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What Is A Tiffany Lamp And Where To Buy It? A 101 Guide

People’s love for lamps is prominent, whether we talk about current times or the past. Lamps are there to illuminate your home and make it look unique and authentic. These light fixtures’ popularity increases day by day, and out of all of them, the Tiffany lamps stand out the most.

If you are one of the lamp enthusiasts, you may have heard of the Tiffany lamp. These lamps were first introduced in 1895 and gained extreme popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries. Even today, Tiffany lamps are highly popular. Because of this, there are many pieces of it out there that are not the actual Tiffany lamps. 

In many countries, these lamps are manufactured using the same techniques. And this leaves us with Tiffany lamps with no unique feature to compare them with the real ones. Identifying the real Tiffany lamps can be hard when you don’t know what goes into the real ones. However, we are just here to guide you on that.

Let’s start by understanding a brief history of Tiffany lamps, their making process, and their different types. After that, we can learn how to identify a real Tiffany lamp and how much it costs to purchase a Tiffany lamp. So, let’s know how it all started!

A Brief History Of Tiffany Lamps

As per the latest information, it is suggested that Tiffany lamps were first introduced around 1895. It further mentions that its creator was Clara Driscoll, director of Tiffany studios, which was situated in New York. This studio was popular for its cutting, selection, and color of glass and for using it in shade designs of their own. 

The original Tiffany lamps contained blown favrile glass and coiled bronze wire, which was Tiffany’s way of showing its cultural fascination. Reports suggest that originally Tiffany’s lamp design was inspired by nature. These lamps were consistent with their popularity throughout the period of Art Deco, in which highly prioritized ones were the geometric designs as they were the design of choice. 

Tiffany lamps’ choice of design is the reason why they remain vibrant, stylish, and current to this day. In recent times, the term Tiffany lamp is common for any lamp that has the original Tiffany shade. It is made using stained-glass soldering pieces, which are turned into a design.

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What Is The Making Process Of A Tiffany Lamp?

After learning about the brief history of Tiffany lamps, you might have questions about how Tiffany lamps are made. Well, the entire making process of a Tiffany lamp is divided into two parts, i.e., the design and manufacturing stages. The making process stays the same for all types of Tiffany lamps. To stick with the original design and authenticity, you have to use your hands to make them. You cannot manufacture Tiffany lamps using automated methods or machinery.

Designing Stage

The first stage of manufacturing Tiffany lamps is the designing stage. A professional artist takes responsibility for designing these lamps. If the design is approved, the process forwards to creating a model replica using wood. At present, plastic and cardboard are more common instead of wood. After the replica is made, it is overlaid with a cloth soaked in glue or resin, which helps in making the design stiffen. 

Once the model comes in a dry state, the cloth is removed, and every piece is cut out. Later on, it is numbered and utilized in the form of a template for every glass piece that will be required for the manufacturing process.      

Manufacturing process

The foil method is the only method that is used for manufacturing all types of Tiffany shades, whether it is a floor lamp, table lamp, wall light, or ceiling light. For every type, size, and style, it is required to manufacture a different master mold. This mold is later covered in wax, and every glass piece is boarded with copper foil. Furthermore, it is laid on the wax and kept like that till shade formation. After that, glass pieces are hand-joined together to bring out the form of the shade. 

Tiffany lamps which are made using original designs and manufacturing processes, will feel waxy. That’s why you have to clean them off before using them in your space. However, remember that is part of the process, so don’t think it is actually a fault from the manufacturing side. It just proves that the lamp is made using the traditional way.

Different Design Types And Styles Of A Tiffany Lamp

When you jump into the market of Tiffany lamps, you will find its various designs as well as styles. Every Tiffany lamp brings something unique, and which one you choose will highly depend on your preference. The most popular designs of Tiffany lamps are geometric, nature, and studio. 

So, let’s see how they look and what makes one Tiffany lamp different from the other. 

Art Deco or Geometric

The Geometric designs of Tiffany lamps became highly popular during the period of Art Deco. These designs follow a repeated pattern and, most of the time, are symmetrical. Some of the Art Deco lamps follow a simple design, with the glass containing striking colors to bring out an effect. At the same time, some of these lamps are more vibrant and complex. 

The unique selling point of these lamps is the use of striking and contrasting colored glass.

Traditional or Nature

The nature-style Tiffany lamps, also known as traditional lamps, were a few of the first designed lamps. These lamps come with floral, butterfly, and dragonfly designs and can be labor-intensive and complex sometimes. 

By looking at one of the Nature Tiffany lamps, you will see how much work it takes to select, cut, and design these lamps by connecting each piece. 

