All you need to know about Glass Paperweights

all-you-need-to-know-about-glass-paperweightsThe Glass Gallery of Chicago is one of the world’s premier sellers of fine art glass paperweights. The company recently began to make available, for the first time ever, their unique and extensive library of specialty art glass books. Ben Clark, the Director of The Glass Gallery, said, “We are delighted to start making these important books available online, as a free service to the paperweight community, and for all the newcomers who we hope will begin to share our passion for fine glass art paperweights.”

The following is excerpted from “The Art of The Paperweight” by Lawrence H. Selman. The book was originally published by Santa Cruz Press in 1988. The entire book is now available for free, and online for the first time ever, at

“It is not known exactly why French glass factories pursued the making of paperweights with such intensity and vigor during a short twenty-year period in the mid-1800s. Perhaps the factories saw paperweights as a means of showing off their glassmaking skills or as a way of luring prospective customers from other glass houses. Perhaps these objects, which contain intricate millefiori designs and carefully constructed lampwork flowers and fruit, were a way glass craftsmen could exercise their creative and technical skills and experiment on a small scale.

Whatever the reasons may have been behind the making of paperweights, we are gifted with a unique body of work, created over a relatively short period of time, which nonetheless expresses a creative and technical peak in glassmaking history.

Glass paperweights from the classic period (1840-1860) have captivated collectors and historians for many years. These works have also inspired contemporary glassmakers and artists. We are indeed fortunate to be living in a time when paperweight making is experiencing a strong revival. A new generation of paperweight makers is carrying on in the classic tradition while utilizing modern technology and infusing their work with a contemporary vitality.”

from the Preface to “The Art of The Paperweight” by L.H. Selman

excerpted and reposted with the permission of The Glass Gallery / LH Selman LTD