March 11, 2015 - Michele Woodburn
That Gorgeous Green Glass!
Greetings Royal Friends and Followers,
Whether you call it Jadeite, Jade-ite, Jadite, Jade glass, green slag, green clambroth, Skokie Green, or opaque green, it is soul satisfying gorgeous green glass! We love the stuff, and have loved it since the 1930’s when McKee Glass first started making it. McKee called it Skokie Green or simply Jade kitchen ware. Anchor Hocking named it Jade-ite in the late 1940’s, and produced the color in it’s Alice, Bubble, Charm, Jane Ray, Laurel, 1700 Line, Sheaves of Wheat, Shell, Swirl, and Three Bands patterns as well as Restaurant Ware and Kitchen Wares lines. It has been made by Fenton, Hocking, MacBeth Evans, and Akro Agate. The name Jadite was coined after McKee was purchased by Jeanette Glass in 1961.
Jadeite is almost iconic in the U.S., and you only have to see a few pieces on a movie or television set to know you are watching something set in the 1950’s. The glass remained popular well into the 1960’s, then gradually moved into Antique store and Thrift store venues. In the TV show, Sanford and Son, there are several scenes where Fred or Lamont are using a Jade-ite D handle mug (Watts Side Story, Season 2), which shows clearly how ubiquitous it had become.
Then Martha Stewart discovered it. Her impact on the market for Jadeite was immense. Demand skyrocketed along with prices. Since the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, guess what? It has been reproduced! Martha Stewart produced lines made by Fenton and L.E. Smith. Mosser Glass of Cambridge, Ohio produces several lines in Jadeite. Linens ‘N Things and Target carried pieces made in China. Now this is all fabulous if you just want glass in a wonderful shade of green. It does pay to know what you are looking at though. My whole philosophy has always been that if you love it, you should buy it. BUT, you probably don’t want to pay the “vintage” price if it’s new! Mosser glass has molds from Viking, L. G. Wright, and Cambridge, but clearly identifies their own glass with a capitol M in a circle. The Martha by Mail pieces are also marked with a capitol S (Smith glass) or as “Martha by Mail” (the cake plate by Mosser). All of these are good quality glass lines, so there may not be much difference in prices. There are several very good articles on new Jadeite at Ruby Lane, in their Real or Repro articles.
Using the reproductions can allow a collector to protect their collection, yet actually use this gorgeous green glass! There are a few cautionary statements that are in order here. The glass made in China is not consistent in quality, and may have obvious flaws. It tends to have swirls in the color, less than the intentional swirling in the Akro Agate green opaque, but visible. It should not be used in the microwave as it tends to shatter, and is more susceptible to temperature change. This makes the use of the original glass a bit more justifiable. Fire King meant for their Jade-ite to be used! Daily. In the case of the Restaurant Ware line, often used hard! So what’s a Jadeite lover to do? Brace yourselves purists…I use mine every day. My D handled Jade-ite mug goes into the microwave and the dishwasher. Our collection of chili bowls (in white, ivory, Turquoise-blue and Jade-ite) get used every morning, and are treated no differently than any other dish in our Royal House. The only part of our collection that gets special treatment are the Lustre – because it does rub off!
It’s really a matter of personal choice and philosophy. Would I expand my selection of pieces by adding some of the new pieces? You bet I would. Especially some of the novelty pieces like the cake stand and the egg, Hen or Rabbit themed items. It is important to be aware that those reproductions are out there, and to educate yourself. The Japanese are currently buying Jadeite (Jade represents good fortune), which is bringing prices up again. That tends to make older pieces, especially the Restaurant Ware coffee cups, worth a little more again. When the prices rise, so does interest in the glass. Country Living just ran an article ( Country Living , February 2015) on collecting Jadeite. As interest develops, some collectors are willing to part with their collections, and it shows up in the market again. Not everyone is as well educated or as scrupled as my burly Royal Scotsman, so once again, it is time for those who love Jadeite to be careful out there!
Ta Ta for now,
Her Serene Majesty, Queen Michele
The following references were indispensable in composing this article:
Jadite: An Identification and Price Guide by Joe Keller and David Ross
The Complete Line of Akro Agate with Prices by Roger and Claudia Hardy
The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Akro Agate Glassware by Gene Florence
Update: July 8, 2015
Welcome back Royal Friends and Followers,
I completely forgot to let you know, I really want to see YOUR jadeite collection! I love looking at everyone’s treasures. I’ve shown you mine, now, please share yours on my Facebook page, which is www.facebook.com/AGoodTiara
Update: September 6, 2015
Welcome Back Royal Friends and Followers,
just a quick hello to let you know that Jadeite is still hot enough for new lines to still be coming out! Look what we found at Cost Plus World Market!
What have you all found?