Baccarat Paperweight

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Description (Brief)
In the 1700s, paperweights made from textured stone or bronze were part of the writer’s tool kit, which also included a quill pen and stand, inkpot, and blotter. By the mid-1800s, decorative paperweights produced by glassmakers in Europe and the United States became highly desired collectibles.
Decorative glass paperweights reflected the 19th-century taste for intricate, over-the-top designs. Until the spread of textiles colorized with synthetic dyes, ceramics and glass were among the few objects that added brilliant color to a 19th-century Victorian interior. The popularity of these paperweights in the 1800s testifies to the sustained cultural interest in hand craftsmanship during an age of rapid industrialization.
The French firm, Baccarat, was originally founded as the Verrerie Renaut in 1764, by request of the Bishop of Metz to the King of France, Louis XV. After the French Revolution, the company was re-named Verrerie de Baccarat. Peak production of Baccarat paperweights was between 1846 and1855.
Millefiori, “Gridel” silhouette canes (said to be named after a young boy whose cut paper silhouettes inspired Baccarat’s glass workers), and an “1848” date cane are found in this Baccarat paperweight. Millefiore paperweights, first manufactured in Venice, consist of sections from rods of colored glass encased in a clear, colorless sphere. By the mid-nineteenth century, glass factories elsewhere in Europe were emulating the millefiore style.
Currently not on view
date made
place made
France: Lorraine, Baccarat
Physical Description
glass, transparent (overall material)
millifiori (joint piece production method/technique)
overall: 2 1/8 in x 3 1/8 in; 5.3975 cm x 7.9375 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Mrs. Florence E. Bushee
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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