Looking for pretty vintage glassware? Learn how to collect milk glass and spot the good stuff with these simple tips.

A while ago, I found this gorgeous milk glass vase at a thrift store in Dover, Vermont. When I found it, I got a little excited cause it’s a stunner!

I loved the ruffles and hobnail details so much that I knew I had to have it for my fresh-cut garden flowers.

Do you collect milk glass items in your home?

Milk glass vases are a great way to display cut flowers from the garden as it really sets off the blooms and adds vintage flair to any home decorating style. So whenever I see something like that, I grab it.

If you are new to collecting milk glass or want to know what to look for when you are thrifting around, today, I’m sharing all about it and how to spot valuable pieces.

Oh, and wait until you see my zinnia flowers in this vase!

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Click here to shop my vintage farmhouse with close up of the front porch with flowers

So What’s the Buzz About Milk Glass?

Milk glass is basically what happens when you take a regular old glass and add a beautiful twist. So instead of being clear, it has a creamy, opaque white look that is beyond gorgeous.

It’s like the glass decided to put on its Sunday best and show up with a classic, vintage flair. You’ll spot it in all kinds of forms, from vases to dishes.

Do you collect it or have any in your home?

Why Milk Glass Is So Valuable

Milk glass has this timeless elegance that just won’t quit. Its soft, milky appearance gives it an air of sophistication, and it’s super versatile. It can blend into any kind of decor, from shabby chic to modern minimalist.

But here’s the kicker: milk glass has some history to it too. It was all the rage in the 19th and 20th centuries, and people just couldn’t get enough.

Do you know what that means?

The older pieces are like buried treasure waiting to be discovered. Collectors go wild for these vintage finds, and the rarer the piece, the more they’re willing to shell out some serious cash.

I’ve not found a piece like this vase before so I grabbed it the moment I saw it and headed right to the register.

And it was a bargain for $40!

milk glass vase in zen garden by pond with fresh cut zinnias

How to Spot the Good Stuff

Now, how do you know if you’ve stumbled upon a milk glass gem? Well, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, that signature white color should be consistent throughout the piece and should have a silky smooth texture. If it’s chipped or scratched, it might not be worth as much. And if it looks grainy at all, it may not be vintage.

Next, look for intricate patterns. Some milk glass pieces have a textured style called “hobnail” (it looks like a bunch of evenly spaced bumps). Others might have delicately ruffled edges or even painted designs.

Several milk glass pieces have markings on the bottom of the piece with numbers or the company name. You can look it up using that marking.

The more detailed and well-preserved, the more it’s likely to make collectors weak in the knees.

What If My Milk Glass Has No Markings?

If you look at the bottom of the piece, many glass makers have pressed some sort of marking into the piece to indicate it was theirs.

However, not all glassmakers did this, so just because you don’t see a marking doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable.

summer on the back porch with vintage milk glass vase filled with zinnias and pitcher of lemonade with outdoor living furniture

What is the Most Sought After Milk Glass?

When it comes to sought-after milk glass, there are a few iconic patterns and styles that collectors go gaga over. Here are a couple of the most sought-after milk glass pieces.

  • Fenton Silver Crest: Fenton is a well-known name in the world of milk glass, and their Silver Crest pattern is a true gem. It features a milky white base with a delicate ruffled edge in a contrasting color, often pink or blue.
  • Westmoreland Paneled Grape: The Paneled Grape pattern by Westmoreland Glass Company is another big hitter. This pattern is all about intricate detailing, featuring raised grape clusters and leaves on a paneled background.
  • Hobnail Pattern: Hobnail milk glass is a classic that never goes out of style. The hobnail texture adds a unique touch to various pieces like vases, bowls, and lamps.
  • Northwood Grape and Cable: This pattern by Northwood Glass Company showcases grape clusters and leaves combined with a cable-like design. The intricate detailing and the way the pattern is worked into different shapes, like bowls and plates, make Northwood’s Grape and Cable pieces quite sought after.
  • Fire-King Jadeite: Now, this one’s a bit of a twist. Jadeite, while not traditional milk glass, is often grouped with it due to its opaque and milky appearance. Produced by Anchor Hocking, Fire-King Jadeite pieces, like mugs and mixing bowls, are incredibly popular among collectors for their vibrant green color and retro charm.

Rarity, condition, and the specific manufacturer can greatly influence the desirability. Some pieces might have limited production runs or unique color variations, making them particularly valuable.

If you’re a collector or just someone who appreciates the beauty of milk glass, keep an eye out for these patterns and styles – you might just stumble upon a coveted treasure!

summer on the back porch with fresh cut zinnias in vintage milk glass vase, cozy home decor and outdoor living furniture with pitcher of lemonade and black labrador dog

Who Are the Biggest Manufacturers of Milk Glass?

Several manufacturers have left their mark on the world of milk glass, producing beautiful and collectible pieces. Here are some of the biggest names in milk glass production:

  • Fenton Art Glass:
  • Westmoreland Glass Company
  • Anchor Hocking Fire-King
  • Northwood Glass Company
  • Imperial Glass Company
  • McKee Glass Company
  • Jeanette Glass Company

These manufacturers, along with many others, have contributed to the rich history and diverse array of milk glass collectibles.

