passing the test of time: modernity in the tiffany vase

When we think of Tiffany today, we think sparkling diamonds, glittering jewelry, polished silver and glowing Tiffany lamps.  It’s not generally my thing.  BUT, I happen to love some of Tiffany’s vases.  Not only do they tend to work in a contemporary interior, but they’re way more useful and much more “affordable” than some of the other objects made by the studio.  The range of styles, techniques and materials is astonishing and I think you’ll find something you like in the 4 antique Tiffany vases I’ve selected today.

The little gem above is known as the morning glory paperweight vase.  I could see this sitting on my desk.  I love how the morning glories form an iridescent cascade over the shoulder of this baluster vase.  The amazing thing is that this piece was shown to great fanfare in Paris in 1914 where it won First Honorable Mention.  Interesting, this tiny vase is about 6 inches (15 cm approx.) and was priced at $1000 in 1920 – no chump change by any means.  But I never said beauty was cheap!
This wonderfully gnarly vase glows with a delightful iridescence and is known as a pebble lava vase. The thick striations, coupled with the carefree undulating rim give it a verymodern masculine feel.  And apparently the technique was so complex that far more pieces ended up in the trash than on the sales floor at Tiffany’s.  In a Victorian interior, it would completely disappear, but in a modern home it would steal the show on a simple-line table or on a bookshelf.
OK, this is not the most modern looking of vases, but it still works in a contemporary space!!! The mounted cabinet vase is the marriage of a great French silver-gilt mount and a fabulous Tiffany favrile glass vase.  Tiffany’s rep in Paris was responsible for working with the best French makers to complement the treasures being turned out in their American workshops.  We’ve all heard that accessories are the jewelry to the home, and who makes jewelry better than Tiffany?
Capturing the awesomeness of Mother Nature, this flower form vase encompasses the whole flower from the bulb at the base to its petal-form opening at the top.  It always amazes me how something as delicate as this has survived nearly 100 years!  It certainly puts pressure on the current owner to keep it that way.
Who knew there’s so much to explore in the world of antique Tiffany vases?  I hope this has given you a taste of how this master of the early 20th century art nouveau can mix fantastically well with modern pieces of the 21st.
image credits: Michaan’s Auctions, California
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