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Hand Blown Glass Paperweights

Updated on July 29, 2014

The Wonders Of Hand Blown Glass Paperweight / Buy And Collect Weights

Decorative, useful and collectible! You will find hand blown glass paperweights in most gift shops, souvenir shops and specialty department stores. They have been popular gifts for many years and yet there is a lot more to the humble paperweight than meets the eye.

Fine glass weights are found all over the world, are very collectible and even feature as part of many museums displays. The beauty in any of them is in its individual design.

Obviously a glass paperweight is a practical useful item, as anyone who has every worked in an office with a window open will tell you. What cant be overlooked however is the skill that goes into making these fine art pieces.

Shown here: Glass Eye Studio Caribbean Reef Blown Glass Paperweight

How It's Made

The making of paperweights

Made entirely from glass, these beautiful items are considered to be works of art. Made sometimes in factories as limited edition pieces and often by individual artists and in smaller specialist workshops glass paperweights are made using a crucible and a variety of glassmaking tools and equipment.

The actual shape of the dome, the base and whether it is frosted, lace cut or polished is often dependent on the artist that makes it. There is a vast amount of layered detail that isn't immediately apparent to the naked eye unless you take the time to look properly, perhaps even with a magnifying glass. The glass that is used to make these wonderful pieces is more often than not lead glass and everything that goes into the more exclusive paperweight is of the highest quality.

The decorative aspect of such a paperweight is partly what makes them so interesting to collectors; swirls of colored glass produce unique patterns within the dome which are often almost unbelievably detailed. It is unlikely due to the very nature of glassmaking that any two pieces are exactly the same.

Watch and learn how they do it

Selection Of MADE IN USA Hand Blown Glass Paperweights - Add to your collection or offer them as gifts

Made by real artisans in Seattle. Each piece come with its own storycard. All their pieces contain ashes from Mt. St. Helens.

They also make wonderful gifts for family, colleagues and friends (and don't forget yourself).

Glass Eye Studio Cresting Wave Blown Glass Paperweight
Glass Eye Studio Cresting Wave Blown Glass Paperweight
This is a fabulous water themed paperweight, will be a nice addition to your beach decor. This one measures 3" in diameter and is part of the environmental series.
Glass Eye Studio Phantom of the Sea Blown Glass Paperweight
Glass Eye Studio Phantom of the Sea Blown Glass Paperweight
I call this one the medusa. The studio calls it phantom of the sea.

History And Collectible Interest Of Hand Blown Glass Paperweights

The production of paperweights started back in 1845 in America and across Europe. Although for a period of time they were less popular a renewed interest in the craft and the collection of the domes resumed during the 1950s and remains strong today. Being pieces of art which are small enough to fit in your hand and therefore are easy to display and transport they make the ideal item for both amateur and professional collectors to focus on.

There are thousands of paperweights on the market at any one time however the rarer and vintage handmade varieties from specific workshops or artists, which are limited editions or even one-off pieces make great investment pieces. Older pieces are often seen on sale in the auction houses and go for highly respectable prices. The record price paid for a single paperweight was for an antique French Clichy basket of flowers which fetched an almost unbelievable $258,000. You would be unlikely to find a gem like that on your searches at garage sales....

paperweight collection
paperweight collection

What To Collect?

There is so much to collect! You can do a theme collection such as fauna, flora, insects. You can do a color collection. You could do a country specific glass paper weight collection such as French (these are highly collectibles, especially the older pieces). Or collect pieces from a specific glass studio: Baccarat, Saint-Louis, Wheaton Village... or from an artist.

Please: before investing a substantial amount into some of the most renown glass maker pieces, make sure you are familiar with their production and what a genuine piece should look like. Yes, unfortunately there are fakes around.

Bottom line: collect what you like. Set a budget (monthly or annual). Or just buy a few expensive pieces a year at the auction house or on eBay.

Must Read Books - A real treat for the eyes

See How They Make A Millefiori Paperweight - Watch a glass maker produce a lovely and unique millefiori hand blown glass masterpiece

Now you see why hand blown glass is so unique and valuable to collectors.

Buy Millefiori Hand Blown Glass paperweights - Thousands of flowers beauties and fake Murano

Milleflori means thousands flowers and these indeed look like they are encasing thousands of flowers.

If you didn't yet, please watch the video to see how they are made.

Murano makes amazing millefiori weights and they are highly collectible. But beware when you buy Murano paperweights (or any Murano glass piece), there are lots of fake made in China (how surprising). These fake can be cute, but buy them for what they are: cute piece, NOT Murano. The real pieces are expensive and there are Chinese counterfeits in Murano glass. Be careful of "Murano designs", it rhymes with "made in China".

There is no such thing as cheap or discounted Murano paperweights. Murano is expensive and the market is strong. A small Murano paperweight is not something you get for 30$ (unless you buy a fake). So buyer beware, if it's too good to be true.... you know the rule.

Amazon has a lot of paperweights available, some quite nice but don't expect a real piece of Murano there. It's a good place tho, for a nice affordable Millefiori weight that will probably be made in China. The pieces are cute, you should not pay real Murano price for them.

Once again, before buying high end paperweights, read and read and read! It's a buyer beware world out there. And instead of wasting money into fake Murano glass, buy a few good book and learn so you can make wise investment, or just deal with reputable dealers or better yet, visit your local glass maker and invest in one signed piece.

Rainbow L Millefiori Paperweight PW-1115
Rainbow L Millefiori Paperweight PW-1115
Cute but mass produced (most probably in China)

Real Murano Paperweights - From selected and respected dealers

Even if you are not a specialist, you can see the difference. Try it. look at one of these real Murano weights, then go on Amazon and search for "Murano paperweights"

Please, Let me Know

Are You Collector Of Hand Blown Glass paperweights?

See results

Visit Corning Museum of Glass Before You Leave - And watch master craftsmen


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    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Such pretty designs! Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I've always looked at a paperweight as just a paperweight. After reading your lens I now realize that a paperweight is so much more. It's not for holding down papers. I want to thank you for this lens.

    • karmanGhia profile image


      7 years ago

      Beautiful! Reminds me of the glasswork I saw being made in Venice while on vacation. Love your lens!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      7 years ago from USA

      I really liked making my own glass paperweight. The process was somewhat different than what I saw here, but I guess it depends on the place where you visit. It was a great experience.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 

      7 years ago from Keller, Texas

      Wow - I loved this lens! Thanks for helping me to understand the process of making one of these beautiful paperweights and the difference between it being art and a cute piece. I remember seeing a display of paperweights at the Art Institute in Chicago and being completely amazed - have never forgotten that experience.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Just three letters: WOW :))

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathalie Roy 

      7 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      @SheGetsCreative: Indeed this paperweight is beautiful (that's why I picked it!) and this one is made in the USA too. So you get to support local artisans.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      7 years ago from Seattle, WA

      That coral reef one in your opening paragraph is by far my favorite. How beautiful these are!


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