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Chalet Glass – A Guide to Identifying and Collecting

Chalet Glass – A Guide to Identifying and Collecting

Antique collectors all seem to have their favorite type of collectible glass, but one that is growing in popularity is Chalet glass. Chalet glass seems to be enjoying a resurgence as an interest in retro design has permeated art, fashion and interior design. In fact, Chalet glass has become so popular that some Chinese glass companies are now making new reproductions of old Chalet glass pieces.

Chalet glass is a particular brand of Murano glass. Glassblowers from Murano, Italy began making Chalet glass in Montreal around 1960. In 1963, a fire forced the Chalet glass makers to move their operation to Cornwall, Ontario where it continued until 1981.

Identifying Authentic Chalet Glass

All Chalet glass is Murano glass but conversely, not all Murano glass is Chalet glass. This is an important distinction that some inexperienced collectors miss. Chalet glass often has an inscription sandblasted into the glass on the bottom that says “Chalet” in script font. However, not all Chalet glass bears this mark. Some Chalet glass pieces were originally marked with a simple silver label that likely would have worn off over time. This is part of the reason that some inexperienced collectors mistake all Murano glass as Chalet glass.

Chalet glass is typified by it’s bright colors and flowing, fluid design created by blowing the glass. Chalet glass is very heavy due to a high lead content. Its kitschy, fluid and bright pieces were quite popular during the 60s, a time when pop art incorporated similar free forms and bright colors. Even large molded pieces had a type of individuality, as the amount of hand blowing and handwork ensured that no two pieces were alike. At the time of its manufacture, Chalet glass was moderately priced. This greatly fueled its popularity by making it accessible to a growing middle class.

The Re-Emergence of Chalet Glass

Today, Chalet glass has had a resurgence in popularity with collectors. Having hit its 50th anniversary, values of Chalet glass pieces have climbed considerably. Additionally, the popularity of vintage and retro looks from the 60s and 70s have created a great deal more interest in Chalet glass than in previous years.
Casual collectors should focus on acquiring Chalet glass pieces that feature the sandblasted inscription. If not, it can be very hard to tell Chalet glass from other pieces of Murano glass. By purchasing only pieces with the sandblasted inscription, a novice collector can be assured that their piece truly is Chalet glass.

Chalet glass has become a popular collectible recently due to its unique and interesting looks, a rise in the popularity of items from the 60s and 70s, and its place in the history of glassblowing. Chalet glass can best be distinguished by a sandblasted inscription on the bottom of the piece clearly identifying it as “Chalet”. The fluid forms and bright colors of this exquisite glass make it a delight to collect.

Photo courtesy of qmnonic