Vintage Item Feature: Shoji Glass

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You may have already noticed (or may not have) that I absolutely love finding fabulous vintage finds at local estate sales or online auctions.  I have a variety of unique vintage items in my home to bring character and something unique to catch your eye when you are here!  Not everything is vintage, and I like to intersperse my finds with newer items.  I have things on display and even vintage furniture in my home (some pieces have been upcycled, while others have not), along with newer items.

I likely will be creating a blog post in the future on my guide to estate sales, but I also want to feature some of my favorite vintage items that I have in my home and am always looking for when I am out and about.  

One thing you should know about my home is that it is pretty eclectic, with many rooms having different decor feels to them.  I think it flows, but nothing is exactly uniform.  Part of this is due to the layout of my home and some of the original architecture in the home when I purchased it; other times, it is just a reflection of the many facets of who I am--the leader, the girly girl, an old soul with a touch of modernity, the foodie, the wino, and the side of me who likes to relax and "vacation" in my home.

 My Mid-Century Barware with the Shoji Glass on the Top Shelf

My Mid-Century Barware with the Shoji Glass on the Top Shelf

One of my favorite vintage finds over the past couple of years has been my Imperial Glass Shoji Barware.  This line of glassware accidentally caught my eye, and as a result, I have learned more about it, and it has become one of my favorite vintage lines.

About two years ago, I was scrolling through a local online auction and came across a posting for this midcentury barware that was made from 22 karat gold.  Now, much of the midcentury barware has 14k+ gold on them, but because I had been interested in midcentury barware in general (save that for another post), I decided to go ahead and google this barware.  After doing so, I found out that this barware was actually very chic (a lot of midcentury barware is) and worth some money due to the gold and its popularity.  As a result, I decided that if I could get a good price on the glassware, I was going to go for it.  I was able to get my 12 piece set of Imperial Shoji drinking glasses for $74, which is an awesome price.  I bought my set about three years ago.  The $74 was a good price back then, and it is an even better price now, as the cost for these glasses has skyrocketed even more.  

THE HISTORY

I don't know a ton about the history of these glasses, but I do know that they were manufactured by the Imperial Glass Company.  Imperial Glass was responsible for the manufacture of many collectible, vintage glassware, including the Shoji glasses.  Imperial Glass Company was located in Bellaire, Ohio, which is on the border of Ohio and West Virginia.  Many glass companies are located on the border or are in West Virginia, and I will likely be featuring some of my favorite vintage glass (and new glass) items in future posts.  :)

CURRENT POPULARITY

As midcentury barware and unique bar cart items have become a staple of current home decor, it was only natural that these became popular.  They look great on a gold, mid-century, minimalist inspired bar cart.  Although I do not have a bar cart, I have a bar and wine area in my lower rec room and love the way these add a unique vibe to the bar and living area.

They have been featured in Aerin Lauder's home.  Photos are below and courtesy of Vogue.  I could not find the original article, but there are plenty of photos of this room on the internet, but I think these ones show the glass off the best.  

 Shoji glass is in the middle tray with other vintage decanters (that I love too!) on display.

Shoji glass is in the middle tray with other vintage decanters (that I love too!) on display.

 Another vantage point.  

Another vantage point.  

I also found the glasses featured in an Architectural Digest feature, where they were on display on the wall.  Included are a variety of the patterns (I see Geometric Regency, Spanish Windows, Altman/Lattice, Sortijas de Oro, and Golden Links,  as well as different products including the high ball/tumbler glasses, rocks glasses, decanter, and ice bucket.  

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DIFFERENT PATTERNS AND RARITY

Ever since I purchased my set, I have NOT found them again at estate sales or online auctions.  Now, I don't always look religiously every week, so I may have missed them, but they are not as common as some of my other favorite vintage finds like milk glass (super common), blenko glass (somewhat common), and other midcentury barware (moderately common--very sought after ones can be difficult to find).  

You can consistently find Shoji items on either eBay or Etsy; however, there are not a TON, and they are priced fairly high.  

The most common pattern I see is the one I have and in the photos above (and featured below).  It is often advertised as "Shoji Gold," like all of the patterns.  From what I can find, this is called the "Geometric Regency" pattern. 

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The second most common pattern that I have found that is not as popular and somewhat rare is the Shoji Gold Toril De Oro or also known as the Trellis pattern (below).  I would not mind adding some of this pattern to my collection, but it is difficult to find.  I think this may not be as popular, as it is more of a minimal clean line and not as "flashy" or "eye catching" as the other pattern.  

 Trellis pattern

Trellis pattern

Those are the more common patterns, but in my research, I have also found a few other unique ones that I never find on sale--and even rare on eBay or Etsy!  

I like this Altman pattern below.  I also have seen it called the Lattice Pattern.  Not sure which is correct. One or two finds on eBay and Etsy. 

 Altman Pattern or Lattice Pattern

Altman Pattern or Lattice Pattern

Here is the El Tabique De Oro Pattern.  

 El Tabique De Oro

El Tabique De Oro

Here is another unique one, called the Sortijas de Oro pattern.  Very pricy on Etsy.  

 Unsure of pattern name

Unsure of pattern name

Spanish Windows Pattern--I like this one too!  I found a few on sale but not in good condition. 

 Spanish Windows

Spanish Windows

The next is the Golden Links pattern which I have never seen and is considered extremely rare.  It is currently not for sale on eBay or Etsy from what I can see (unless it is listed under the incorrect name).  

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MY COLLECTION

So after sharing a little bit about the specifics of the glass and its history, my collection is very humble!  I have about 12 glasses in the Geometric Regency pattern.  I'm very lucky that they are in excellent condition!

I love these unique and rare glasses, and I'm so happy that I was able to get such a good deal on them.  If you have a bar cart with gold or midcentury/hollywood regency touches, or any type of bar area, then these might be for you!  

Although they can be pricy online, they may be a great gift to ask for!  For me, the fun part in all of this is trying to find them in real life, and sometimes, at a great price.  I have not purchased any of my midcentury barware online and have found all of them at estate sales or auctions.  

After doing this post, I think I may start looking weekly at all the estate sales and auctions again to see if I can find one of these rare patterns.  The fun is in the search!  What vintage items do you like to search for?

Happy searching! 

 Shoji Glass

Shoji Glass

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