The original Tiffany style lamps were produced by a company called “Tiffany Studios” in New York during the late 19th to early 20th century. The famous designer of the Tiffany lamps was an artist by the name of Louis C. Tiffany who is best known for his talent with glass making and paints.
It’s fairly challenging to distinguish an authentic Tiffany lamp from a reproduction. Today, many Tiffany reproductions can be found, making it difficult for a buyer to know whether it’s a period shade or not. Authentic Tiffany style lamps were made from brightly colored pieces of lead glass that were coated with a special copper solution by the artist.
Each lampshade went through a process of having a thin coating of this copper solution applied to the finished piece to give its authentic appearance. The edges of a Tiffany lamp shade has intricate nature designs and later, floral designs which was accomplished by soldering the edges together.
Each authentic Tiffany lamp has the words “Tiffany Studios, New York” inscribed on them. Original lamps can carry a price tag of as much as $8 million dollars or more.
Authentic Tiffany lamps can be found today ranging in price from $10,000 to $20,000 but you should expect to pay in the $20,000 range for most pieces.
It’s important to keep a Tiffany Lamp Shade clean and polished. This can be accomplished by using a microfiber cloth and regular lemon oil that you would use to polish wood furniture with. First, remove the shade from the lamps base and be sure to unplug it from the outlet before starting the cleaning process. Just a small amount of lemon oil placed on the lint-free cloth will do the job. Simply wipe the shade making sure to get the edges well. If the lamp happens to be quite dusty, it’s best to first use a damp cloth to remove the residue before applying the oil.
All authentic Tiffany style lamps were made from 1900 to 1932 by Tiffany Studio in New York. The company went in bankruptcy in 1932.
An authentic Tiffany lampshade will have irregular shapes and cuts on the bottom edges of it. The shapes will consist of nature and flower designs in geometric shapes. Some of the more popular Tiffany designs were blue dragonflies with red and purple wings as well as jeweled eyes with a green/blue background. Multi-colored Tiffany lamp shades that were popular consisted of wisteria and vines as well as flower designs.
There should also be a Tiffany signature pressed into the metal rim of the shade that reads “Tiffany Studios.” You should look for model numbers on each Tiffany style lamp base and shade. With each authentic Tiffany lamp and shade, there was a model number placed on them.
An authentic look was a patina, darkened and aged look between the glass pieces on the leading. Some of the earlier Tiffany models burned oil. This is a good indicator when searching for very early pieces. All Tiffany style lighting was produced with a brass base.