Collecting Rene Lalique Glass – Defining the Form, What Is Desirable and the Pitfalls


Rene Lalique (1860-1945) was one of the most desirable and prolific art glass manufactures of the last century.

His work spanned the Art Nouveau and the Art Deco period, and he was remembered as having produced a seamless range encompassing these periods in those styles. The very early works included small statues like forms of females and animal forms and were produced by lost wax or a sand casting process. These pieces are extremely rare and generally fetch five figures at auction. This process was exclusively replaced by industrial mould glass production where each shape could be produced in limited edition quantities of often hundreds in quantity. He used direct industrial glass moulding and finished the works by etching and or staining


Often collectors say that a collectible is really an item, that while highly desirable, has no utility whatsoever. Lalique was not like that at all. He produced Vases, bowls, center pieces, candle sticks, drinking glass sets and trays, decanters and clocks for placement in the home. While for the elegant lady he produced prolifically for her boudoir such items as paperweights, cendriers, covered powder boxes, jewelery, scent atomizers and scent bottles. The last item is extremely desirable and there are collectors who collect his scent bottles only. These bottles have been known to fetch up to $50, 000 at auction. As a separate category he produced automobile mascots for a car’s bonnet which are extremely desirable.

For the collector his work is most valued for the items which were presented at the 1933 exhibition in Paris at

The Museo des Arts. These works are all signed by manual wheel cut and separates the latter work carried on by his family thereon, and up today. They are signed with a sand etch text signature and while they have value not to be sneezed at, a true collector wouldn’t touch them. Also almost all of this period does not include the revered opalescent technique.

For the prior 1933 collection highly desirable are vases, bowls, scent bottles, car mascots, figurines and certain jewelery pieces.

Within that range, desirability depends on rarity, color and finish. So opalescence and staining is desirable as is color. Rich exciting colors such as electric blue, emerald, deep wine red and vibrant yellow and black are very desirable. A combination of the above features can cause a price to soar dramatically at auction.


With the collector knowledge is king so it is imperative to get a reprint of the 1933 catalogue. Try and go to auctions and galleries to see and handle his work and get a feel of it. Be aware that there are two dangers to this field. The first is that there are some fakes being made and are circulating. Try and get information around this.

Also some glass is damaged or chipped resulting in a big drop in value. The glass will have been either altered in some way or filled with resin and textured to match up perfectly. So part for your vigilance a tape measure and a special UV lamp should be part of your arsenal. Damage is damage and even if it is repaired the value could be a fraction of what it should be.

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