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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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!
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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
- Dahlia Creamy Yellow
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!
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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.
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?
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.
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!
- 7 Fun Finds from the Thrift Store Near Me
- Prettiest Thrift Flip Idea for the Front Porch
- How to Decorate on a Budget with Thrift Store Finds
- How to Plant a Fall Garden in a Flea Market Find
- Thrift Unique Decorating Ideas
- My Thrift Store Vintage Finds for the Garden
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.
- I use a good-quality garden soil, compost, and perlite when planting.
- I have used this deer repellent with great success. But now, I’m all about this deer repellent that is systemic instead of topical. This means the plant takes it in as opposed to it just smelling bad.
- Hands down this is my favorite hand-weeding tool. You can use to get underneath roots, loosen soil, and it cuts down on the weeding time because you work much faster.
- But I also love this long, stand-up weeding tool to really get around roses from afar.
- I like to use THIS ORGANIC FERTILIZER for roses because the blooms are more prolific and it’s organic.
- You’ll need a sharp set of pruners when working with plants and flowers. I buy a few so I can stash them around.
- Where pest and disease problems are concerned, I generally use this insecticidal soap or neem oil to help control infestations depending on the issue.
- This is my favorite set-and-forget slow-release fertilizer for houseplants, annuals, and container gardens.
- Whenever I stake my peonies or other plants, I generally use these grow-through garden supports because they work really well and keep the blooms upright.
Click here to shop my favorite garden supplies!
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Enjoy a beautiful day! xo
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.