Glass Lusters or Lustres?:
Either spelling is considered correct. Lusters have also been called pedestal vases.
Glass Bowls and Prisms:
Lusters are elaborate candle holders produced in pairs to set on a mantle or sideboard. It's a basic candlestick with a glass bowl the candle sits in. Cut-glass prisms dangle from the bowl. The more prisms, the more valuable the luster.
History of Lusters:
The lusters are believed to be first produced in the British Isles and in New England. Later many were made in Europe, more specifically Bohemia, which has a rich history of glass making.
Variations of Glass Lusters:
The glass bowl is sometimes cut with a variety of designs. Etching and painting were also used to decorate a simple glass bowl. Lusters were produced in both colored and clear glass, with red being very popular. The base of a luster can be made in different materials, including brass and marble.
Single and Pairs:
Although the more affluent citizens of the 1800's might own a pair of glass lusters, when the family passed their valuables down through generations of the family, the pair of lusters would be split up between the daughters in the family.
Glass lusters are not for the faint of heart with many selling in the $500. to $1000. range.
Collecting Glass Lusters:
Electric glass lusters were made the 20th century, usually in pairs to sit on a vanity or in a bedroom. The bowls on the electric lusters can be found in clear, pink, blue, green and yellow. When collecting electric lusters, look for the ones with glass prisms instead of the plastic prisms found in the pieces made after WWII. Plastic prisms will turn yellow with age, so if you do find a luster with plastic prisms, you might consider replacing the plastic with glass ones. Many times both new and vintage prisms can be found for a few dollars each.
For the collector it can be a challenge to find a pair of lusters, many times a single one is found and the hunt is on for a matching piece. The hunt is everything to a collector and that just makes the collection so much more fun to own!
The glass lusters shown sold for $3040. in January 2007. Price includes 20% buyers premium.