Tiffany or Studio

Studio style showcases the original design of Tiffany lamps, which were designed by the Tiffany studio. One of Tiffany lamps’ most popular Studio styles is the dragonfly design. This design is still selling in the market and comes in green, beige, blue, and red. Furthermore, it is a classic style that showcases colored backgrounds with dragonfly wings border and glass jewels. You will notice how they highlight the dragonfly body on these lamps and the eyes made of shining glass beads. 

How To Identify A Tiffany Lamp?

So, you decided that you want to buy a Tiffany lamp. It is a good decision as Tiffany lamps are highly popular among households. However, you search online and find hundreds of sellers claiming to offer Tiffany lamps. In the long list, remember that most of them will be imitations of authentic Tiffany lamps. This will lead you to ask questions like how to identify a Tiffany lamp or how to tell a real Tiffany lamp. 

Well, don’t worry, as we are here to make sure that you spend only on authentic Tiffany lamps. There are some general characteristics of a Tiffany lamp that can help confirm its authenticity. Let’s see what these are:

  • The first thing to know about real Tiffany lamps is that they will always have a bronze base. Tiffany studios never made these lamps with zinc, wood, brass, or plastic bases. Although there are few bases formed of art pottery, their low availability makes them extremely rare. 
  • There is a use of high-quality glass in the Tiffany lamps, which is made using different techniques. And these techniques used are the reason which makes these authentic lamps apart. The real one will have confetti glass that comes with various colors used on numerous glass pieces. Another thing to notice is how the color of the glass changes upon lighting the lamp.
  • In usual cases, a real Tiffany lamp will be at least 50 years old or may have been obtained from an estate. When buying a real Tiffany lamp, ensure you ask the seller or antique shop about its origin to confirm whether it is fake or not. 
  • The Tiffany lamp base will come with a stamp of Tiffany Studios and a number. In most cases, you will also find stamped glass shades.
  • Real lamps will look the same even after years of making. This means they will not look old and will also not appear brand new. You might notice small color changes or fade on the lamp’s bronze parts.
  • Authentic lamps come with a turn paddle knob socket. It assists you in turning the lamp on and off. And the number of Tiffany lamps that contain a pull chain is quite small in number. Very few of them at the base will contain a turn switch.
  • The real lamps had a hollow base because bronze is of high cost. To support the heavy shades of glass, the manufacturers kept a heavy lead ring in the lamp base. The authentic one will have grayish lead, which you can see by lifting the base cap.

How To Tell If A Tiffany Lamp Is Fake?

So, now you understand how to identify a real Tiffany lamp. However, things don’t end here only. You must also be aware of how to know if a Tiffany lamp is fake to save yourself from market fraud. There are many imitations of these lamps, and you can easily fall into the web if you are an unaware buyer.

Tiffany lamp imitation was started in the 1920s by numerous companies using low-quality materials. The use of cheaper materials for making these lamps led to the production of low-quality models. Furthermore, a few of these imitations can sometimes be too hard to tell whether they are fake or not. Even expert and collector eyes struggle to identify the imitation because of how well-made they are.

So, look for the following characteristics to identify if the Tiffany lamp is fake.

  • The most common thing you will notice about fake Tiffany lamps is low quality & bad craftsmanship. Furthermore, these lamps will use bad-grade glass, pot metal for the base, and sloppy soldering. All these make-ups for more obvious fake Tiffany lamps.
  • Fake ones will come with antiquing applied to them, which gives them an old or “antique” look. However, you can check for this fake shade by moving a Q-tip (a small flexible plastic rod with cotton) through the glass with a bit of acetone on it. If the lamp is fake, you will color transfer on the bud. In contrast, there will be no color transfer in a real Tiffany lamp.
  • The lamp is smooth from all sides, with no loose elements and no cracks. If you notice a Tiffany lamp like that, it’s 100% fake. A real Tiffany lamp will show aging signs and will have some loose ends.
  • The maker’s marks look uneven or fresh. The real lamps were stamped by the maker, which was done before the application of the patina on it. Also, the number and letter imprinted on the real lamp will be the same height following a single line. If you don’t see a similarity or find a logo that has no text, there is a high chance it’s a fake piece. 
  • Has the use of serifs. The authentic lamps only use sans serif letters. The fake one will contain the wrong use of letters.

What Are The Various Uses Of Tiffany Lamps?

When Tiffany Studio created Tiffany lamps, their focus was to cover the whole residence. Because of this, you will find various Tiffany lamps of different types and sizes. Don’t be surprised if you notice table lamps that are of mere size 145 mm, or ceiling lights that are 1 m in diameter, which is quite huge if we compare it to today’s lights. 

Tiffany lamps will surely be able to find a location in your hours where they will suit you perfectly. And also, we cannot ignore the grace and style that comes with a Tiffany lamp in your house.

