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Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

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Title: Paperweight
Date: ca. 1921
Medium: Variegated luster under opalescent glass
Dimensions: H: 2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm); diam: 2 1/8 in. (6.4 x 5.4 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Louis Comfort Tiffany through the courtesy of A. Douglas Nash
Object Number: 57.089
This Tiffany paperweight is made of clear glass, backed with translucent gold and blue glass.

Tiffany glass was made at the Tiffany Glass Furnaces in Corona, located in Queens, New York.

Louis Comfort Tiffany was the eldest son of Charles L. Tiffany, founder of Tiffany & Company, the New York jeweler. Tiffany was trained as a painter, studying with both George Inness and Samuel Coleman in New York and Leon Bailly in Paris. He eventually turned his attention to decorative arts and began experimenting with glass-making techniques in 1875. After success with stained glass windows and mosaics, Tiffany established the Tiffany Glass Company in 1885 and began devoting production to one-of-a-kind blown glass art objects. He soon became one of America’s most prolific designers, providing furniture, wallcoverings, textiles, jewelry and glass to some of society’s most important citizens.

Beneath a dome of clear glass is a blue glass cabochon that has been covered with shimmering gold luster. Luster is a form of staining. To achieve this shiny effect, metallic oxides that have been dissolved in acid and mixed with an oily medium are applied to the surface of the object. The glass object is then fired in a kiln at a temperature around 1150 degrees Fahrenheit, depositing a film upon the surface that, when cleaned becomes shiny.

A paperweight is a small heavy object designed to hold down papers. First made in Venice and France in the 1840s, glass paperweight production spread to other parts of Europe and the United States. Although they lost popularity in the early 1920s, their production was revived in the 1950s.

To see another Tiffany paperweight in the Johnson Museum’s collection, search for object number 57.085 in the keyword search box.

NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.