What is "Opaline"? Milk Glass and Opaque Crystal

The opaline is a tinted glass or crystal made either opaque or slightly opalescent.  

The Story of Crystal Opaline

In France opalines are produced from 1782. The white milk was the most common color. The objects made, were bowls, baguiers, vases, mantelpieces. These luxurious handmade objects often receive a gilded bronze mounting.

In the XIXth century, from the reign of Charles X (1824 to 1830), the most appreciated color is cranberry (pigeon throat), whose particular purplish pink is obtained with gold salts.
Another color appears in this period the turquoise. Soon the yellow appears, but few models will be realized because of certain technical difficulties to obtain the color. The yellow crystal opalines are rare and highly collectible. 

Le Creusot, Baccarat and Saint-Louis were the main production centers.

Cranberry opaque cristal perfume bottle

19th century painted "pigeon throat" crystal opaline ball bottle sold at auction for 700euros

cristal opaline inkwell

Crystal opaline inkwell and bronze sold at auction for 2400 euros

With the industrialization, it is a different production which settles. It is no longer crystal but white glass, opaque, mat, named at first "rice paste". In 1845, the terms "bazaar opaline" and "opaline de foire" (milk glass) were attributed to many of these objects. 


Milk Glass or "Opaline de Foire"

Milk glass is an opaque or semi-translucent glass producted from 1865 until the beginning of the 1930s.
Realized in pressed glass or glass blown in a mold, these industrial productions allowed the manufactures to propose attractive prices and to touch new customers interested by opaque glass objects, painted or not. French glass factories created thousands of models. Glass factories of Portieux, Vallérysthal, Bayel, Fains, Meisenthal, Sars-Poteries, Vierzon, Legras, SV, Baccarat and Saint-Louis.

Milk glass items were made in white, green, blue, caramel, pink or mottled. The white series were generally made in greater numbers than the others.
Many items were hand painted.

In the maket, crystal opaline are more expensive than milk glass. But both are being collected. 

 vintage green milk glass box

Art Deco Bohemian Heinrich Hoffman Green Malachite Opaline Glass Trinket Box

Mottled Purple Opaline Pitchers Cruets

Mottled Purple Opaline Pitchers Cruets

Yellow Vaseline Opaline Vase

Yellow Vaseline Opaline Vase

Opaline Bowl & Bronze Stand

Opaline Bowl & Bronze Stand

blue milk glass compote brass mount

White and blue milk glass compote with brass mount

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