Floor and table lamps

What’s the biggest reason why people buy Tiffany lamps? It can be because these lamps look beautiful or provide an authentic look to your house. Well, surely some buy for this reason only, but it’s not the only reason. People buy Tiffany lamps because of the pleasure it offers when you light them up. 

All of the Tiffany floor and table lamps come with downward-facing shades. Furthermore, these lamps are present in the market in all styles. So, you can choose the one that suits your taste in the best way. The light output of these lamps is secondary. Here, the priority is the shade, so you can enjoy its beauty more. It’s better you don’t expect the same things you get from the normal floor or table lamps.

Although the Tiffany lamps are more about decorative purposes, you can still use them as a reading light. However, you would need to place them in a high position to enjoy your reading time and admire that art piece. 

If we talk about Tiffany floor lamps specifically, you will find them to have a more traditional look. Like table lamps, floor lamps also illuminate the area down to it. However, they give out a bigger pool of light compared to the table lamps. 

These Tiffany lamps are more common to have a cast metal base with an antique, bronze, or black finish. Its finish will depend on the style you prefer for your home.

Ceiling Lights

From the name, you can tell that Tiffany ceiling lights are there to light up your room. They usually hang down from the ceiling and give enough adequate lighting for you to do any task. While the light is in a downward direction, the shade also sparkles, highlighting the design. However, remember that the lower you get the pendant, the less the light spread will be. 

If we talk about the upward-facing Tiffany ceiling lights, they give out as little as no light to their downside. These upward-facing lights are more toward giving an ambient glow instead of a whole room illumination. Furthermore, these light pendants come with a rod or chain suspension with numerous finishes. However, in most cases, it is an antique or black finish.

You will also find semi and flush Tiffany lights that are more common for rooms with not much of a ceiling height. Although there is no compromise with the design, these lamps are only 200 to 450 mm in terms of height.

Wall lights

One of the best things about Tiffany wall lights is that they are amazing for every room. An art admirer will not be able to stop them from switching on these lights because of how good they look. Tiffany wall lights give a light background light that looks soothing and adequate to play their purpose. 

When you look for wall lights, ensure to check reviews and see if the seller is actually selling quality lights. Tiffany wall lights are less common compared to floor and table lamps and ceiling lights. So, if you want to add something unique that also looks authentic to your house, confirm its quality.

How Much Does A Real Tiffany Lamp Cost? What Makes Them So Expensive?

If you are interested to know the cost of a real Tiffany lamp, remember that in no way will the authentic one be cheap. They come in the category of highly expensive items, and the ones made in the late 80s, and early 90s can cost from $4000 to $1 million. The highest bid for a Tiffany lamp until now is $2.8 million, which was part of Christie’s auction.

One of the top reasons why Tiffany lamps are so expensive is that they were never machine-made and only had a limited number in the market. This means Tiffany studio personally made every lamp, with an artist working on its design and the manufacturers giving their all to bring out an artistic piece. And because they are handmade, it’s obvious it takes a lot of effort, making the price much higher. 

Furthermore, these lamps were made using the best material in the market at that time. Not to mention, Tiffany lamps are popular among collectors, and many of them want their hands on them. If you locate an authentic Tiffany lamp, remember that many generations passed this lamp to other generations. And every person who owns the real lamp will know what the actual worth of this item is. Finally, the production of Tiffany lamps stopped long ago, making them historic pieces of art and not just simple lamps. 

Where Can You Buy A Tiffany Lamp?

Finally, now you know why the real Tiffany lamps are so expensive. After knowing that, you can already guess that getting your hands on the real one will be quite a difficult task. So, should you stop chasing a Tiffany lamp? You don’t have to when you have Safety Lamps Repair with you. We are the best provider of top-quality Tiffany lamps. Our lamps come in various styles and designs and suit your needs for any place in your house. Furthermore, we will also install the lamps for you, so you don’t have to look for someone else to do that installation part.

You can request a quote for our Tiffany lamps, and we will contact you as soon as we can. So, don’t look any further; purchase the best Tiffany lamps from trusted providers like us.

To Sum Up

Through this post, we tried to answer what is a Tiffany Lamp and where to buy it. Real Tiffany lamps are historical pieces and can be quite expensive. However, you can find many lamps that offer the same level of authenticity and beauty as Tiffany lamps at affordable prices.

So, visit Safety Lamps Repair today and choose a Tiffany lamp from our different varieties of designs and styles.               

Frequently Asked Questions

The production of Tiffany lamps stopped in 1913. The main reason was that they fell off the trend, which is common with all trends. Today you will find many lamps that look like Tiffany lamps but are not, actually. 

Yes, you can still find Tiffany lamps in the market. They follow the same design structure and attention to detail which was with the original Tiffany lamps.

Every real Tiffany lamp comes with a stamp from Tiffany Studios and a serial number on it. This will not be the case for the present Tiffany lamps every time.      

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