Frequently Asked Questions

  What makes Shades of Tiffany different from the other Tiffany lamp sources?
Was there really a Mr. Tiffany?
What material are your shades made of?
When I tap the shade, it doesn't sound like glass. How can I tell whether the shade is really glass or if it's plastic?
Why are there bubbles and variations in color, texture, and thickness in the glass. Are these imperfections?
Are the shades made by hand? Are they difficult and time consuming to make?
How can lighting companies today reproduce exact Tiffany copies and take the name "Tiffany"?
Are all Tiffany lamps real Tiffanies?
How can I tell if I own a real Tiffany?

 

  What makes Shades of Tiffany different from the other Tiffany lamp sources?

These are just a few reasons to shop at Shades of Tiffany. Hope to see you soon!

Was there really a Mr. Tiffany?
Yes. Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1848-1933, was born in New York City, the son of the famous Tiffany & Company jewelers. Independent of his parents, he launched his own business of fine art design in 1878. Artist, inventor, businessman, promoter, socialite, philosopher, teacher, Tiffany enjoyed a long, successful career.

Click here for a Timeline of the History of Tiffany.

What material are your shades made of?
Our shades are made of the finest hand-rolled glass.

When I tap the shade, it doesn't sound like glass. How can I tell whether the shade is really glass or if it's plastic?

When a sheet of glass is flat and uncut, it has a "ting" sound when you tap it. However once the glass is cut into many small pieces, copper foiled and leaded together on a mold, the properties of the glass changes, and its sound becomes a "thud" sound. Many people interpret that this dull sound indicates the shade is made of plastic, when actually glass was used.

Why are there bubbles and variations in color, texture, and thickness in the glass. Are these imperfections?
These are typical characteristics of handmade glass. Each piece of handmade glass is unique.  Commercially made glass is machine-made and will not have these desired characteristics; color, texture and thickness will be uniform and can even resemble plastic.

Are the shades made by hand? Are they difficult and time consuming to make?
Yes to both. Each shade is made by hand in the Tiffany method. Small pieces of glass are cut out according to patterns. The edges are then ground smooth, copper foiled, soldered to adjoining pieces (on a mold) both outside and inside, washed and patinaed. For some of the simpler shades (400 pieces), construction time requires approximately 46 hours. For the more complex shades, construction can take months.

How can lighting companies today reproduce exact Tiffany copies and take the name "Tiffany"?
During the 1920's, the Art Nouveau style fell out of favor to the sleek Deco look. This caused the Tiffany Studios to close in bankruptcy with no claim to the names or patterns. The lamps were relegated to junk shops and many were melted down for their lead during WW2. Not until the 1960's, when young artists began reproducing exact copies from rubbings taken off originals, did the public become aware of these beautiful, decorative items. Today "Tiffanies" are mass produced and have become a standard household item. The originals are once again valued as museum antiques.

Are all Tiffany lamps real Tiffanies?
No. Today "Tiffany" is a generic name given to any stained glass lamp.

How can I tell if I own a real Tiffany?
Probably you don't, but to make sure - check the inside of the shade for a narrow bronze tag, soldered to the lower rim, stamped with "Tiffany Studios New York". Also, direct impressions composed of the letters "L.C.T. Co." were made on the bottom of the base . However, signatures cannot always be relied upon, since some lamps were not signed. Other means of verifying authenticity are: purchasing through reputable auction houses and antique dealers, recognizing Tiffany's distinctive glass, having provenance (ownership history), and the purchasing price. Today an authentic Tiffany table lamp auctions for $45,000 to $130,000; a floor lamp, from $850,000.