studios. 


To be able to spot a fake Tiffany lamp you need a very good I have a good eye for detail and years of experience to be honest. Once more miss judgements when expecting Tiffany lamps to work out if it is a forgery or not can have very serious financial consequences.

There are reproductions of Tiffany lamps been circulated mostly by home development stores the reason why these are reproductions is because these do not have the official Tiffany Studios mark on them.

The official Tiffany Studios signature would be printed on a thin sheet of brass which will be soldered to the inside of the lamp shade. 

Annoyingly just because a Tiffany lamp may bear the official, or what it looks like the official Tiffany Studios stamp it does not mean that is authentic. There are ways of creating fake Tiffany studio stamps they are quite easy to make. There are many people who are making fake Tiffany lamps with the fake Tiffany Studios signature in the lampshade this has been going on for decades. This is because they know that they can cash in on the high prices of Tiffany lamps that people are willing to pay for before customers realise it is a forgery. Unfortunately forgeries flood the market even until this day, which makes it difficult to identify an authentic Tiffany lamp from a forgery.

Tips to check if you have a dodgy Tiffany table lamp

BUT, fortunately for you, we will share some characteristics you can look for to help you spot an original Tiffany Lamp from a forgery.

The Glass Shade

1) Carefully check the form of the lamp shade. It should be a cone or a globe type shape. An authentic Tiffany lamp has a looser, more organic shape compared to the more rigid form of the fakes. The lamp shade usually has a botanical design, although dragonflies, butterflies, spiders, peacock feathers and geometric patterns also are common.

2) Hold the top of the lamp shade and lightly knock the glass. Apparently, according to Tiffany lamp experts, a firm glass shade that does not rattle. If it does, then it usually indicates that the lamp is a forgery.

3) Fetch some cotton and dab it in nail polish remover and rub it on the glass. Some forgeries paint the glass instead of using the original Tiffany method of embedding color in the glass. If paint was used, it will rub off on the swab.

4) Closely inspect the glass. Tiffany lamps are commonly known for intense, vibrant colors and textures. Glass containing small spots of color, known as “confetti” glass, is commonly seen in original Tiffanys. If the shade contains any gold glass, then it should have a translucent amber sheen to it.

If any gold glass has a greenish tint or a very pale, translucent gold color, it is not an original.

Any other color of glass with a silvery sheen to it also is not authentic.

The Bronze Bass

1) Examine the base properly and lift the base cap and look inside for a grey metal ring. All original Tiffany lamps have a hollow bronze base with a heavy ring of lead inside. Sometimes mosaic bases were used instead.

Definitely watch out for brass, zinc, white metal, plastic or wood bases as they are common with cheaper versions.

2) Carefully Inspect the knobs on the base of the Tiffany lamp. Original Tiffany lamps usually have a turn-paddle knob to operate the lamp, but some do have a pull chain instead.

3) Carefully look for a patina on the bronze base. These small color changes caused by age may indicate the lamp is not a replica. This is no guarantee that it is actually an original, because some do add fake patina.

4) Do not trust signatures or stamps on lamps as definite signs of authenticity. There are some fake stamps that can easily be made to fool you. Tiffany’s marking system, cut or etched into the base of the lamp, changed over the years.

TIP: Before you purchase the lamp, bring it to get appraised by an expert who has years of experience dealing with Tiffany lamps.

Frequently Asked Questions

Recent Posts