Each company brought its unique style and patterns, giving collectors a wide range of options to choose from when hunting for their next prized piece.

summer on the back porch with outdoor living furniture, pitcher of lemonade and vintage milk glass vase with fresh zinnia flowers and houseplants

Where to Find Milk Glass

There are lots of great sources to find milk glass. But it may not be as simple as clicking your mouse and dropping it into your shopping cart.

The thrill of the hunt for beautiful vintage pieces can be had at:

  • Thrift Stores
  • Flea Markets
  • Estate Sales
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Yard Sales
  • Etsy
  • Ebay
milk glass vase  with zinnias on back porch with outdoor living furniture
zinnia flowers with queen lime zinnia

My Thrift Store Vase

Since I haven’t highlighted this vase on the blog yet, I wanted to share how beautiful it looks with fresh-cut zinnias from my garden.

My back porch was looking a bit bland and needed some fresh blooms so I grabbed my thrift store find, cut some zinnias, and made this pretty flower arrangement.

There is a variety of zinnias in this bouquet too. Here’s what I used:

  • Queen Lime
  • Queen Lime Orange
  • Uproar Rose
  • Benary’s Giant Wine
  • Queen Lime Blush
  • Senora
  • Dahlia Creamy Yellow
close up of queen lime zinnia flower with other varieties of zinnias
milk glass vase filled with fresh cut zinnia flowers on back porch in outdoor living space

More About Milk Glass

Do you collect or have any milk glass items in your home? I would love to know more in the comments below.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!

If you prefer to binge-watch Bricks ’n Blooms on TV, we go more in-depth with tours and posts on my YouTube channel. Would love to hang out with you there!

And… If you’re catching up on blog posts you may have missed, be sure to sign-up to get my newest posts via email to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here on the blog and more.

zen garden pond with view from back porch outdoor living space

Let’s See What My Friends Found Thrifting This Month!

My good friends Kim and Jennifer also went thrifting this month to decorate their home and garden spaces.

Wait until you see what they found!

My good friend Jennifer from Cottage on Bunker Hill made some really beautiful fall home decor with her thrift store finds.

She has a real knack for upcycling pieces into beautiful home decor items for her home.

cottage on bunker hill diy fall decor using thrift store finds

My good friend Kim from Shiplap and Shells took a Road Trip to Coeur d’Alene Vintage Market Days and had the best time!

She shared lots of cool finds and interesting pieces that are perfect for her home and cottage garden.

The market looked like so much fun! I want to tag along next time. Think she’ll bring me along?

vintage market days with shiplap and shells

My good friend Lora from Lora Bloomquist Create and Ponder shared her best tips for displaying your collections.

Wait until you see how she styles her best pieces in her home.

Lora bloomquist tips for styling collections from the thrift store

Want to See More Thrift Store Finds?

I’ve been sharing lots of cool items I found for our new home and garden.

Come thrift with me!

Click here to shop my vintage farmhouse with close up of the front porch with flowers

Garden Supplies I Use

I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites in no particular order.

dahlia kogane fubuki in the potager garden

Click here to shop my favorite garden supplies!

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close up of milk glass vase filled with flowers
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Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling

Want to learn more about me?

I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as finding ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes.

Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.

stacy ling cutting dahlias in her garden
Home and Garden Blogger Stacy Ling cutting zinnia flowers in her cottage garden with wood picket fence in front of garden shed

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18 Comments

  1. Love your ruffled edge milkglass vase and it looks gorgeous with zinnias! I love that green one with the pink middle- is that a Queen Blush? I definitely need to up my game with my zinnia seeds; walmart only has so many varieties to choose from:( Your post was so full of info! Never knew all that info; I just buy it when I like it and it’s cheap;)

    1. Thank you Lora!!!! Same – yes that’s queen lime blush – there are sooooo many gorgeous varieties out there but that might be one of my new faves now. I love that blush with the green!!!!

  2. I have a very large Milk glass collection. I stick with rare pieces and have found quite a few. I have this vase and about 10 swing xaves all in a gorgeous display in my dining room.
    I avoid Avon milk glass and floral vases , but that’s just my preference.
    The older milk glass pieces such as Dithridge will have what is called the ” ring of fire” if it’s held up to the light you will see a pink ring around the edge. This does not diminish the value as it’s showing its age.

  3. I have such beautiful milk glass and I’m selling most of it this weekend I have a beautiful water jug can’t find it anywhere. On line Wish I could show u

  4. Stacy,
    Our father recently passed away and he has a very large collection of milk glass.
    We are attempting to sell these items.
    We are putting this out to people who have an appreciation of milk glass.

  5. I grew up in Jeannette PA – home of the former Westmoreland Glass & McKee Glass factories (Jeannette & Grapeville PA). The Jeannette Historical society has exhibits at their location in downtown Jeannette. I have several pieces of milk glass that have been in my family – one of my favorite patterns is ‘old quilt’.