Altering the color of antique glass has reached epidemic proportions. Antique malls in the Southwest are filled with it, and booths full of it have been reported in South Bend, Indiana and in and Sandwich, Massachusetts. Of course, this is accomplished with germicidal lights or irradiation, but the dealers often provide written information stating that the color change has happened naturally in the bright sun of Arizona, California, etc.

Extremely dark purple glass has been seen that is just off enough to indicate to experienced eyes that the color is not old amethyst. A recent bulletin of a prominent glass association tells about two people who have found great rarities, hitherto unknown, of punch cups in two different patterns, both in purple. Undoubtedly, these collectors may have paid a great premium for pieces they felt were unlisted discoveries. Artificial irradiation creates the deepest colors in old, clear glass. An excellent article on the subject can be found in the December, 1997 issue of Antique & Collectors Reproduction News. According to the article, anyone interested in artificially altering the color of glass can send it in a box to an irradiation facility. There it is bombarded with gamma rays and electron beams, while still in the box, and after the process is complete, sent back with the glass inside now colored purple or some other strange color. One of the best places to learn about colored altered glass is a website maintained by Elaine and Bill Henderson. They are pattern glass dealers from Albuquerque. Go to and read what they have written; you may be unhappy about what you read. Many pieces of antique glass are being permanently ruined and a number of collectors are being defrauded. Alvina Breckel, NAGC, Winnetka, Illinois.

Page Reloaded January 11, 2009